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The Kilderkin Group - Another Breakthrough for Hospitality

Posted: 2018-08-22 14:05:59


Husband and wife, James and Jaqueline Nisbet, have recently become accredited Living Wage employers and by doing so, have demonstrated real leadership and strength within the hospitality industry. Their commitment ensures a pay raise for 25 hospitality staff across their 5 Edinburgh venues and comes at a crucial time for the industry which is looking to step away from negative stigmas surrounding low pay and working conditions. From August 2018, everyone working at Edinburgh’s famous Kilderkin, Blue Blazer, The Windsor, La Petite Mort and Bennets Bar will receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75. This rate applies to all direct employees and third-party contracted staff and is significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.83 per hour introduced in April 2018. 

Scotland’s lucrative hospitality industry is in a state of flux amid concerns over skills shortages and staff retention. At present, 67% of Scotland’s hospitality staff are paid below the real Living Wage. In Edinburgh, this amounts to around 34,000 people and across Scotland as a whole, this figure rises to around 85,000. This has fuelled an increased desire to promote the industries diverse and rewarding career opportunities in a bid to attract more talented, dedicated staff. The Kilderkin Group have committed to doing just that and owner, Jaqueline told us “There’s a sea change happening throughout the hospitality industry with a massive shift toward staff wellbeing, work-life balance and mental health. We’re committed to paying the real Living Wage to look after our employees and find dedicated staff. We’ve also started group fitness for staff which is great fun and has a positive impact on their physical and mental health. These investments in our staff allow them to do a better job and then ultimately, everyone wins.”

With a clear shift away from long hours, low pay and little in the way of work-life balance, James and Jacqueline are sending out a clear message to their current and future staff that working in the hospitality sector doesn’t have to be transient and should be regarded as a career- one in which if you put the time and training into you get rewarded for. James advised that “The real Living Wage is something we’ve spoken about since day one. We’ve always wanted to have professional bartenders that are earning enough to keep them in the trade rather than feeling as though they have to leave to find better paid work. We want our staff to have a life outside of work so that when they come in for a shift they are fresh and happy and can provide good customer service.”

Jacqueline added “We’re focussing on employee development and wellbeing, putting our staff through nationally recognised training to improve their skills and to provide a base for staying in trade long term. We always try and get staff onto tasting and practical sessions as well; it’s about trying to encourage staff to explore their passions.”

When asked what advice they would give to those looking to start out in the hospitality industry, the couple answered simultaneously “come and work for us!” Jacqueline added “don’t be afraid to get stuck in. We want people to get their teeth into the role because we started from the bottom and now own four great bars. We’ve worked hard for this and we want others to have the same opportunity.”

Living Wage Scotland are delighted to see that the Kinderkin Group are investing in their staff and making a public commitment to challenge the stigmas around the hospitality industry. It is encouraging to see employers stepping away from the ‘norm’ and we hope that their passion and courage will inspire others in the hospitality industry to follow suit.

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