Pret a Manger is increasing pay for the second time in four months as labour shortages force up wages across the hospitality and retail industries.
The coffee shop chain said it was investing more than £9.2m in raising hourly pay from a minimum of £9.40 to £9.80, with more than 6,900 of its 8,500 staff earning at least £10 an hour. That comes after pay was put up 5% to £9.40 an hour in September.
Workers will also be able to earn an additional £1.25 an hour, based on a weekly mystery shopper assessment, up from £1.
Pret, which has 550 outlets around the world, said the changes were the biggest increase in pay and benefits in its 36-year history and were the result of its successful transformation strategy since 2020 and “the stronger position the business is now in”.
The company said in-store sales were “recovering strongly” last year and, although they had fallen since new government guidance to work from home because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, new areas of business were doing well.
The group’s subscription service, launched in September, is now used more than 1m times a week in the UK and home deliveries are also on the rise.
Pano Christou, the chief executive of Pret, said: “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.”
The boost for workers comes only five months after Pret workers threatened to go on strike after being told the company would cease paying for break times, meaning that someone on an eight-hour shift, including a legally required half-hour break, would receive a pay cut of just over 6% a shift compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Pret initially also planned to permanently halve weekly mystery shopper bonuses to 50p an hour but relented after the Guardian revealed the move, prompting a public outcry.
The increase is the latest in a string of retail and hospitality pay rises.
In September, the rival chain Costa gave its workers a 5% pay rise to £9.36 an hour while Itsu, the Asian-inspired fast food chain, increased minimum hourly pay by 11% to a minimum of £10.40 an hour.
Last week, Sainsbury’s said it would increase hourly pay by more than 5% to £10 an hour for its lowest paid shop workers. Aldi will increase minimum hourly rates for shop workers to £10.57 an hour from £9.55 nationally from February, a near 11% rise, and £11.32 in Greater London from £11.07.
Next has said it will have to put up the price of its clothing by as much as 6% this autumn as the fashion and homewares retailer expects average wages to rise by more than 5% this year.