Selin Kiazim has said the customary optional 12.5% service charge at Oklava London will now be incorporated into menu prices.
Kiazim, chef-owner of the Shoreditch restaurant as well as a bakery and wine shop in Fitzrovia, said on Twitter that service charge "has always gone to our staff, in full" but, while it is optional for guests, "has never been optional for us. Without it, we would not be able to pay our skilled staff the wage they deserve and would simply not have survived as a restaurant".
Service charge is often distributed through tronc payments made via PAYE and are subject to income tax. However, service charge, tips and tronc are not considered as wages in an employee's furloughed pay calculations, which means some hospitality workers have received 60% of their normal take-home amount, rather than the 80% intended by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Kiazim explained that this prompted the change despite not using a formal tronc service herself. She said: "We will no longer be making a large portion of our staff's wages open to discretion.
"What you see on the menu is what you pay – and you (and us too) will be confident this goes towards a healthy restaurant with staff that are paid what they deserve…
"It can be hard to break the mould, but the coronavirus crisis has broken the mould for us and we would like to embark on this new ‘normal' of the post-lockdown world with policies we really believe in."