Tipping scandal continues with Turtle Bay and Las Iguanas

tip jar Tipping in restaurants is a hot topic at the minute, with a number of companies getting hauled over the coals about their policies. At Côte, there's been consternation, while Pizza Express have come under notable fire too.

The latest reports say that some restaurants are making staff 'pay to work', thanks to their tipping policy where they have to give bosses cash at the end of the night.

Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay, two popular food chains, have a system that requires staff to pay back to their employer 3% of the table sales generated on each shift. So, the money taken isn't relating to the tips taken waiting on staff, and can erase all the gratuity they've taken.

"This policy is far worse than that of Pizza Express," said Perry Phillips, of the GMB union. "The fact that these restaurants are taking money off the waiting staff regardless of the tips they earn is unjust, unfair and downright disgraceful."

The Observer found that, in one week this year Las Iguanas raked in £34,000 from its own staff. Nice little earner for a business, if reprehensible. So how do they justify this? The businesses say that this allows them to share tips with non-waiting staff.

If you work for Turtle Bay, the employment contracts say that, where tips don’t manage to cover the 3% payment, staff are "required to make up the benefit of any shortfall in the next or subsequent shift, or in the event of leaving the company by a deduction from wages due, such that the deduction does not reduce your effective rate of pay below the minimum wage".

According to the report, one Turtle Bay waiter had to pay £20 to their manager at the end of the night, while one waiter from Las Iguanas said that they pay back £25 to £30 per shift, on average, thanks to the 3% policy.

A general manager at one of Las Iguanas’s branches spoke to the Observer, saying that they have the job of totting up the amount that is owed to the company from staff at the end of the night: "I am lucky as the company pay the general managers well, but morally I find it totally wrong to take money off the waiting staff. One night recently I felt terrible because a staff member had made £125 in tips and I had to ask her for £65 back."

"Most of these waiters are just kids. The way the policy is sold to them is that the money is for recognition and development, but that is no way to take care of your staff."


  • meh
    That's a shame, I like Las Iguanas, but I won't be going back there now.
  • A. W.
    Wahaca have the same policy, except it's 4.1% of sales taken from the waiters tips, from both cash and card gratuities. Therefore the company is taking nearly half the waiters' tips. Bar and kitchen staff receive a small amount of 'tronc' collected. Managers' bonuses are also paid from tips. A disgraceful company.
  • Deborah
    Outrageous! I'm banning these restaurants until they reverse this draconian tipping policy. Waitstaff should get to keep ALL of their tips. When I tip waitstaff, it is nothing to do with management. It is a PERSONAL reward to the waiter/waitress for exceptional service. It is NOT for the company or the management, who have already builds THEIR profit into menu prices. Thieving gits! A customer's obligation to the restaurant ends at the price of food. The tip is for the waitstaff. Simple. And by the way, we have the right to disregard any 'gratuity' a restaurant tacks on to the bill automatically, as we are not legally obliged to pay that figure, regardless whether it's stated in the menu or not. If the service is substandard, I merely demand they deduct the added gratuity from the bill.
  • Toni M.
    Have posted, shared and tweeted to all my networks. Will be popping into Las Iguanas near @Bristol to make it clear to them that neither i, my family, our friends or their friends and families will be going into any of their restaurants until we see that their policy has changed: 100% of my tips go to the waiting staff, no argument.
  • Henry C.
    @Toni Massari: What about the kitchen staff who, you know, actually cook the fucking food?

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