If you go into one of 72 Côte Restaurants across the UK and feast upon Steak Frites or Tuna Niçoise and a glass or two of wine, you will find that a service charge of 12.5% is automatically added to the bill. Ask the waiters whether they actually receive the money and they will tell you that they do. Except that they don’t – Côte takes it all. And the reason the staff will tell you that they keep the tips is that Côte instructs them to tell you that. The company’s explanation is that the service charge allows Côte to pay staff above the minimum wage (currently at £6 50 for those over 21). Côte ever-so-generously pays its waiting staff £7 50 – £8 an hour although this falls well short of the (optional) London Living Wage of £9 15. Readers are urged not to lie awake worrying about Côte – last year its profits increased 27% to a tasty £16.3m. This practice is not unique. After the London Evening Standard broke the story, similar allegations were made against another restaurant chain (ironically called Bill’s) although that company has denied them. Elsewhere in the gastronomic jungle where the big corporations snack upon the little people who make their money for them, the restaurant chain operating pizza joints Zizzi and Ask Italia reclaims 8% from staff to cover the “administration fees” for credit card tips. So does Pizza Express with its 430 restaurants. Café Rouge, Strada, Prezzo and Giraffe reclaim 10%. Last year Café Rouge and its sister eateries Belgo and Bella Italia made a profit of £33.3m. So here’s a tip from WTF. Give these places their just desserts and boycott them until they change their policy. And well done eateries like Carluccio’s, Garfunkel’s, Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen that allow staff to keep 100% of the tips which were supposed to be for them anyway.
WTF’s beef about the Côte story is the way in which the company appeared to congratulate itself on paying more than the minimum wage and she is also cheesed off at its instruction to staff to mislead paying punters about the tips policy. Even George Osborne is about to raise the minimum wage by imposing a mandatory “Living Wage” (albeit that he will take money off the recipients in other ways) and Business Secretary, super-smoothie Sajid Javid, says Côte’s conduct takes the biscuit and that “this One Nation Government” (pause to vomit in mouth) will stop the practice. Listening to Côte’s PR machine, you would think that it was a philanthropic organisation in the manner of the late Joseph Rowntree rather than a purveyor of faux-French brasserie food ripping off employees and customers alike. The current owner, CBPE Capital, bought the chain two years ago and was hoping to flog it later this year for £200m. Now that the Côte name is as pungent as a Poulet Breton past its sell-by date, that figure may now be regarded as somewhat over-ambitious. Shamies…..
We start our review of the week’s fashion faeces with actress Eva Longoria wearing David Koma.
This is awful. It has an illusion sleeve as worn by ice skaters and gymnasts. It also has peekaboo panels and WTF deplores the impression that someone rode a muddy bicycle over Eva whilst she was napping in the park.
Meet Australian Home and Away soap actress Ada Nicodemou wearing Carla Zampatti.
The fuchsia silk is positively migraine-inducing (although in fairness to Ada, she opts for that shade of pink to match the Priceline Pharmacy logo as she is their “Ambassador”) and there is something very vaginal about the front seam on her trousers. And what are those the waist flaps? They are like Dumbo’s ears.
This is actress and singer Zendaya wearing the stupidest pair of jeans ever in the history of ever.
These jeans are not so much distressed as hysterical. Were they savaged on the washing line by pack of crows? Also, whilst WTF does not wish to intrude into personal matters, Zendaya’s knees seem a bit battered. What can she have been up to?
Amal! No! NO! You used to be known for your brains and for your beauty. Now you are more made-up than Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and simultaneously both overdressed and underdressed in gauzy gold gift wrap with your white undies showing. As for George, those jeans have got to go. And those Hush Puppies. Why is she dressed as a Christmas tree decoration and he looks like he’s popping out for a pint of milk?
This is a newcomer to these pages, young actor Shiloh Fernandez at the première of his new movie We are Your Friends wearing a GANT Rugger suit.
As you know, criticism is alien to WTF’s nature but Shiloh looks like a sack of shit. There is the terrible jacket like a school prefect’s blazer, the scruffy shirt with the collar at right angles to his shoulders, the crappy tie and the Charlie Chaplin trousers. But those shoes! Those shoes are amongst the worst items of male footwear ever encountered. It is as though they were freshly retrieved from a cement mixer. Whoever put Shiloh into this abomination of an outfit is not his friend. Not even at all.
And now we have former glamour model, now bodybuilder and reality star Jodie Marsh on her wedding day in Florida. She is wearing a “custom-made” jumpsuit by Pink Strawberry.
WTF tried to recall when she saw anything more terrible and then gave up. As far as she can see, Jodie is wearing a giant nappy-cum-onesie cut away to reveal arse cleavage and a collection of hideous tattoos. The front view is also bad, displaying a large amount of fake tittage.
Should you and your senses have parted company, you can buy this item of clothing for £38 50. And you will still have overpaid. Let us hope that the marriage lasts longer than Jodie’s first effort which collapsed after only three months.
Finally, we have WTF regular Sharon Stone wearing Traver Rains.
Last week we had Britney Spears looking like Tinkerbell on the game and this week we have Sharon in a shower curtain looking like Tinkerbell’s mum. Sharon – it is time to put your nipples away. Quite apart from anything else, everyone has seen them. Furthermore WTF doubts that fairies even have nipples let alone that they fly about flashing them in public.
This week’s It’s Got To Go was suggested by WTF aficionado Holly from London who is up in arms about the awfulness of middle-aged men who wear their thinning hair in a ratty little ponytail, made even worse by the aforesaid ratty little ponytail nestling under a growing bald spot. It really is the quintessence of sad. Holly is also appalled by the phenomenon of the little male bun known, alas, as the “mun” or “bro bun”.
It looks like crap on Colin Farrell – imagine it on someone 25 years older. It has definitely Got To Go….
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. There was a glut of quite splendid comments last week which perked WTF up no end so keep them coming in as well as your top suggestions for It’s Got to Go. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x