Eating out, coffees and cheap hotel stays to cost more

Posted by Barry Stamp in Personal Finance on 9 September 2015 - Barry is Managing Director at checkmyfile

Whitbread, one of the UK’s largest brewers, has announced that it is likely to use a combination of price increases, cost savings and productivity improvements to compensate for the increased wages bill it will incur on the implementation of the Living Wage.

The company has successfully moved its business from the very long term, slow decline in brewing incomes, with profitable diversification into the popular hotel market with Premier Inn, into the rising tide of coffee sales via Costa Coffee, and has also tapped in to the trend of us all eating out more, by developing its Beefeater, Top Table, Taybarns and Brewer’s Fayre chains.

In doing so it has spread its risk far more widely, but has also intensified its reliance on huge numbers of relatively low paid workers.

With that in mind, the announcement is a commercially sound and sensible business move. Few are likely to baulk at paying a little more for their coffee, for a still-reasonably priced hotel room, or for a meal out, if the result is ensuring that those who serve us are paid a living wage.

The Living Wage will increase by 70p to £7.20 an hour from April for workers over 25 from April 2016

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