Who Gets the Tip?

This is a semi-off-topic post, for me but one I thought was important to share. I heard about it through my friend Alasdair who I believe is doing the PR for it.  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is backing a campaign called ‘Who Gets the Tip?’  They’re asking diners in the UK to ask where is it, exactly, their tip money goes after it leaves their hands.

In the US, we know that servers are the ones who gets the tips. Quite often they have to tip out the bussers, foodrunners or bartenders, but the money they make is still pretty much theirs.  In the UK, it’s not so clear. You’ll often get a service charge between 10% and 12.5%, but where that money goes after is a bit murky.

Since October 2009, it is illegal for businesses to use tips to make up the National Minimum Wage. They’re also being encouraged to display their policy on how they distribute tips.

If more people ask ‘Who gets the tip?’ then more businesses will be transparent about their tipping policy.

A Code of Best Practice, has been developed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in collaboration with Trade Unions, consumer groups and industry. They are all supportive of businesses being transparent about tipping policies with consumers and workers. The Code states that businesses should:

  • Display information on their tips policy prominently, before the customer leaves a tip
  • Be transparent to customers and workers about how their tips are distributed as well as the level and purpose of any deductions
  • Ensure that workers understand the tips policy and know where to direct customers for additional information

The Code is voluntary, and the Government will be holding an official review towards the end of 2010. Businesses can find out more about the code at Business Link.

The ‘Who gets the tip?’ campaign is backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and supported by Trade Unions, consumer groups and industry.

I’m all for this.  In the States, I’m a serial 20%-er, but here – like everyone – I just pay the service charge. Do I really have any clue where it goes? Nope. I can’t say that I’ve even thought about it.  But I do know if I were to find out that the 12.5% went mostly in the pocket of the boss, I wouldn’t be happy.


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