The Great Tipping Debate

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One of my friends who is a bit of a foodie sent me an invite to a Facebook group. What I found quite interesting about this was that, they have a good enough Facebook ettiquette to not usually  indulge in pokes, questionnaires and ‘carcinogenic games’ (games like Zombies or Pirates which are supposed to be ‘viral’ but have a negative effect on trust in a community because they’re crap and violate social norms) and the activist trigger of the group.

An article on The Guardian food blog Tipping the balance by Graeme Allister (April 3, 2008) was the ignition point for restaurant customer outrage about how staff were being short-changed on tips by their employers either through various kinds of ‘administration charges’ or using tips to subsidise restaurant staff’s below minimum wage rate pay.


This resulted in the immediate reflexive response, resulting in the ‘Boycott Strada and Cafe Rouge‘ group invitation that I was sent.

In a society that rails against rail union strikes and voted Margaret Thatcher into power with a licence to smash the organised labour movement, industrial relations are now a key part of the mix  for a company’s reputation. Prior that this it was only the very worst offenders like gangmasters and the very largest global behemoths like Wal-Mart, Nike and Starbucks that have seen their reputation damaged, now everyone is fair game.

2 thoughts on “The Great Tipping Debate

  1. If I’m the friend then thanks for joining (you may have been sent it by someone else as well though) I was really pleased to see that a lot of people I invited joined & I know it’s only a small group – but it’s sort of like saying “not in my name” you don’t. You don’t pay your employees minimum wage and expect be congratulated for that. You don’t expect tips to make up a member of staff’s minimum wage.

    I agree there’s a bit of a Guardian reading smugness about it but that doesn’t make the point any less valid IMO



  2. Yes Mecca it was you who sent it to me, since I hadn’t asked you I thought that I wouldn’t name you :).

    It was less about Guardian smugness and more about how industrial relations had become not only part of delivery but also part of social responsibility even in the UK which is a society dead-set against organised labour since the late 1970s.

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