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Tip Right, Pay Fair: London Restaurants' Wages For Waiters Exposed

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 107 months ago
Tip Right, Pay Fair: London Restaurants' Wages For Waiters Exposed
carluccios.jpg

Tis the season to protest for fair pay. First tube cleaners, then council staff. Last night, waiting staff at Italian chain Carluccios, supported by community group London Citizens joined the call for a living wage. Diners at the Canary Wharf branch were interrupted at their pasta as protestors hoiked up a banner outside the E14 restaurant about their dubious wage terms.

As the Independent reports:

The company claims that, as a result, waiters are paid an average hourly wage of about £8 an hour and, if their wages fall short, the pay is topped up.

Staff at Carluccio's in Canary Wharf are, in fact, paid a basic hourly wage of £3.75. The legal minimum wage, from 1 October, will be 5.73.

We've seen Kitchen Nightmares. We know that restaurateuring is a tricky business, full of idiots with slight margins going bust on every corner but when you're a corporate PLC with the audacity to charge nearly £5 for a starter of toast and tomatoes (brushetta, anyone?) you think you'd have the sense of responsibility to guarantee your waiting staff minimum wage, at the very least.

And if you've ever mused whether that 'optional' 12.5 or 15% on top of your bill actually goes to the person bringing the tab to you, check out The Independent's report and campaign for fairer tipping. We think you might revert to tipping cash only in the meantime.

Image courtesy of Kate Pugh's Flickrstream under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Last Updated 18 July 2008

macaonghus

I think the Independent's campaign is worthwhile, and I don't like how restarurants are cheating their staff - but this campaign seems to assume we should tip at all. It isn't a given by any means, what happened to the debate about whether we should tip in the first place?

What about a campaign to stop tipping? It would still force restaurants to pay full minimum wage and employees would know exactly how much they were getting.

jwebber

I agree with the above comment (and mr pink) on this one - why do we tip some services and not others?

You get personal service buying shoes, but does anyone tip the assistant?

Get rid of tipping all together and just put up the price of the food.

tippster

I accept the right of everone (every blog?) to free speech but why do you insist on taking such an obvious bias against this particular company?
Tomatoes on Toast? Your approach is childish and bitter, thus undermining your whole argument.
I was in Carluccio's Canary Wharf when your half-hearted attempt at a demo took place and I dispute your implication that the waiters 'joined in' with your campaign.
Our waiter, a most charming man, seemed more annoyed that you'd disrupted many diners enjoyable evening.
When I asked him about his pay, he explained simply and rationally (there's a lesson here) that he was more than happy with how he was paid and knew full well that if he wasn't he could easily leave of his own free will. Incidentally he has also worked as a waiter at Carluccio's for over 4 years.
If he was being abused and paid unfairly - would he still be (happily) working as a waiter there? And let's be fair - if his 'basic' pay were to increase by £1.75 an hour - would you be prepared to pay an extra pound or two for your 'tomoatoes on toast'? Whilst he earns less and the customers suffer worse service?
100% of his tips get paid to him. He gives some to the bar and kitchen and he pays tax on credit card tips (don't we all pay tax?) but most impotantly he (and us, his customers) are happy with the current set up.

Lindsey

Tippster, just to be clear, it wasn't 'our' demo. We're simply reporting on what happened and how the Independent's picked up on this campaign. You seem jolly cross about this. I fear you're reading your own bitterness into a pretty neutral post. Are you entirely impartial here?