Celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr has come under fire today following an investigation that revealed staff at his Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche have not been receiving tips. Speaking to the Guardian, a spokeswoman for the restaurant commented that the service charge goes into revenue rather than directly to employees and that, ‘wages are not dependent on fluctuating levels of discretionary service charges or cash tips.’
This follows reports earlier in the week that the restaurant was paying some of its lower level chefs less than minimum wage, some of them working 68 hours per week and receiving just £5.50 an hour. While it’s known for its good-value business lunch, this is also a restaurant that charges £215 for its wine pairing tasting menu and is booked up three months in advance.
The chef, a leader in his industry who found a particular fame through his involvement as a judge on ‘Masterchef: The Professionals’, has since admitted to the newspaper that he is ‘embarrassed and sorry’, adjusting opening hours and pay packages. He has also announced this morning that the service charge will be cut from customer bills, with the cost being incorporated on the menu instead, although it wasn’t made clear if the increase would be reflected in remuneration of staff.
Time Out is aware this is a practice held at too many fellow restaurants on London’s hospitality scene. Roux Jr has expressed that he hopes others will join him in the move he’s made today. As an industry leader, we just wish he hadn’t waited to have his hand forced on the matter.
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