Backlash over tipping policy forces u-turn

More than 40 per cent of 700 current staff members called for Las Iguanas to amend its tipping policy
More than 40 per cent of 700 current staff members called for Las Iguanas to amend its tipping policy
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The firm behind Blackpool’s new £1 million restaurant has dumped its long-term tipping policy in the face of a huge public backlash.

Latin-American chain Las Iguanas acted after becoming embroiled in a row over its previous policy, which critics said forced waiting staff to pay to work.

We are very pleased to make this announcement. We have listened to our team and the results speak for themselves

Almost 90,000 people signed an online petition calling on the firm to scrap its policy, which saw staff owe three per cent of their total sales – or 5.5 per cent in London – to management at the end of each shift.

It meant that, if servers didn’t earn enough to cover the fee in tips, they would have to make up the shortfall in their next shift or out of their own pocket, it was claimed by former employees.

Las Iguanas said its new policy, which will see 100 per cent of all tips shared amongst hourly-paid staff with no administration fees, came following a staff survey, when hundreds of workers called for a change of policy.

Managing director Mos Shamel said: “We are very pleased to make this announcement. We have listened to our team and the results speak for themselves.

“We will now undertake further consultation with our people to discuss our proposals and understand their views.

“We will also be reviewing our industry-leading staff benefits and incentives, with the aim of minimizing any impact the proposed changes may have.

“Our incentives are a key pillar of our award-winning culture and help us stand apart from our competitors so we’ll be working very hard to defend them.”

Las Iguanas said it hopes to have the new policy in place by November 1 following talks with the taxman over the changes.

It said the split between servers and back-of-house staff would be determined at a local level by workers.

‘What a great result’ - petition starter hails company’s decision

The man who launched the 88,600-signature strong petition on website 38degrees.co.uk has hailed Las Iguana’s decision.

Samuel Hughes said: “This shows without a doubt that when the public get together and have a single-minded focus, then things can and will change.

“Other restaurants with unfair tipping policies should be looking at this and following suit.”

Las Iguanas, which specialises in Latin American food, is spending six figures renovating the former Burger King building, on the corner of Church Street and the promenade in the town centre.

Around 50 new staff members will serve diners at the 6,000sq ft venue from November.

“We think Blackpool is a vibrant and excited town,” a spokesman told The Gazette.

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