Ivy Collection accused of holding back service charges

13 March 2017 by
Ivy Collection accused of holding back service charges

The Ivy Collection has been accused of holding back service charge money from waiters and kitchen staff by a report published in the Guardian.

A spokesperson for the eight-strong Ivy Collection said the "vast majority" of the money from the service charge is given to the restaurant staff, not the management. However, the company declined to elaborate on what "vast majority" means.

The Ivy Collection does not include the original Ivy restaurant, which is controlled by a separate company, Caprice Holdings. Both are controlled by Richard Caring.

The Unite union has accused the growing restaurant business of withholding at least 54% of service charge, based on what regional officer Dave Turnbull admits are "crude calculations of the full accounts for the (Ivy) Caprice Chelsea Grill".

He added: "It's clear from our calculations, that with waiters, commis chefs and runners getting just £1.30 an hour from the service charge, they are getting nowhere near the bulk of the £1.2m this one restaurant alone could be making, leaving us to question whether this is being used to top up managers' wages."

He said that there needed to be more transparency for staff and diners explaining exactly where tips are going.

Turnbull said: "The Ivy's celebrity clientele is unlikely to be impressed that the extra add on fee they have just paid is vanishing into the restaurant's profitable pockets to cover its running costs, as well as subsidising managers' low basic hourly pay rates, while waiters' wages fall well short of the London Living Wage of £9.75 an hour."

A spokesperson for the Ivy Collection said that all restaurant based staff at the Ivy Collection were paid, at the very least, the minimum wage and that this wage was then significantly increased with money from the service charge, minus the relevant taxes imposed by HM Revenue and Customs.

They added: "The vast majority of the money from the service charge is given to the restaurant staff, not the management.

"We are a young company and, in lieu of any guidance from the government, have introduced this system after consulting many of our staff. Along with the rest of the restaurant industry, we are waiting for clarification from the government on their tipping policy and we will implement their recommendations once we have them.

"At present, if a cash tip is given, it is kept by the waiter in question. If a customer does not want to pay the service charge of 12.5%, they can opt to leave a cash tip, and this will be given directly to the waiter. Customers also have the option of not leaving a tip.

"Contracted restaurant staff receive an hourly rate that is significantly added to from the service charge. This remains the same whether business is brisk or not. This way, our happy and confident staff know how much they will be paid based on the amount of hours that they have worked."

The Ivy Collection has also revealed plans to open a site in Manchester's Spinningfields district in winter 2017 last week.

The Ivy to open site in Manchester >>

Ivy Brasserie to open in London Soho >>

New Ivy offshoot to open in Cobham, Surrey >>

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