Eating out in London it is customary to encounter a 12.5% or higher Service Charge at the end of your meal. There is no law to command you to pay. It is voluntary but often than not it is a fait accompli.
This charge at a busy, expensive restaurant can amount to a large sum every month. Management has discretion over its distribution or non-distribution. If the former, staff are required to report it as income; the latter, VAT and corporate tax kick in.
Whilst service charge is almost mandatory in the US (often it's the waiting staff's only income) there is no such non-sense in France. Since our root is there (Edwin's first started in Lyon in 2007) we adhere to the French way.
Running a bar or restaurant, service rendered to clients is part and partial of the job. We take pride in what we do. Service is part of this pride. We do not wish to put a price to it. Therefore we do not charge Service Charge.
While we're at it, there are a few other things that we do not do either.
You'd notice in our small Menu there are no Side Orders. Our Main plates are garnished with vegetables and roast potatoes. Go to a great place and order a £70 'Cote de Boeuf' for two. Your main order would not come with anything. Three or four Side Orders additional would cost another £15.
Another pet annoyance of ours is when we visit other wine bars we'd have to pay for bread and butter when we order a cheese plate - another £3.5 please, thank you very much.
And finally, a table booked at a great restaurant has a life-span of 1 hour 30 minutes, regardless how much you spend! At Edwin's a table occupied is for the duration of the evening.
These 4 things that we do not do are generally accepted elsewhere in London. Why are we acting against our interest?
We believe clients are smart. They go with the flow now. This flow comes to a stop at Edwin's. Who knows where this counter-current takes us?
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