Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has hiked pay for staff to above £10 an hour, in what it has called its biggest ever pay increase.
In a £9.2m investment, some 8,000 staff members in the UK are set to see pay increase from a baseline of £9.40-9.56, to up to £10.15 per hour.
Baristas will see pay increase from £9.88-10.08 to £10.30-11.05 per hour, depending on location and experience, the company said on Wednesday.
More than 85 per cent of staff will receive at least £10 per hour while the coffee chain’s mystery shopper bonus will increase 25 per cent to £1.25 per hour.
The company said it wanted to recognise the resilience and hard work of its store staff throughout the pandemic.
The chain has embarked on plans to open more than 200 new sites in the UK within the next five years, targeting suburban and transport hubs.
“We’ve said all along that as our business recovered, we wanted to invest back into our people,” Pano Christou, Pret CEO, said.
He added: “After a difficult couple of years, it gives me so much joy to be able to give our hard-working shop teams this news. Crucially, when you combine our hourly pay, our 50 per cent staff discount, and the Pret mystery shopper bonus, we’re proud to be one of the best employers in our industry.”
The company, which has been an office-worker staple in recent years, was hit hard by work-from-home guidance during the pandemic, with the latest set of guidance seeing sales topple.
Transaction volumes in the City of London and Canary Wharf districts were more than one third down on pre-pandemic levels last week.
Bloomberg’s Pret Index laid bare the impact of Covid guidance introduced at the end of last year, with office workers also opting to work remotely on the other side of Christmas.
Sales at coffee shops in the city’s financial districts were down 29 per cent on pre-Covid levels.
The government asked people to work from home where possible last year as cases of a new Covid variant Omicron swept the capital.
“The here and now is a challenge because businesses had support last time this was the case and now they don’t,” Pano Christou, Pret’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg.
“Businesses have depleted funds because of the current pandemic so people are in a worse position than they were 18 months ago.”