Kitchin Group appoints external consultancy to 'investigate complaints' amid abuse allegations

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Tom Kitchin restaurant Group appoints external consultancy to 'investigate complaints' amid abuse allegations

Related tags: Tom kitchin, Abuse, Bullying, Sexual harassment, Staff, Allegation

Tom Kitchin's restaurant group has appointed an independent, external HR consultancy to 'investigate any complaints' made by staff, amid accusations of former employees experiencing physical abuse and harassment.

Earlier this month the Kitchin Group announced that it had suspended two senior members of staff​ following allegations published in The Times​.

The paper reported that it had spoken to 12 former employees of the Kitchin Group, who told of how they experienced sexual harassment across the restaurants or were abused, denied food, water, lavatory breaks or proper rest during shifts of up to 18 hours.

A later report also accused the chef and his wife Michaela of taking thousands of pounds from staff tips​.

On Friday (16 July), Kitchin broke his silence on the matter with a statement confirming that the group had appointed an independent HR company to probe allegations.

He confirmed that all tips will be shared entirely between the operational front of house teams and kitchen teams going forward, adding that directors of the company, including himself and his wife, had never taken a share of any cash tips.

“Top kitchens the world over can be high-pressure, frenetic and challenging environments, where emotions often run high," he said.

“However, the exacting standards of our food and service really must be matched by the standards of behaviour in our kitchens and wider operations.

“In the last few years, the feedback from our team members underlies the steps we’ve taken to improve what had often been a traditional culture in our kitchens, but we still have more to do.

“Whilst we are proud of the exacting standards we set ourselves, we have never pretended that we are perfect, and where further improvements need to be made, we will address those head-on.

“That’s why we have appointed an independent, external HR consultancy to investigate any complaints and, where they have merit, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.

“Historically, credit card tips and service charges have been shared between all front of house and kitchen team members, including those directors who work in the venues alongside their colleagues to create the guest experience. Directors have never participated in any share of cash tips. Going forward all credit card and cash tops will be shared entirely between the operational front of house teams and kitchen teams.

“During the past few weeks, I really have been enormously grateful for the heartfelt support we have received from many, many members of our team, past and present, from my fellow chefs in the UK and beyond, and from our extremely loyal guests."

The Edinburgh-based Kitchin Group operates a portfolio that includes the Michelin-starred The Kitchin restaurant in Leith; the Scran & Scallie and Southside Scran restaurants, both of which are also located in the Scottish capital; and The Bonnie Badger restaurant with rooms in Gullane.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Chef

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