Le Gavroche to cut opening hours following investigation

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Le Gavroche to cut opening hours following investigation

Related tags Le gavroche Minimum wage

Michel Roux Jr’s restaurant Le Gavroche is to further reduce its opening hours after several former employees claimed they were paid less than minimum wage.

A recent newspaper investigation​ revealed that some staff earnings were as low as £5.50 per hour – less than the £7.20 National Living Wage - for shifts sometimes exceeding 14 hours.

Several former employees told The Guardian​ that they worked over 60 hours a week at the restaurant on salaries of around £19,000 per year, which worked out at less than £6 an hour.

A spokeswoman for Le Gavroche admitted a recent review had found some staff were working ‘longer hours than expected’.

But the restaurant told BigHospitality it would be reducing working hours and had raised salaries to equal or exceed minimum wage ‘with immediate effect’.

“Michel Roux Jr has stated that it is his continued stance to reduce the number of hours that front-of-house, chefs and kitchen staff work,” a spokeswoman said.

Reduced opening

Earlier this year Le Gavroche began closing on Monday, Sunday and Saturday lunchtime​ in order to improve staff work-life balance, citing employee welfare as being central to its success.

But it has announced that by March 2017 maximum working hours will be cut to 50 hours a week for all staff, while salaries will remain the same.

The restaurant will begin closing for lunch on Tuesdays, and take last orders for dinner at 9.30pm.

“Le Gavroche will again lead the industry with its future plans, which will be implemented by next March to increase even further the amount of time off enjoyed by all restaurant employees,” a spokeswoman said.

The restaurant also denied claims that staff did not receive a cut of the tips.

“All Le Gavroche staff, front-of-house and kitchen, share in the 13 per cent discretionary service charge,” it said.

A number of Michelin chefs have cut their opening hours in the last few years in order to reduce the pressure on staff.

James Close of The Raby Hunt scrapped weekday lunch service last year​ after the workload became ‘demotivating’ for staff, while Sat Bains has switched his Nottingham restaurant to a four-day week.

Le Gavroche said reducing opening hours would 'improve the working conditions for all staff members'.

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