Pret a Manger has announced it is investing £9.2 million to raise staff pay from £9.40 to £9.80 an hour. After raising hourly wages 5% in September, this second pay rise will affect 81% of its 8,500 staff across the UK.
This is the biggest ever increase in pay and benefits for the sandwich and coffee chain, which now has 550 branches worldwide.
Since September, Pret's popularity has sharply risen thanks to the introduction of its subscription service, which allows subscribers up to five hot drinks and smoothies for £20 a month. The service is now used over a million times a week. This, however, has proven tricky for staff dealing with the increased demand. A factor - we suspect - that has contributed towards the pay rises coming into play.
The company has said that sales are “recovering strongly” since last year, although working from home has dampened this due to commuters being the primary customer base. “We’ve said all along that as our business recovered, we wanted to invest back into our people. Today, as we move into a new phase of our transformation strategy, I’m really pleased we’re in a position to do exactly that,” says Pano Christou, Pret’s chief executive.
Pret has, however, had its fair share of controversy. In August, staff threatened to strike when the company announced they would stop paying for breaks. Break times during a workday of six or more hours are required by law, although breaks being paid is not mandatory.
The chain then backpedalled somewhat, resulting in the previously mentioned September pay rise. Around the same time, Pret also planned to halve employee bonuses, but decided not to after a considerable public backlash. These bonuses are assigned based on performance, assessed by mystery shoppers.
Next up, find out why the Pret subscription service has received thousands of complaints.