Bit of an upstairs-downstairs hoo-ha on Park Lane this evening. All is not well at our second most revered hostelry: mutterings have reached Londonist Towers that the stable lads and chamber maids are contemplating revolt.
The source of t’trouble? Tips, and distribution thereof. Amongst the Dorchester’s banqueting staff to be precise. It would seem that the banqueting bosses had it legitimately within their power to deduct and reallocate tips according to performance. Needless to say the results of most of their reallocating went into their own pay packets.
Now as this comes on a day when it has been announced that London’s diners are credited with crunching out just as much as they were before the economic downturn, Londonist was all ready to go to it with a tale of two cities and huff and puff over the moral injustice of it all. It is mean, and unfair. Trouble is, it’s not illegal. And the Dorchester is really no worse than any other catering establishment which operates a system of tronc (tip distribution to you). Londonist’s washed a few dishes in our time, we’ll have you know, so we know about these things. In fact it seems that the Dorchester is one of the better ones, amongst Caterer Magazine’s ‘Best Places to Work in 2008’.
The row that’s rumbling today is in truth just the tip of the gratuity iceberg, and until there is some sort of legislation in the catering trade (marinaded and glazed suckling pigs will sooner fly) there will always be such sad and scurrilous scullery tales. It remains a fact that whilst catering can make for a wonderful, colourful and exciting career, the lower echelons of the trade are not for those of a militant disposition.
Dorchester tap from pilipala9’s flickr stream under the Creative Commons Licence