The company is asking its customers to consider buying dining vouchers or credit in advance from, of which it will give 50% directly to its staff.
In an impassioned video message, co-founder Jeremy King said the initiative had become necessary because of the expected protracted period of restaurant closures as a result of the UK lockdown as well as the Government’s omission of including tronc in its Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which is having a huge detrimental impact on hospitality staff.
“Extraordinary times can sometime exacerbate unusual actions, particularly when the situation becomes serious and unprecedented such as the situation we found ourselves in currently,” says King.
He says since his restaurants were forced to close in March the company has received many messages of goodwill from customers asking about its staff and whether it will be able to keep them
“If you had asked those questions a few weeks ago my answer would have been ‘yes, I think we can’, because at that point the Government had acted quickly and introduced the Job Retention Scheme and we were able to reassure staff they were at least guaranteed 80% of salary,” he says.
However, the Government’s announcement to not include tronc in the JRS, which King describes as “like a knife that struck to the heart of the catering industry”, meaning that some staff are only receiving 40% of their earnings, has forced the company to introduce new measures of support.
“We have done all we can and have topped up wages but money is running out quickly,” he says. “With the restaurant lockdown threatening to be much longer, we can’t continue to do so otherwise we jeopardise the company’s future.”
King says the vouchers cost “nothing more than faith that we will be here in 2021, in which I’m confident”.
“Through your help we can keep majority of our staff together and be better prepared for reopening restaurants with all those familiar faces.”
“You will have to forgive me for the presumption that you will want to return to our restaurants!”