Social distancing rules could see 'end of tipping'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tipping decline: a sector code of conduct on fair tipping should be introduced after changes in consumer behaviour post-lockdown, according to campaigners (image: Getty/AntGor)
Tipping decline: a sector code of conduct on fair tipping should be introduced after changes in consumer behaviour post-lockdown, according to campaigners (image: Getty/AntGor)

Related tags: lockdown, Manchester, Legislation, Health and safety, Beer

A sector-wide fair tipping policy should be introduced after Covid restrictions mean venue staff are likely to be tipped less, campaigners have argued.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord said low-paid hospitality workers will be financially hit by restrictions that limit interaction between staff and customers.

His predictions are based on US research that found 83% of hospitality workers had experienced a decline in tips following reopening.

In the US, while tipping isn't mandatory, it is often expected at a minimum of 15-20% of the bill.

Union Unite and Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham have also supported the call.

Lord said it was likely the industry would “see a serious decline if not the end of tipping” owing to social distancing rules and new behaviours such as app-ordering.

He explained: "Bar and restaurant staff typically earn minimum or less than living wage, and rely on tips to top up their salaries.

"Tips can mean the difference between walking home after work and getting an Uber, so there's a clear safety aspect for operators to acknowledge if we do see a decline."

Transparency issue

An introduction of a code of conduct for operators would help to boost transparency over the distribution of tips in businesses using card payments, Lord added.

He said: “Many operators don't pass on service charges to staff as a standard procedure, instead using them to top up the bottom line or subsidise chef salaries. 

“As customers, we need to ask 'do you get to keep this?' every time we see the words service charge on our bills. If it's not going to those providing the service, we need to question why we're paying it. 

Fair operations

"Hospitality needs to operate fairly and introduce standards across the board including fair distribution. It’s inevitable tipping will decline at the same rate as the US, and we need to look at ways of raising employee pay, such as price increases, so that tips become bonuses not essential substitutes for low salaries."

Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said fair distribution of tips would “help the looming recruitment crisis.”

“Some years ago, the Government pledged that they would bring forward ‘fair tips’ legislation, but this seems to have fallen off the radar due to the pandemic,” Turnbull said, "now, as we enter the post-Covid world, is the time to resurrect this embryonic legislation.”

  • What has your experience of tipping post-lockdown been like? Get in touch with your thoughts on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ 

Related topics: Legislation

Related news

Show more

Spotlight

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more

The MA Lock In Podcast

Join us for a Lock In

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to The Morning Advertiser

The definitive voice for the pub trade

Get the latest news, analysis and insights from the uk pub sector straight to your inbox!