A mother claims she has been banned from her favourite family restaurant after she refused to pay the service charge.

Julia Casson, of Hove, has taken a stand at Italian restaurant Otello in Church Road, Hove, after being told waiters don’t receive a share of the tips.

The mum-of-two said she gives waiters cash instead – but has now been told not to return.

But the restaurant said the disgruntled diner was not banned and warned she must pay the obligatory service charge.

Ms Casson said: “I’ve taken it very personally.

“Several waiters have told me the tips go to management and towards maintenance of the building.

“So I always leave cash on the table instead and the waiters have always been grateful. I was told if it happens again I would not be welcome back. I don’t see why my hard earned money should be given to the fat cat owners.

“The food’s fantastic, the service is fantastic, it’s great for the kids. I’ve only got good things to say about it – I just hate being taken for a ride.

“I probably wouldn’t go back now out of principle.”


But the owner of Otello insisted his staff were well taken care of – with some waiters still at the restaurant since its opening 25 years ago.

Saied Abdulkahni said: “This particular lady has come to us many times and she doesn’t pay the service charge.

“I’ve said to my staff, ‘Don’t worry, don’t argue with her’.

“Even the last time she came she didn’t pay.

We said, ‘Fine, she can go and not pay it’.

“My colleague said, ‘If you’re going to come here you’re going to have to pay the bill in full’.

“It’s not optional – it says so on the menu.

“We keep our prices very competitive, we haven’t put them up in many years. People can’t just come in and start slashing prices.

“But I’ve not banned her, she’s more than welcome to come back – but she has to pay her bill.

“She doesn’t need to worry about my staff.

They are all very happy and well looked after.

“I have two or three who have been with me for 25 years.

“I don’t take a penny of their tips.”

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