World saving, sugar hating chef Jamie Oliver is being accused of putting an unfair tipping policy in place at his chain of Italian restaurants. According to the Guardian, servers at Jamie's Italian — which has over 42 locations across the UK — say that the company's tipping policy is "exploitative and has left them out of pocket." The restaurant requires servers to pay a two percent levy "from table sales they generate on each shift." This means that if a server sells $1,000 worth of food and drink, they have to give $20 from their credit card tips back to the restaurant, regardless of "how much they have actually made in tips" that night.
A spokesperson for the restaurant says that the the levy is only taken so that it can be "redistributed among kitchen and door staff" — employees who typically aren't tipped by customers. However, servers say that sometimes shifts can bring in less than two percent of their total sales in tips, which then means they often must pay the restaurant out of their own pockets. Essentially, they are paying to work. The restaurant chain has "rejected the claims that their tipping system is unfair" and maintains that the company has "never asked staff to pay more than they earn in gratuities." Eater has reached out for more information.
Jamie's Italian isn't the only restaurant chain in the UK that is dealing with backlash over its tipping policies. In August, it was revealed that pizza chain Pizza Express skims eight percent from the tips paid to its servers on credit cards. The chain claims that fee, known as a "tronc charge," is simply how much the company must pay "to process the tips left on credit cards."