Body launched to tackle 'vague wording' of tipping policies

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tipping point: a new body hopes to address confusion about how to distribute tips by creating consensus on best practice
Tipping point: a new body hopes to address confusion about how to distribute tips by creating consensus on best practice

Related tags: tipping

A new body has been formed to devise best practice for tipping and service charges across the hospitality sector.

The organisation will look to achieve clarity and collective agreement on the issue, which has been the subject of several hospitality workers’ campaigns over the past few years.

Business consultancy firm EP Business in Hospitality has partnered with WMT Troncmaster Services to launch the organisation.

They said the sector-wide grey area meant processes had been left open to interpretation and exploitation.  

Confusion on the side of both customers and businesses means that a sector-recognised accreditation scheme is necessary, the body believe.

The name of the body will be announced at its official launch event at The Restaurant Show on Wednesday 2 October. 

Demystify confusion

Chris Sheppardson, chief executive at EP Business in Hospitality spoke of his delight at the board’s make-up. 

Board members of the new body:

Members of the board:

• David Cheeseman, MD Chef Express UK and Momentum

• Zuleika Fennell, MD, Corbin & King

• Tim Healy, Co-owner, Jo Allens

• Mark Selby, MD, Wahaca

• Jon Dawson, Head of People, Mandarin Oriental

• Marianna Alfa, MD at Blossom Hospitality 

• James Robson, Founder, Mews of Mayfair

• Gioele Camarlinghi, European Hotel Managers Association

• Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality, Barclays

• Kevin Watson, MD, Amadeus

• Peter Davies, MD, WMT Troncmaster Services

• David McHattie, The Devonshire Arms

• Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP

He said: “We are delighted to announce the official industry body to oversee best practice guidelines for tipping and service charges. 

“Our board is made up of a great number of industry leading professionals, all with a wealth of knowledge in the sector and a deep understanding of the issues at stake.

"We are looking forward to taking this forward and to working together to demystify much of the confusion surrounding gratuities.”

The board includes the operator of a pub in the Peak District and the founder of a bar in Mayfair. 

Peter Davies, client service partner and managing director of WMT Troncmaster Services said collaboration was needed to iron out confusion.

He said: “The wording used by hospitality firms in relation to service charges has always been vague and people interpret this in different ways, which only exacerbates confusion.  

“The announcement of our official body is a positive step forward for the sector in terms of uniting the industry as a whole and working together to agree on what best practice looks like for the future.”  

On the agenda

Research conducted by EP found that 44% of hospitality firms would welcome the introduction of an accreditation scheme to ensure gratuities are distributed fairly to staff.

33% of firms surveyed said they shared more than 90% of tips and service charges with their staff while only 31% shared 100%.

Restaurant workers at two branches of TGI Fridays held walk-outs over the diner chain’s tip distribution policy in autumn 2018.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May had proposed to legally ban restaurants from keeping tips intended for staff​ but a timeframe was not outlined.

A voluntary code of practice was introduced in October 2009 by the former British Hospitality Association (BHA) to increase transparency.

It recommends displaying information on how proceeds of the service charge are distributed to staff​ and on whether a percentage of the charge is held back.

Related topics: Legislation

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