Bristol restaurants' tipping policy leaves staff in tears


A restaurant chain in Bristol has allegedly been making its staff "pay to work" because of the tipping policy introduced at the establishment.

Employees of Aqua Italia have claimed that they are ordered to pay a three per cent levy on each individual tables bill to their manager at the end of their shift.

This would happen if, for example, a large table's bill came to £300 and there was no tip, then the staff member would have to pay £9 from their own pocket to cover the levy.

This money is meant to be taken from the waiters tip jar however, if the tip amount does not cover the full amount of the table then it is down to the member of staff waiting on the table to make up the difference.

According to staff though, the money taken is being used to subsidise the employees wages.

Former staff member at the Aqua Italia, Sam Rimmer said "I think the three per cent policy is absolutely shocking. Basically they’re making people rent a section of the restaurant, if you want to work there you have to pay....I’ve actually heard Ben (the operations manager) say they should be getting tips and if they don’t that’s their own fault.... Going into Christmas I just thought I would lose hundreds if not thousands of pounds in tips,” 

Sam continued to describe how staff were worried at not making enough tips, "In Milton Keynes I saw a girl in tears at the end of the shift because she hadn’t made enough in tips to pay her three per cent and the manager was making her walk to the cash point to withdraw money to pay it.”

A senior staff member estimates that staff members are losing a minimum of £20-£30 of their tips every single night.

The three per cent levy is not advertised during the job application process but is instead shown on the contract that applicants receive once they are offered a job. 

Aqua has been contacted regarding this story but are yet to comment. 

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