Chef Jobs, Chef News, Recipes, Gossip

Tipping point: Ivy Collection latest chain under scrutiny

The purrfect crime

The purrfect crime

Why is it that restaurant chains try to swipe their staff tips?

What is the worst example you have ever come across of staff having their  tips snaffled? Write to

The Ivy Collection which grew from the original Ivy Restaurant and now manages 8 establishments (not including the original) is the latest chain to have its tipping policy publicly criticised by unions and officials.

As you know, the team here at are great supporters of equal tip sharing (see previous article) and so it’s good to see the Ivy Collection coming under fire for grossly unfair practices.

According to Unite union, waiters and chefs have the amount they can earn in tips capped at £1.30 an hour, regardless of how much the restaurant itself has earnt.

Some nights the restaurants will make as much as £1500 in tips and individuals will see as little as £7 of this money.

Where is the money going? To the fat cats at the top of course.

Denying the claims a spokesman for the company said: “All restaurant based staff at the Ivy Collection are paid, at the very least, the minimum wage and this wage is then significantly increased with money from the service charge, minus the relevant taxes imposed by HM Revenue and Customs. The vast majority of the money from the service charge is given to the restaurant staff, not the management.”

However Dave Turnbull from Unite calls foul play and argues that the Ivy Collection group are using the 12.5% service charge that is automatically added to the bill to supplement higher management wages, leaving none for the lowly kitchen staff and chefs.

This calls into question the function of the service charge, and exposes how most customers do not realise that none of their money goes to the waiters or chefs.

It also exposes a fraught area of the law as currently there is no legal requirement for service charge to be shared among employees.

Mr Turnbull said: “The problem has always been that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are deemed the property of the employer. Until staff are recognised as the lawful owners of their hard-earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips.”

The government originally responded well and business secretary under Cameron, Sajid Javid, led an investigation saying: “We want workers who earn a tip to be able to keep it. That’s why I, like many others, was disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.”

However under the new government a report into tipping practices and recommendations is eight months overdue and we are yet to see any real changes in tipping law that might protect ordinary people from being exploited by their bosses.

Go to to get involved.  Have you ever had your tips snaffled? Write to


Category: News