The tips policies of restaurant operators, normally only a discussion point for disgruntled waiting staff and tax experts, was thrust into the public consciousness in 2008 when two national newspapers piggybacked a union campaign calling on the Government to outlaw the practice of using tips to make up staff pay to minimum wage.
The Independent and Daily Mirror coverage, based on a Unite campaign, saw a number major restaurant groups in the firing line for paying waiting staff as little as £2 an hour basic salary, with non-cash tips making up the shortfall.
And despite industry pleas, firstly to keep the loophole in the law open and then, when that failed, to delay implementation of new legislation because of the recession, the Government announced the practice was to be outlawed in May 2009.
The announcement meant that, from October 2009, all staff must be paid a salary of at least the national minimum wage - £5.80 per hour for adults aged 22 and over - with tips on top.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) estimated this would cost the industry £450m, threatening 45,000 jobs. Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's, for example, was thought to be facing a bill of about £1m to make up the shortfall
The Department for Business rejected the BHA's claims that the changes will cost the hospitality industry £450m, instead estimating the cost would be around £92m.
On this page, we round up all the news, analysis and comment on one of the most controversial issues to affect the hospitality industry in recent years.
News on Caterersearch.com
News analysis on Caterersearch.com
Opinion on Caterersearch.com