Restaurant chain Cote reportedly keeps all of the 12.5% service charge on bills instead of passing it to the waiting staff.

Cote, who own 72 restaurants in the UK, say that they do this in order to give staff a higher than average hourly wage.

The standard hourly wage from most restaurant chains is £6.50 an hour. Cote offers its staff between £7.50 – £8 an hour.

In the eyes of the lay the restaurant chain is not breaking an laws as Dave Turnbull from UNITE says, “Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law the ‘service charge’ belongs to the company, but it is entirely misleading. Similar tactics are already widescale in the hotel sector as a way for companies to increase revenues.”

Staff at the restaurant are told to say that they are given the service charge if they are ever asked by customers.

A Cote spokesperson said, “At Cote the optional service charge is used to increase the pay of all restaurant level staff above what would typically be seen as market standard.”

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