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Bill's embroiled in service charge controversy

25 August 2015 by
Bill's embroiled in service charge controversy

Restaurant chain Bill's has become the latest company to be accused of taking the service charge left by customers rather than handing it over to staff.

The latest revelation in the London Evening Standard followed news last week that Côte was "misleading" customers over the service charge and using it to take workers' pay over the Minimum Wage, and a story in the Observer on Sunday that Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay were effectively asking staff to "pay to work".

Bill's has been accused of holding onto the 12.5% service charge it automatically adds to the bill and holding onto it rather than using it to boost staff's pay at the end of each week.

One former assistant general manager told the Standard he quit due to the unfair policy, and claimed he was told to order staff to tell customers the money was equally shared among restaurant workers.

The former staff member said that staff would all be paid the same amount, around £7 an hour, regardless of how much was taken in tips and service charge and that even cash left would be taken by the company.

There is no suggestion that Bill's is doing anything illegal, because under the law, the service charge belongs to the restaurant and there is no legal requirement for a restaurant to allocate a particular proportion of the service charge or tip income to employees.

A spokesman for Bill's claimed any cash left would go to the waiters directly.

The company also told the Standard that service charges were held by the company to guarantee pay levels across quieter periods and "distributed across the whole team within the restaurant."

No-one from Bill's was immediately available to speak to The Caterer.

US restaurants experiment with ‘no-tipping' policy >>

Business Secretary Sajid Javid wades into Côte service charge controversy >>

Côte defends position in service charge row >>

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