Pizza Express has bowed to growing pressure over its tipping system and agreed to remove the eight per cent administration fee it charges for customers paying their bill with card.
The move, which workers and unions have been calling for over the last few months, means staff will receive the full amount left for them as a tip.
The restaurant said it was able to strip out the charge having introduced a new automated system to distribute tips across the company’s 430 UK restaurants. Pizza Express employs around 10,000 people in the UK.
"The automated system has been developed over the last six months and is being launched following pilot trials to avoid any potential implementation issues. It replaces the more labour intensive manual procedure used to help redistribute tips among staff and to meet the company’s tax and legal obligations to HMRC," the chain said.
Tips made on electronic card payments will now to be fully distributed among employees as agreed by the company’s Tronc committee. Currently, cleaners, pizzaiolos and other kitchen staff receive 30 per cent of card-based tips with the remaining 70 per cent going to the individual waiter.
Chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “We want people to recognise that this is a company that values employees and offers long-term opportunities. I’m committed to ensuring that we continue to work on improving the image of our sector, and to ensure we appeal to talented, ambitious people with the right mix of skills.
"We are playing our part by investing heavily in apprenticeships and the creation of 2,500 new jobs over the next few years; and we welcome the government’s decision on the living wage we will be adopting in full.”