Hiring, retaining and training good quality staff is one of the biggest challenges facing any hospitality business especially when workers are looking for a place to work with good vibes, schedule flexibility, and variety of work tasks.
In the big London food fight that happens to keep and hire the best staff the main battleground is how much they get paid.
As we've highlighted before keeping staff for a decent period of time is getting harder, not always down to pay, but when even a £0.10p an hour pay rise only just keeps you track with UK inflation, it 's understandable why workers leave for a better wage.
We sampled job ad data from over 100 restaurants and bars in the Greater London area to see what the average pay is in for Kitchen Porters, Commis, Chef de Partie, and general front of house roles.
Surprisingly of the surveyed businesses advertised jobs only 19% gave KPs a share of the service charge (or tips or tronc), compared to 28% of their Front of House colleagues.
This number seems low in an industry where 'topping up' wages with tips has always been seen as the norm, the practice was behind abused so much the government got involved in 2016 to make it fairer for all.
What do the numbers say?
Happy to say on average we're seeing everyone earning more then National Minimum Wage!
In the competitive labour market that is hospitality around 20% of roles advertised will also get a share of tips or tronc. With many also getting benefits such as meals on shift, pensions, and other perks, to compensate for the unsociable and long hours.
Given the pressure the industry is under (see the recent closures at Jaimie's Italian & Byron Burgers as examples), clearly the only way to accommodate a rise in wages will be to pass on some of that increased cost to the customer.
Understandably so, we have seen clients hesitant to do this.
Could we as an industry be more brave, however? If clients seem willing to pay more for a sustainably sourced piece of fish, wouldn't they be willing to pay more for a sustainably paid chef?
The data for the chart above came from analysis of jobs advertised on popular job boards such as Gumtree, Job Today, Indeed and was targeted to include London-based businesses.