Woman shares her payslips to 'prove' restaurant has been taking her tips
Whenever you leave a tip at a bar or restaurant, you never really know where it's going. Sure, you can specify that you want your money to go straight to that lovely waiter who ran back and forth to the kitchen to update your order, or the waitress who helped cut up that old man's ham when he didn't have enough strength to do it himself. But ultimately, it can't be guaranteed that your cash won't go straight into the restaurant's pocket.
This is something that all of us diners suspect is a problem - but also something that we rarely see play out in real life. However, one waitress recently decided to shed some light on the issue by confirming that food establishments take most of the hard-earned tips - publishing her payslips on social media to "prove it".
Emma Smith had worked at Albert's restaurant in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, for five months before she publicly quit last week. Posting on Facebook to accuse the establishment's owners of taking as much as 70 per cent of the card tips and 10 per cent of the service charge, she wrote: "Anyone thinking of going to Albert’s didsbury please read this.... From a waitress that has recently left because of this, please be aware that we do not get the full amount of tips that are given to us by our customers! Tips are meant for the waiter/waitress and are dependent on your experience with them and a reward for good service. Albert’s unfairly take tips off their staff to line the owners pockets. If you’re happy that the majority of your card tips go direct to the company then continue to do so, I just thought everyone should be aware of this. The only tips we actually get are cash."
Underneath her caption, she shared a selection of her payslips, claiming that they show that hundreds of pounds had been deducted from her tips by Albert's restaurant.
She went on to explain that the restaurant did not give staff tips paid for on card, and charged staff for making easy mistakes such as getting the wrong drink (not acknowledging the fact that some of them were run off their feet, working 14-hour shifts and coping with 20 tables at a time).
In addition, she alleged that they unfairly fined staff in certain circumstances, such as if they were late clearing tables, if their table dined and dashed, and if they did not put their tables for the evening on the till.
"Basically any excuse to charge us!" she wrote. "This is a greedy company that looks to make as much money as possible out of its staff and basically does anything to stop people keeping their deserved tips. If you’re interested please read my resignation email below as well as the new rules that have been written on Albert’s private staff Facebook group. I urge you to not give this greedy company your business they treat the staff horribly."
Speaking to a news site, she later added: "It was horrible, I was only working there part time to top up my full-time job, and I was exhausted. I would go home crying to my family and be complaining about it, I just decided enough was enough."
Emma's post spurred outrage on Facebook, collecting over 4,000 shares and over 2,300 likes. Many of the reactions came from people with similar experiences in the restaurant business. "Wow...what a bunch of a**holes. I don’t know how they sleep at night," wrote Troy Pickering. "Isn’t that illegal?? No way they would get away with that here in Canada!" added Donna Cook.
When contacted, Albert's restaurant admitted that they did keep some of the tips, yet insisted that this worked out to no more than 10 per cent.
James Ramsbottom, the owner of Elle R Leisure, the company behind Albert's, said: "I cannot comment on specific allegations as that is now a legal matter. However more than 90 percent of tips earned go to staff on site. Very occasionally, staff have been asked to contribute towards mistakes made but this has only amounted, in total, to £170 ($226) in the last 12 months. Again this system is in place to ensure good service. If a server makes persistent errors, it can massively affect service, not just to the table in question, but the whole restaurant. However this is very rarely used and is at the discretion of the manager."