Minimum wage

Michel Roux Jr has admitted that his restaurant staff get no share of service charge and that he has paid his staff less than the minimum wage.

The former MasterChef judge and TV chef  is to reimburse thousands of pounds to staff who he paid less than the legal minimum wage at his Michelin starred Mayfair restaurant.

Mr Roux admitted “unintentionally” paying kitchen staff as little as £5.50 an hour for working up to 68 hours a week at Le Gavroche restaurant.

He also revealed that he treats the 13 per cent service charge at his restaurant “as revenue”, instead of distributing the cash to staff in addition to their wages.

The findings came to light following a Guardian investigation, which Roux has since said he is ’embarrassed and sorry’ about.

The British Hospitality Association, of which Le Gavroche is a member, has proposed restaurants should be legally required to tell customers how service charges and tips are distributed among staff.

Roux has now written personally to former chefs to apologise and has promised to make up the shortfalls in their pay.

A spokeswoman confirmed that letters had been sent out and said:

“Of the people he has been in contact with in the kitchen team, he will settle with everybody who feels they have a legitimate claim and he will honour it.”

The government said earlier this year that it believed all discretionary payments for service, after tax where appropriate, should be received by the worker. It ran a consultation this summer and said it was considering prohibiting employers from taking any cut to provide greater protection to workers.

According to a government consultation on service charge and tipping, 61 per cent of diners believe staff should keep 100% of service charges.