The government's recent call for tipping reform has sparked debate in the run-up to next month's http://www.thecaterersummit.com/caterersummit2014/6th-november#sthash.HYUi2BQH.dpuf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Caterer Summit.
Scheduled speaker David Moore, co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Pied a Terre in London, has spoken out in defence of the tronc system.
This is a central pool of tips, gratuities and service charges that are divided among the staff by an independent troncmaster, after administrative fees have been deducted.
"It goes one step beyond throwing the money into the hand of the person who's served you: it rewards the team and rewards seniority and longevity," argued Moore, who operates a system whereby a small percentage of tips are taken to cover bank charges and other administration costs and the rest of the money is divided up via a tronc system.
But while his restaurant's tipping policy is explained on the menu, he accepted that customers in some restaurants are not clear about service charges and tips: "Customers need to know where the money is going; it gives them a better sense of security when they're leaving a tip. They don't want to leave 12.5% on a bill just for it to go to the bottom line of the restaurant."
Moore acknowledged that the current system is imperfect. However, he is sceptical that a new law setting out a clear process for the distribution of tips, giving staff more power over how tips are shared and mandating that restaurants display their tipping policy, could be effectively policed.
He will be debating these issues with Michael West, group general manager, Jason Atherton Restaurants, and Sam Harrison, owner, Sam's Brasserie & Harrison's, at the Caterer Summit on 6-7 November at Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London.