UK

Michel Roux Jr Admits Le Gavroche Staff Do Not Receive Money From Service Charge

He's only just apologised for paying his staff less than the minimum wage.

16/12/2016 10:25 GMT

Michel Roux Jr has admitted that staff at his London restaurant do not receive any money from the establishment’s service charge.

The former Masterchef judge said he treats the 13% service charge at Le Gavroche “as revenue”.

The news comes just days after Roux apologised for paying his staff below the minimum wage, as revealed by the Guardian. 

However, the restaurant pointed out the apparent difference between service charge and tips, adding that staff do share cash tips between them. 

Peter Jordan/PA Archive
Staff at Michel Roux's Le Gavroche restaurant do not receive any money from the service charge

A statement from Le Gavroche said: “All employees receive monthly wages which are fixed or static, whether they are front of house or in the kitchen, and they are adjusted as a stepped increase over time to reflect length of service, level of responsibility and ability.  In addition to wages, longer-serving Le Gavroche employees have a share in the restaurant’s generous annual bonus scheme.

“These wages are not dependent on fluctuating levels of discretionary service charges, or cash tips.  Service charges form just one part of the total payroll each month.  Service charge is treated as revenue, and the restaurant pays all taxes accordingly. Tips, however, are divided amongst the restaurant staff without any deductions by the management being made.

Adding that Roux has announced his decision to include service on all diners’ bills at Le Gavroche, it said: “There is too much ambiguity between service charges and tips, so from the end of January 2017 we are going ‘service included’. This will be marked on the bill and menus as to make it clear that no further payment or gratuity is needed, and credit card slips will be closed.”

Roux was heavily criticised by many over the revelations, including former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

The latest revelation was compounded by a statement earlier this week from a spokeswoman who said: “All Le Gavroche staff, front of house and kitchen, share in the 13% discretionary service charge.”

In a statement on his website following the revelations about pay at Le Gavroche, Roux said: “You may have read a recent report in the national press that Le Gavroche was underpaying some junior staff members. I would like to reassure you that the welfare of our staff is of primary importance, and that all our staff are receiving the correct salary.

“The hospitality industry needs a lot of hard work to create a fabulous dining experience for guests, and the fact that Le Gavroche is a great place to work is, we hope, apparent to everyone who dines with us.

“In order to provide a better working environment, we took the decision earlier this year to close the restaurant all day Monday, as well as being closed Saturday lunchtime, and all day Sunday, and I have also decided to increase even further the amount of time off enjoyed by all restaurant employees, at the same time maintaining all salaries at the current level despite less hours being worked.”

At the time, he told The Caterer that he was “embarrassed” and admitted to “ballsing up”.

In May, the then-business secretary Sajid Javid said that waiting staff in restaurants should receive their tips in full and it should be clearer to customers that gratuities are optional.