Bar Soba adopts Living Wage early to support 'relentless' expansion plans

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bar Soba adopts Living Wage early to support 'relentless' expansion plans

Related tags: National living wage, Minimum wage

Asian restaurant group Bar Soba is to pay its staff the National Living Wage two months early in order to support its ‘relentless’ expansion plans.

Managing director Brad Stevens said his employees were the ‘heart and soul’ of the restaurant and that the group would be unable to grow without them.

Soba is aiming to become one of the first Scottish bar and restaurant brands to expand across the UK and beyond.

The pan-Asian group launched in Glasgow in 1999 and now operates five venues across the city and in Edinburgh and Leeds.

New openings in Manchester and Liverpool are in the pipeline for 2016.

Stevens said: “My ambitions for Soba are relentless and can only be achieved with one vital ingredient. That ingredient is the ‘team’; from our kitchen porters to our general managers, our people are the heart and soul of the brand and we cannot make this happen without the commitment and desire of everyone involved.

"We want to be leaders, not followers and we want to entice, encourage and reward our people who are helping us in our quest to be a leading light in this industry.”

From 1 February all staff over the age of 25 will be paid a minimum of £7.20 per hour, a 50p rise on the current minimum rate.

Soba will also raise the wages of 'hard-working' younger team members, who will be offered a pay increase based on their experience.

Under 25’s who are new to the industry will be placed on a Training and Development plan which will allow them to achieve the pay rise before they reach 25. 

Hospitality divided

The National Living Wage will come in to force across all businesses in the UK in April.

While chains including Starbucks, Five Guys and Paul have already raised salaries ahead of the change, other hospitality businesses have been less receptive.

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has warned that the rise could put a strain on jobs​ in the already pressured pub sector, while Mitchells & Butlers said diners would 'pay the price'​ for the change with restaurants becoming more expensive to counter the rise.

How will the rising Living Wage affect hospitality?

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