We no longer add the customary optional 12.5% service charge onto our bills (as of July 2020). Instead, it is incorporated into our menu prices. As a customer, this means you pay what you see.
The optional 12.5% service charge has always gone to our staff, in full. However, this service charge, while optional for our guests, has never been optional for us. Without it, we would not be able to pay our skilled staff the wage they deserve and would simply not have survived as a restaurant.
Hospitality is a career as valid as any other, and we will no longer be making a large portion of our staff’s wages open to discretion.
The furlough scheme introduced by the government during the COVOD-19 lockdown brought this issue into sharp focus: for many restaurants, their TRONC (the service charge portion of the wages they pay their staff) was not taken into account for the furlough pay. Hospitality employees faced up to a 50% reduction in their take-home wage during lockdown.
We wanted to scrap service charge for many years, but in all honesty we didn't have the confidence to take the step. It can be hard to break the mould, but the COVID crisis broke the mould for us and we have embarked on this new ‘normal’ of the post-lockdown world with policies we really believe in.
As an industry we run on very tight margins, often putting our craft, passion and love of hospitality before the bottom line. this can’t be the case any longer.
We're are happy to see that other much-loved restaurants and respected colleagues in the industry are following suit after we made the change in 2020, and are scrapping their service charge too.