Wrottesley v Regent Street Florida Restaurant: QBD 1951

Waiters at an unlicensed restaurant (with their employer’s agreement) put all tips into a box whose key was held by the head waiter. At the end of each week the contents were distributed between the waiters in accordance with their agreed entitlements. The weekly wage paid to each waiter by the employer fell below the minimum prescribed by the 1949 Regulations, but if each waiter’s share of the boxed gratuities were added to the wage so paid, the total exceeded the prescribed minimum. The restaurant proprietors were prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage. Their obligation, under section 9(2) of the Order, was to ‘pay’ to the employee the statutory minimum remuneration. The magistrate dismissed the informations and the prosecutor appealed by way of case stated.
Held: The reasoning was that the locked box – or tronc – contained money that the customers had given to the waiters, not to the employer. It thus became the waiters’ property, and not the employer’s, and so when it was shared out the waiters were dividing up their own money. It followed that it could not be taken into account in computing the amounts that the employer paid them by way of remuneration. It was not paid by their employers. Lord Goddard said: ‘The amount of a man’s earnings in an employment and the amount of remuneration which his employer pays to him are not necessarily the same thing.’


Lord Goddard CJ


[1951] 2 KB 277


Wages Regulations (Unlicensed Place of Refreshment) Order 1949


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedAnnabel’s (Berkeley Square) Ltd and Others v Revenue and Customs CA 7-May-2009
The court considered whether tips paid at a restaurant by means of a credit card or cheque thus becoming the employer’s money could properly count toward the minimum wage when paid on to the employee. The revenue contended that the money received . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.342120