TALK OF THE TOWN: Celebrity haunts River Cafe charging £950 for bottle of champagne ‘pocket waiter service charge’
It’s the celebrity haunt that charges £950 for a bottle of champagne and £26 for a plate of pasta – but I’ve heard leftist River Cafe owner Ruth Rogers is leaving her staff aggrieved.
I heard grumbling among waiters at the west London venue – which recently hosted U2 singer Bono’s 61st birthday party and counts models Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid among its clientele – because the cafe doesn’t share not its optional 12.5% service charge with staff.
Restaurants are not allowed to keep tips in cash for waiting staff, but can take service charges – now a more popular way for customers to thank staff as the use of cash is discouraged in Covid reason.
At the River Cafe, a waiter says they now only bring in around £20 a week each from money left by diners.
It’s the celebrity haunt that charges £950 for a bottle of champagne and £26 for a plate of pasta. Still, I hear leftist River Cafe owner Ruth Rogers (above) is leaving her staff aggrieved.
Workers say they believe the money is classed as ‘income’ by champagne socialite Ruth, who became Baroness Rogers of Riverside when her architect husband Richard Rogers was knighted in 1996. Staff would prefer it be added to their turnover rate of £87.
Last week, a TripAdvisor reviewer, which has since disappeared, claimed the policy had been in place since before Covid. The reviewer, ‘Sinitta’, said: ‘I was appalled to find that the service goes straight to the management. As a matter of principle, I refuse to come back here. River Cafe should be ashamed.
Michel Roux Jr faced criticism in 2016 after admitting he viewed the charge “as income” at his restaurant Le Gavroche.
Last week Tory MP Dean Russell tabled a ‘tipping bill’ which will prevent employers from keeping tips and gratuities intended for staff.
At the River Cafe (above) a waiter says they now only bring in around £20 a week each from money left by diners
With bottles of white wine costing up to £360, the River Cafe, where Jamie Oliver trained, stands to rack up thousands in service charges every week. An informant tells me: “Some tables spend around £5,000. The amount of incremental revenue generated… I just don’t understand where this is going.
Lady Rogers, whose mother was a loyal trade unionist, received the CBE in the 2020 Birthday Honors List for her services to the culinary arts and charity.
A River Cafe spokesperson said its staff were guaranteed the London minimum wage.
I’m afraid Virginia isn’t the only person to have lost a castle.
Model Jacquetta Wheeler and her sisters Charlotte and Sarah have left their £15million family home, Chilham Castle in Kent, after it was sold.
As I revealed earlier this year, the proceeds from the sale will go to charity, as decreed in the will of their father, betting magnate Stuart Wheeler.