It’s been a bad month for Michel Roux Jr. Following an investigation by The Guardian into employment practices at his two Michelin star restaurant Le Gavroche in London, the chef has been forced to apologise for paying staff less than the legal UK minimum and is now in the process of reimbursing current and former staff to the tune of thousands of pounds.
Embarrassingly, Le Gavroche has also had to admit that to date it keeps 100% of the 13% optional service charge levied on every meal, despite initially insisting that staff received a share. According to a spokesperson: “Gratuities form just one part of the payroll each month. Service charge is treated as revenue, and the restaurant pays all taxes accordingly.”
Roux Jr has since said that from January 2017 the Le Gavroche will be going “service included,” with the service charge already factored into the cost of dishes, though staff still won’t see any of it. The chef insists diners are welcome to leave a tip on top, but wants to remove the ambiguity of the voluntary service charge.