Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Official industry ‘tipping’ body is formed

Published:  01 October, 2019

An official industry body for best practice around 'tipping' and service charges in the hospitality industry has been created. 

The aim of the Kitemark certified body, formed by EP Business in Hospitality in partnership with WMT Troncmaster Services, is to achieve clarity and collective agreement on the issue, which has been the subject of several hospitality workers’ campaigns over the past few years.

The organisation would raise future standards around tipping and eliminate “growing confusion around service charges today”, said the newly formed body, which will be launched officially tomorrow at The Restaurant Show where its name will also be unveiled.

“The need for a valid industry associated Kitemark recognised accreditation scheme that provides greater clarity on tipping and ‘vague’ service charges is becoming ever more relevant, said Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality.

The formation of the official body followed independent research conducted by EP Business in Hospitality, which revealed a high level of customer “scepticism and confusion” around what happens to the non-cash tips and services charges that are added onto many restaurant and foodservice bills, he added.

To date there has been no real clarity on who should receive a share of the tips and service charges paid by customers, leaving it wide open to interpretation and exploitation.

Yet, the research revealed 44% of hospitality firms surveyed said they would support and welcome the introduction of an accreditation scheme for businesses to ensure gratuities are distributed fairly to staff.

The most common form of gratuity is cash tips (25%) followed by card payments (21%), discretionary service charges on some bills (19%) and a discretionary service charge on all bills (16%), the research found.

Additional research carried out by EP revealed that 33% of firms share more than 90% of tips and service charges with their staff, while only 31% share 100% of the gratuities.

Made up of a board of a large number of “industry leading professionals”, the body was looking forward to “taking this forward and to working together to demystify much of the confusion surrounding gratuities”, said Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality.

The announcement of the official body was 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, added Peter Davies, client service partner and managing director of WMT Troncmaster Services.

“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,” he said.

The line-up of confirmed industry board members includes: David Cheeseman, managing director Chef Express UK and Momentum; Zuleika Fennell, managing director, Corbin & King; Tim Healy, co-owner, Jo Allens; Mark Selby, managing director, Wahaca; Jon Dawson, head of people, Mandarin Oriental; Marianna Alfa, managing director at Blossom Hospitality; James Robson, founder, Mews of Mayfair; Gioele Camarlinghi, European Hotel Managers Association; Mike Saul, head of hospitality, Barclays; Kevin Watson, managing director, Amadeus; Peter Davies, mamaging director, WMT Troncmaster Services; David McHattie, The Devonshire Arms; Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality.