Should chain restaurants be allowed to charge employees for tips that are paid by credit card? According to the Independent, Pizza Express, a pizza chain in the U.K., is now facing protests over its company policy regarding credit card tips. The restaurant skims 8 percent from the tips paid to its workers by credit cards. The chain — along with other chains — says that "tronc charge" is just the fee the company must pay to process the tips left on credit cards.
The Evening Standard writes that Unite, Britain's largest trade union, is now planning a series of demonstrations outside of Pizza Express 430 locations to protest the policy. A spokesperson for Unite notes: "We are calling on Pizza Express and others to abolish the unfair and unjust percentage deduction. Until this happens tip in cash!" A representative for Pizza Express says that the company's 8 percent policy is actually quite generous. If the company also took the National Insurance fee off of a tip, it would amount to 12.8 percent. While others restaurants, including T.G.I. Friday's, have recently dropped these charges, many chains like Zizzi's and Strada continue to charge tronc fees, upwards of 10 percent.
Pizza Express isn't the first company to put credit card processing fees on its staff. Last year, two Minnesota-based restaurant chains announced plans to start charging servers for their customers' credit card fees by taking the processing fee out of their tips. This policy was introduced to help offset a recent statewide minimum wage increase. However, after receiving plenty of backlash, the restaurant chains rescinded the policy and bumped up the salaries of their servers.
Eater Video: The argument over tipping, explained