Diners looking to try the three Michelin starred food at Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche in 2017 could well rue the day they go if it’s after the end of January.

This is when the 13% service charge levied by owner Michel Roux Jr (56) ceases to be discretionary and becomes compulsory, with Roux regarding it as revenue, rather than a payment to share between his staff, and pocketing the lot, in the same way that some cheap chain restaurants do.

Roux was in trouble a few weeks back when it emerged that some of his kitchen staff, including chefs, were being paid below the minimum wage, an aspect Roux apologised for but claimed, through an anonymous spokesperson that his staff shared in the 13% added to the bills. A few days later the spokesperson revealed that in fact Roux keeps it all. Roux has now been accused of misleading diners into believing that the £27.56 they pay on their £212 bill goes to his hard-working staff.

Since the negative publicity Roux hasn’t helped himself by stating on his website that “all our staff are receiving the correct salary” without elaborating, but instead waffling on about the primary importance of the welfare of his staff, the “fabulous dining experience” provided and his meal ticket being “a great place to work”, all beautifully crafted by his PR.

It will be interesting to see how Roux’s regular diners take this latest news of the mandatory service charge their host is pocketing. Previously they could ask for the discretionary service charge to be removed and tip the staff directly in cash, to whatever level they thought the service was worth.

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