Restaurants are being urged to adopt a new code of practice for service charges to help rebuild the industry`s reputation among customers.
The British Hospitality Association has joined forces with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to create the voluntary code which aims to make a company`s tipping policy completely transparent to customers.
Under the code a restaurant will agree to display, on their website or elsewhere equally accessible, an explanation of how tips are distributed to staff, whether they are shared between the restaurant and the staff or not and if they are distributed by a member of staff or by the company itself.
Restaurants signing up will also agree to make it clear if a percentage of the service charge is held back by the restaurant to cover administration or other costs.
BHA chief executive Bob Cotton urged all restaurant companies to adopt the code, due to be published by the Government in October, to help reinstate the industry`s reputation among consumers following the recent controversy over tipping laws.
“We must put behind us all the critical comments the industry has had to endure in the last year and make crystal clear that the BHA and the Restaurant Association supports total transparency in this area," he said.
He said some members of the BHA’s National Restaurants Group, mostly large chain restaurants, had already accepted the code, but called for an industry-wide acceptance of it before the Government`s new law comes into play in October.
He added: “Consumer pressure will no doubt play its part in this as customers ask for similar information from independent restaurants to that provided by the major groups. But we hope that all restaurants will voluntarily accept the code before consumer pressure might begin to force the government to consider a statutory approach.”