Thursday 19 September 2019

Dublin's Ivy restaurant gets into thorny debate over staff tips

The bar area of The Ivy Dawson Street
The bar area of The Ivy Dawson Street

Catherine Devine and Ian Begley

Management at Dublin’s newly opened Ivy Restaurant have accused its waiters of “deplorable greed” following a heated argument over tips.

Waiters in the brasserie-style restaurant have been banned from taking payments after some of its staff were said to have repeatedly asked customers to leave tips in cash rather than card. 

The ground-floor dining area of The Ivy Dawon's Street.
The ground-floor dining area of The Ivy Dawon's Street.

They were also accused of not sharing their cash tips with other members of staff.  

In response, management at the restaurant posted a notice to express its “disappointment” at the “bad manners” been shown to guests.  

It read: "As you will no doubt be aware, unfortunately; due to the continued inability of those taking card payments to follow the procedures and consider the whole team here, there was no bonus payments for any front of house team members to share. 

"Also, for the third week in a row the company has had to subsidise the tronc to pay the guaranteed amount to each and every staff member.

The Ivy Dawson Street's bar.
The Ivy Dawson Street's bar.

“The most disappointing part is the continued bad manners our wonderful guests are shown by consistently being asked for cash, this is unacceptable to us as managers, our bosses and most importantly our owner. 

"The fact that all the runners, bar backs, bartenders, cocktail waitresses who make waiter's jobs possibly have received nothing is the fact that angers me the most." 

The notice added that no waiters will ever be allowed to take any payments from guests. Instead, managers will take all payments. 

“This will allow us to get our bonuses back for all FOH (Front of House) and will stop the diplorable greed being shown to guests by those who request cash”.  

Staff then received a stark warning that anyone who does not follow the new rules will receive “immediate and swift disciplinary action”. 

A waitress at the Ivy, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Independent.ie that staff initially weren’t told what was going to happen with the tips. 

“On the training day, the manager told us that we would get 40pc of card tips and 80pc of cash tips. The cash tips we got on the night and the card tips would be added to our wages at the end of the month. 

"The other 60pc card tips were going to be used to pay the wages of other staff. I had never heard anything like that before in any of my previous jobs." 

The staff member said that in her last paycheck she received no card tips because management claimed they didn't earn enough to cover the wages for other staff. 

"Nobody was told until we got our payslips and then the manager put up a note in the staff room to say we were no longer allowed to take any payments because apparently we weren't handling the tips fairly. “Only managers now can take payments and everyone is annoyed because it slows down the process. 

"It's not our job to pay the other staff. When customers tip, they think it's going to the wait staff, not to pay the wages of other staff members. Everyone is really annoyed."   

In a statement, The Ivy said the company believes that all gratuities should be for the benefit of the entire team.  

 “All cash tips are kept by the individual waiter/waitress serving the table in question. They are strongly encouraged to share a portion of tips with other team members.  

“When a tip is paid by credit card, the tip goes towards a shared gratuiity per hour that all restaurant staff receive.  

“This is shared across all c.150 staff in the restaurant (excluding management). This is paid in addition to their hourly wage and is guaranteed by the company in that the company will make up any shortfall and is, therefore, regardless of whether any tips are paid by patrons.  

“A recent issue arose with a waiting staff member asking patrons to pay tips only in cash which the company believes is an inappropriate request. This resulted in the individual taking tips for their benefit only and not being shared with all staff.”

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