Italian restaurant chain Zizzi has responded to the UK’s higher minimum wage by cutting staff perks and benefits — including “redistributing” waiters’ tips, according to the Financial Times.
A company note seen by the paper said that 50% of service charges and credit card tips will now go to kitchen staff and supervisors. Under the prior system, waiters received 70% of tips, with 30% going to kitchen staff.
A Zizzi spokesman told the Financial Times the changes were part of a “comprehensive review” of pay and benefits and that the redistribution of tips was fairer to kitchen staff.
Other changes to staff perks include the restriction of free food for staff to a Margherita pizza or a plate of spaghetti.
UK minimum wage for workers over the age of 25 was increased to £7.20 ($10.39) an hour on April 1, up from the previous rate of £6.30 an hour.
A number of companies have reportedly cut perks in response to the higher minimum wage. Supermarket giant Tesco slashed holiday and night-time bonuses, according to The Guardian, while DIY chain B&Q cut extra pay on Sunday and bank holidays.
Chancellor George Osborne last week said he was disappointed with this behaviour. He told ITV that: “It’s not the spirit of the law. Companies should be much more careful about their reputation.”
The Low Pay Commission, an expert body that oversees the minimum wage, warned employers that cost cutting was unsustainable as the minimum wage would keep rising every year until it reached £9 by 2020, the Financial Times added.
Zizzi did not respond for comment at the time of writing.