Scottish chef Tom Kitchin and his wife Michaela have been accused of pocketing thousands of pounds of tips meant for front-of-house staff at his Edinburgh restaurant Scran & Scallie.
As if one scandal wasn't enough for the 44-year old Scot, with news breaking only days ago that staff had allegedly been seriously bullied in his restaurant’s kitchen, he now has to contend with another media storm as a whistleblower came forward to claim that the chef paid himself and his wife £700 a month from staff tips. Kitchin suspended two staff members over allegations of bullying and a “toxic workplace” atmosphere at his restaurants.
The source told The Times that the chef took the tips over a five year period, while another director was allegedly allocated a monthly payment of up to £2,000 between 2015 and 2020.
The ex-server said: “The tips never added up. I am furious. We were absolutely worked to the bone. I was still at university at the time and I was missing lectures to cover shifts for them.”
According to the former staff member, The Times writes, a spreadsheet of tips from each of the restaurants was sent to Michaela Kitchin each month.
“Michaela Kitchin would then complete a column for the amount of tips each employee would receive. This would be returned to finance/payroll for processing each month.
“The worst discovery was at the Scran & Scallie. Here around 20% of the tips received would be shared out to directors including Tom Kitchin and Michaela Kitchin themselves.
"This has happened for over five years. I have seen evidence from the end of 2015 where they would receive £350 each — this is compared to a commis chef at £223 who had actually worked in the restaurant.”
A spokesman for The Kitchin Group responded to the allegations saying that the share of tips allocated to directors reflected their “broader responsibilities” and that the practice relates to a time before the company’s restructuring last year.
"[Since then], as key members of the teams working daily in each individual location, the relevant directors will, of course, be allocated a share of credit card tips alongside their colleagues,” he said.
"In keeping with this policy, Tom and Michaela do not receive an allocation of tips from the Scran & Scallie, nor from the Bonnie Badger.
"Distribution of tips is done through payroll and all appropriate taxes and national insurance are paid... Directors did not receive a share of cash tips.”