This new app allows you to directly tip your service staff

A new mobile app will allow you to tip staff directly, removing the need to add gratutities to your bill or having to make sure you have some change to leave.

The Gratuu app was born after owner Renate Kalnina was left embarrassed by not being able to leave a tip in a restaurant. The establishment couldn’t process her tip through their card machines and she found that she didn’t have any change to give to the staff.

A transparent solution

The founder said that she had been on the ‘receiving end’ and knew how important tips can be for service industry staff, but also had experience of how unfairly cash tips and service charges are managed in some venues. A debate about service charges in restaurants has been raging for some time.

She added that there was a trust issue for customers, with many not wanting to leave card machine tips in restaurants they don’t know very well because of fears about where the money will actually end up.

Restaurant launch

The app was created as a result of a partnership between Renate and Lee Hazlehurst, the technical lead, and it has now been launched at the La Bandera Spanish restaurant in Manchester. Staff there can now have tips paid straight into their own bank accounts.

Restaurant users can either type in an ID number into the Gratuu website or scan a special QR code. The website charges a fixed 3.5 per cent rate on each transaction. La Bandera’s owner Yashin Dadashnejad said that customers were excited by Gratuu and appreciated the potential to improve control and transparency.

He did add, however, that it may take a while for the idea to really take off as, like with Deliveroo, people may need time to get used to handing over card details, but this will eventually happen. Remember, there was once a time when the likes of walk in cold rooms from companies such as and microwaves were alien in restaurants, whereas today many could not function without them.

Gratuu is also being used on other businesses apart from restaurants. In Manchester, for example, it is a feature in two hairdressers including Rox Men’s in the city centre. Gratuu is also currently used by two local hairdressers, Urban Angels in Didsbury.

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