‘Irish people are not always very good at tipping’

Restaurants reveal tipping practises, service charge policies and diner experiences

The Irish Times contacted the owners of a selection of restaurants across Ireland to ask what their tipping and service charge policies were.

Paradiso, Cork

"Cash tips are pooled and distributed weekly and all members of staff get a share of tips. Owners take no share, and the admin/payroll manager distributes the tips," said Denis Cotter, whose vegetarian restaurant has been a landmark in Cork city for 26 years.

“Credit card tips are refunded out of the till system and added to the cash tips.”

At Paradiso the percentage of the tips pool received by each staff member is “based on hours worked for front of house staff and shifts worked for kitchen staff”.

The restaurant does not have a service charge.

Cotter believes tipping has become a hidden cost of dining out, and supports the move taken by several high profile restaurateurs in New York who implemented a no-tip policy, and raised staff wages to compensate.

“In an ideal world we would all do that, but it would add 15-30 per cent to the cost of the menu, and I don’t see customers in Ireland going for that.”

Gallagher’s Boxty House, Dublin

At Pádraic Óg Gallagher's Temple Bar restaurant, the credit/debit card machines do not process credit card tips.

“If the credit card machines take and record tips, we would then have to process them through our payroll. Not only does this create more administration, but it is also subject to tax,” he said.

“All wait staff control their own sections, carry their own float and are in charge of their total cash and read. Cash tips are their own and they distribute a percentage to bar, bussers, kitchen porters and chefs. A lot of our staff are working together for 10-15 years and have respect, loyalty and honesty.”

The restaurant charges 12.5 per cent service for parties of six and over.

Of this, “8 per cent goes direct to wait staff and the balance is split between host and kitchen”, and “all service charge tips are processed through payroll after VAT and employers’ PAYE is deducted”.

Restaurant 1826, Adare

At Elaine and Wade Murphy’s Co Limerick restaurant, cash tips are pooled and shared between “all members of the team, including kitchen” and an employee’s share is calculated on the basis of shifts worked.

Tips on credit or debit cards “are paid separately with the wages through bank transfer every week.”

A service charge of 10 per cent is levied on tables of six or more and this is passed on to staff in its entirety, and is not part of contracted rates of pay.

The owners note that “additional employers’ PRSI etc is paid by the company as a result”.

Eastern Seaboard, Drogheda

General manager Jeni Glasgow, joint owner of the restaurant with her chef husband Reuven Diaz, said that cash tips are pooled, and split 60 per cent to the floor staff and 40 per cent to the kitchen.

“This is managed by senior floor and kitchen staff and distributed weekly to all, based on hours worked.”

Tips left by credit or debit card “are tallied by the person cashing out at the end of each night. The total is then deducted from the takings, dropped in the safe and divided at the end of each month. These are split 50-50 between kitchen and floor.”

The restaurant does not have a service charge, and “Irish people are not always very good at tipping”, Glasgow notes.

Press Up Group

The Press Up Group runs multiple hospitality venues, with 42 venues across 31 brands, including The Dean and The Grayson, Angelina’s, Captain America’s, Dollard & Co, Elephant & Castle, Stella Theatre, Union Café, Wagamama and Wowburger.

Laura Arnold, head of marketing and PR, explained the group's tipping policy; "100 per cent of cash tips are distributed among the staff body. Each department in the venue gets a share. The allocation is different in each venue, based on team sizes and style of venue, etc, but all of the tips go to the team on the ground.

“The system is set up by department heads in each venue.”

Credit or debit card tips are also “100 per cent distributed among the staff”, and tips are in addition to contracted rates of pay.”

A discretionary service charge of 12.5 per cent is applied to tables of six/eight or more, “depending on the venue” and this is passed on to staff “in full”.

Both tips and service charge are in addition to contracted rates of pay.

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