Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Rose Club Tipper

When newspapers recently reported the largesse of a mysterious hedge fund manager who is said to have frequented a London club where he spent £71,000 on a single evening out - TheBigRetort couldn't resist querying the bill...

The Evening Standard, together with the Mail and various additional newspapers of note recently carried a feature on the 13th December that came in for a lot of scrutiny by we poor due to the amount of money that is said to have been spent, in a single evening, and by just one rich individual at a club styled 'The Rose'; and which (significantly) recently opened off Oxford Street.

On Thursday evening into the Friday morning the club is said to have played host to a big-spending banker and his cohorts - with more money than it seem sensitivity in what are arguably straightened times, for the many at least.

But is all as it seems in this remarkable story of riches to riches?

Apparently this right ‘banker’ (call him what you will) allegedly splashed out that night  like there were no tomorrows, or even mornings after for that matter. The Bachanalian soiree he threw for his grateful staff is said to have included a £10,000 tip to a lucky waitress, apparently hiding behind the nome de bottle “Margaux“. (More on which later.)

But readers can rest safe in the knowledge that this may be nothing more than a marketing campaign, a fiction, a leg-pull - with the sole aim of promoting what is ostensibly a new venue: The Rose Club.

In fact the questions the mainstream press should have asked--do they ever--is what was the name of this big spender, the real name of the lucky waitress who served this party, and why certain things on the bill do not, how shall we put it, tally? For instance, the receipt records a cover charge for ‘fifteen‘ guests and not ten. (Perhaps the group had additional ‘friends’ and the hedge funder and his team did not want their presence known. I wonder why?)

The Rose Club was founded by entrepreneurs Piers Adams and Nick House, who are no strangers to courting publicity for their various ventures surely. However, if the claim of a big-spending banker is to be believed, and it has been accepted as Gospel by many, the pair prove themselves to be maestros of publicity when it comes to new club openings.

Be that as it may....

Messieurs House and Adams claim the following was spent by the hedge fund individual that they did not name, and amongst his (just) nine guests (fifteen on the cover charge sittings note):

£44,400.00 on Ciroc Methuselah, Dom Perignon Rose Magnum £7,2000.00, Wahiki Coconut £1,120.00. Together with additional items and service charge £7,965.60 and a £10k tip to waitress ‘Marguax) (Apparently not her real name) the grand total was £71,000.60. Or the price of a garage in some parts of London.

But don’t be resentful…

A little birdy informs that this bill will fall under the scrutiny of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs because it contains the VAT number 107717911.

This number is registered to a company styled BLAYSET LTD and which was incorporated in December 2010. Blayset is yet to file accounts and the nature of its business is not supplied, but when it is HMRC would expect to see it ticking over quite nicely.

According to HMRC, the club, or Blayset, would have to register for VAT if its taxable sales were likely to be above the current VAT threshold. At the prices charged and achieved at the club this seems likely. The company will then have to apply VAT at the standard rate of 20% on the items it sells - such as food and drink - and the services it provides - this is known as 'output tax'. The company would then be able to reclaim any VAT it pays on purchases such as Dom Perignon - this is known as 'input tax'.”

The club’s owners will have to therefore send off to HMRC the difference between:

all the output tax it has charged
all the input tax is has paid on purchases

And the interest doesn’t end there...

What about tips? Well, that brings us to the elusive "Margaux".  The Inland Revenue takes a keen interest in tips, nevermore so than in a venue where high rollers drop fifty pound notes like confetti. The Tax Man is waiting to wash his boots in bubbly and will seek his cut from ‘service charge‘ (a tip or gratuity surely) and Marguax‘s £10k windfall, sadly.

According to Twitter, “Margaux” is actually the name of a waitress at the club. Remarkably though she makes no mention of such a thrifty group at the club that night, or the £10,000 tip the “Margaux“ on the receipt is said to have received.

In one Tweet she distances herself from the owners' claim by posting:
"Love my life , love my job, love my BF !!! What else ?? Nothing !! Amazing !! Hapiness (sic) thank (sic) to @TheRoseClub."

Nothing? Perhaps she is right.

[News just in... this was the same night as the Next Models' Christmas Party. See..]

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