Under pressure from staff and customers, Pizza Express is to stop taking an eight per cent slice of tips paid by card.
Last month Unite the union began coordinating a series of demonstrations outside Pizza Express restaurants by wait staff angered by the "administration fee". An accompanying petition won thousands of signatures from the general public.
At the time, Pizza Express insisted that it did not profit from the fee but now says that it is being dropped thanks to the introduction of a new automated system to distribute tips across the company’s 430 UK restaurants, which employ 10,000 people.
"The automated system has been developed over the last six months and is being launched following pilot trials to avoid any potential implementation issues. It replaces the more labour intensive manual procedure used to help redistribute tips among staff and to meet the company’s tax and legal obligations to HMRC," says a statement.
Unite has hailed what it claims is a victory for its "fair tips" campaign and vowed to turn its attention to other companies, including Ask Italian, Prezzo, Belgo, Strada, Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Zizzi, which take a cut of tips paid by card.