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Thu 2nd Mar 2023 - Pret A Manger to give staff third pay rise in 12 months, strong fourth quarter for contract catering
Pret A Manger to give staff third pay rise in 12 months: Pret A Manger has announced a third pay rise in 12 months for its 7,870 UK shop staff, which it said would further support its workforce amid the high cost of living. From 1 April 2023, team members, baristas and shop managers will receive an additional 3% pay increase, on top of the 5% increase that came into force in December 2022. Average base pay for shop staff will increase by 19% in the year to April, while average entry level pay will have increased by 15% year on year to above £12, including the brand’s Mystery Shopper Bonus, which is above the UK National Living Wage and inflation. The latest pay increase will be applied to shop employees irrespective of age, although some differences may apply depending on role, experience, and location. The company said that team members will see a pay increase from between £10.30 and £11.55 per hour to between £10.60 and £11.90 per hour depending on location, or between £11.85 and £13.15 per hour with Mystery Shopper Bonus. At the same time, baristas pay will increase from between £10.85 and £12.50 per hour to between £11.20 and £12.85, depending on location and experience, or between £12.45 - £14.10 per hour with Mystery Shopper Bonus. The company said that it has also launched a new discounts portal, which provides staff with access to fresh food and other essential items from major supermarkets and other businesses at a lower cost. This new portal builds on Pret’s existing benefits package, which includes free food and drink while on shift (including breakfast and lunch) and a 50% discount for all staff otherwise. Guy Meakin, interim managing director at Pret A Manger UK & Ireland, said: “We’re proud to be making another significant investment in our people’s success and wellbeing. Whether it’s paying above the National Minimum Wage, providing career development opportunities, or leading the industry on Barista pay we’re committed to making Pret a rewarding and supportive place to work for all our teams and paying the best we can afford to. Our people work incredibly hard to make Pret such a well-loved place on the high street, and we wanted to thank them for their continued energy and commitment. As the cost of living continues to rise, we hope this latest increase in pay, and our expanded benefits package, goes some way in providing further support for our hard working teams.”

Strong fourth quarter for contract catering but sales still lag pre-covid levels: Contract caterers’ sales grew in the fourth quarter of 2022 thanks to a covid-free Christmas and a steady return to workplaces but trading remains below pre- pandemic levels. The latest Contract Catering Tracker from CGA by NielsenIQ and Bidfood reveals that sales from October to December 2022 were 27% higher than in the same quarter of 2021, when caterers were impacted by growing concerns about the Omicron variant of covid-19. Caterers’ sales in the private sector were up 32% year-on-year as more people switched back from home-based working to offices. However, sales in the last quarter of 2022 were 7% below the equivalent period in 2019, when businesses were trading as normal. After adjustments for inflation, sales are significantly further behind the levels of three years ago in real terms. The number of outlets served by contract caterers has fallen by about 14% since late 2019. The Tracker shows signs that contract caterers’ sales are gradually returning towards pre-covid levels. The three-year comparison of -7% represents the smallest shortfall of sales of all four quarters of 2022, but rising costs for businesses and consumers mean trading conditions will remain difficult in 2023. Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Contract caterers have battled back well from the havoc of covid-19 and lockdowns, and sales have steadily grown since the end of restrictions. But sales and margins are now under intense pressure from the soaring energy and food costs that face both caterers and the places they serve. Real-terms growth will be difficult in 2023, and all businesses will be hoping for respite on inflation as the year goes on.” Debra Morrell, business development controller at Bidfood, said: “It’s good to see that on the face of it, the sector is creeping back towards its pre-covid-19 levels, although we believe value sales (due to inflation) may mask the true picture in terms of meals served. It’s also difficult to factor in the difference that train strikes, the cold weather and the cost-of-living crisis may have had on this quarter’s results. We are certainly seeing operators respond proactively through innovation in terms of exciting concepts, and social or sharing offers to encourage uptake and spend. With the right offer, there is always opportunity to compete with the high street.”

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