London-based M Restaurant group has introduced a starting wage of £10 hourly for all its employees in and outside London – £1.79 higher than the national minimum of £8.21 set by the government for employees aged 25 and over, and a whopping £5.65 more than the minimum set for 16-year-olds.
This new starting salary will come into play on 1 March.
Founder Martin Williams linked the decision to increase the wage to the uncertainties of Brexit and the challenges it is bringing to the hospitality sector: ‘In a Brexit context, the industry faces a chronic staff shortage, as the country no longer attracts the amazing talent from Europe and beyond that we used to take for granted.’
He hopes that the increased starting salary will motivate more young British nationals to undertake a career in hospitality. ‘The challenge is to educate and engage Gen Z and their parents, to highlight what an amazing and rewarding industry hospitality is,’ Williams told Imbibe.
M Restaurant’s move follows a previous initiative, M-indful, launched in 2018 by its operations director Andre Mannini. Through the project, Mannini aimed to improve his staff’s mental health by entitling employees to four extra days off in addition to their contractual holiday allowance.
‘We want our team to feel their best selves, both at home and in the workplace,’ explained Mannini. ‘Our M-indful initiative has been wholly embraced by the team and we seem to be going from strength to strength.’
M Restaurants is urging the whole hospitality industry to back and follow its decision to increase starting wages. ‘As an industry, we should use the current environment as a catalyst to make hospitality an attractive option to a limited workforce,’ said Williams, ‘and change our reputation as a low-paying industry.’