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Le Gavroche to scrap service charge

14 December 2016 by
Le Gavroche to scrap service charge

Two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Le Gavroche is to scrap the service charge on all diners' bills from the end of January 2017.

The restaurant will mark on the bills and menus that no further payment or gratuity is needed and credit card slips will be closed.

Dishes on the menu will rise by 13% in price to compensate for the removal of the 13% voluntary service charge added to the bill.

Speaking about the decision, chef patron Michel Roux Jr told The Caterer: "I have decided that next year I am going to draw a line under it because I am fed up with this ambiguity [between tipping and service charge]. We will not have a service charge. That way it is crystal clear that all the cost of serving and preparing the food, the staff cost, is there on the menu.

"For me, tipping and service charge are two different things but by removing the service charge and incorporating it into the cost of the menu then it is clear, clean, and unambiguous. And then if diners wish to leave a tip on top of that it is up to them. I think this is something we should do in the restaurant industry. It is not clear for the customer whether or not they should leave extra on the table or whether or not it is going to all the staff or how it is being distributed. I daresay some restaurateurs have been abusing that."

He added: "Hopefully others will join me in making it clearer for the public to understand what they are paying for, and this move will also ensure there is complete transparency for our front of house and kitchen teams."

Currently the restaurant operates in line with the British Hospitality Association's Code of Practice in adding a discretionary service charge on all diners' bills. This service charge is not a tip.

Earlier this year the Government set out a series of proposals on how restaurants should handle tipping and the service charge following a series of controversies over the issue.

The consultation, called by former business secretary Sajid Javid, concluded in May of this year.

It suggested that charges imposed on staff tips by employers should be scrapped or limited (except for those required under tax law), and that service charges on customers' bills should also be clear and voluntary.

The Government also said it was considering:

  • how to incentivise and increase the prevalence of well-managed tronc systems;
  • updating the current voluntary code of practice and putting it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance
  • The proposals went out for consultation, in a process that lasted until 27 June this year. The industry is now awaiting the results of that consultation.

#Tipping Point Campaign petition calls for 10,000 signatures >>

Government's short consultation period for tips and service charge leaves operators outraged >>

Restaurants may be forced to hand over all tips to employees, following government review >>

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