Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 10:21 UK

Hard Rock wages 'below minimum'

By Martin Shankleman
Business correspondent, BBC News

Hard Rock Cafe, London
Hard Rock says some staff remain loyal "for years"

Staff at one of the UK's best-known restaurants are getting paid 2.06 an hour - less than half the national minimum wage, the BBC has found.

The Hard Rock Cafe in London relies on tips from customers to lift earnings to the legal level of 5.52.

One waiter, who wished to remain anonymous, accused the management of being "downright greedy".

A spokeswoman for Hard Rock defended its actions, saying it was doing nothing illegal.

"It's an abuse of customers - they are being misled in that they believe they are giving a tip when they are subsidising the actual wage," the unnamed waiter said.

"They are manipulating their employees and customers and playing one off against the other."

The wage of 2.06 an hour is even lower than the 3.75 an hour paid by the Carluccio's restaurant chain, which was revealed by the BBC in April.

"It's almost insulting, no wonder people leave," said the waiter.

Review of rules

However, a spokeswoman for the firm said it was "free to distribute the service charge as it sees fit".

She added that unlike some competitors, Hard Rock ensured staff kept 100% of cash and credit card tips.

"With the addition of the service charge, staff in London can earn between 8 and 12 an hour, depending on the level of business."

She claimed many staff remained with the company "for years".

The Department for Business is reviewing the rules which allow restaurants to include tips in the calculations for the minimum wage.

It has come under pressure from the union Unite, which has launched a campaign to stop companies retaining staff tips.

Hard Rock describes itself as a "philanthropic" company, and has an official motto of "Love All Serve All".

Last month, it sponsored high-profile concerts in Hyde Park starring Eric Clapton and the Police.

Waiters' tips laws under scrutiny
22 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Union campaigns on tips 'abuse'
18 Apr 08 |  Business
Minimum wage will rise to 5.73
05 Mar 08 |  Business
Smoking ban continues to hit Rank
02 Mar 07 |  Business
Rank mulls Hard Rock cafes sale
04 Jul 06 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific