Pub chain pays lucrative weekly bonuses to keep bar staff

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Smart money: Clive Watson is paying bar staff lucrative bonuses to bolster recruitment and retain workers
Smart money: Clive Watson is paying bar staff lucrative bonuses to bolster recruitment and retain workers
Bartenders at a chain of upmarket pubs will be paid weekly bonuses worth as much as £3,000 a year in response to industry-wide recruitment problems.

The City Pub Group, which runs 50 pubs in the south of England and in Wales – including the popular Jam Tree in Chelsea, west London, and the renowned Brighton Beach Club, East Sussex – forked out an annual total of £750 per member of staff for the year.

The AIM-listed pub company now plans to up the ante on bar workers’ bonuses in a bid to keep members of its staff happy and in a job.

Sweet incentive 

Clive Watson, chairman of the pub group, said that staff would get weekly bonuses based on sales at the pubs they work in, which could net workers a sweet £2,000 a year, based on a 40-hour week.

Watson added he believes the “radical” bonus plans will help achieve its lofty growth ambitions.

“It’s radical for our industry,” explained Watson. 

“It has engaged our staff in the sales of the business and it is helping with recruitment and retainment.

“Unfortunately, people in our industry have focused on the minimum wage, in other words, what they can get away with.”

In conclusion, Watson explained that if a pub hits weekly sales targets, employees will be paid an addition £1 an hour, rising to £1.50 if the target is beaten by a 10th.

Impressive turnover 

In the year to 30 December 2018, the drinks-focused business raised its annual turnover by 22%​ to £45.7m, a like-for-like increase of 1.6%.

Furthermore, despite the headwinds facing the food and drinks sector, its estate has grown impressively from 33 to 50 since 2017 and Watson added he aims to have up to 70 outlets by mid-2021.

The company also saw strong trade off the back of the summer’s heatwave and World Cup, resulting in a 24% increase in sales.

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