Azzurri Group, operator of Zizzi and ASK Italian restaurants, is to remove the 8% administration fee on tips made by electronic card payments in November this year.
The move comes a day after PizzaExpress revealed that it would be doing away with the same charge and follows a storm of negative publicity for several restaurant groups including PizzaExpress, Bill’s, Cote, Las Iguanas, and Turtle Bay, which were accused by unions and former employees of “misleading” customers over the level of service charge and tips they were withholding for administrative charges and other reasons.
Azzurri Group, which has been clear about its policy on its website, had not been subject to the publicity.
The company, which has 249 sites under its Zizzi and Ask Italian brands, said its decision came as part of an ongoing broader review of all pay, rewards and benefits, which commenced earlier this year when Azzurri Group underwent a change of ownership.
Azzurri Group, which employs 5000 people and serves 14 million customers a year said the new tipping policy will see 100% of all tips go to staff. The wider review of the way staff are rewarded, which will also include plans for the introduction of the National Living Wage, is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Steve Holmes, CEO of Azzurri Group, said: “We wholeheartedly believe our employees are an essential part of our business and have always sought to reward them fairly. Our team members are crucial in delivering unparalleled customer service and ensuring that every customer’s experience at Zizzi and ASK Italian is a great one.
“The review into staff pay and benefits that begun earlier this year demonstrates our commitment to be recognised as a company that values and rewards our staff for their fantastic skills, loyalty and hard work.
“As a leader in the casual dining sector, we are wholly committed to following best practice as well as leading the way for other players in the industry.”
The business added that ASK Italian and Zizzi have supported and complied with the British Hospitality Association’s voluntary code of conduct in relation to tipping and service charges since they were introduced in 2009 and that its policies and procedures in relation to tipping and service charges are publicly available on its websites.