Michel Roux is seemingly in the middle of his own kitchen nightmare following revelations that current and former chefs at his Michelin-starred restaurant in London, Le Gavroche, have been receiving less than the minimum wage. According to the Guardian, kitchen staff have been earning as little as £5.50 per hour and are working up to 68 hours a week.
In response to the exposé, Mr Roux has now written to staff apologising and agreeing to make up any shortfall in pay. Whilst this move has been widely praised, it highlights the wider problem of underpayment of the national minimum wage in the restaurant industry.
The national minimum wage is enforced by HMRC who can carry out inspections at any time. There are a range of sanctions they could impose including issuing a notice of underpayment, naming and shaming employers, various civil penalties and even criminal prosecution. One MP has called on Theresa May to ask HMRC to identify all staff who were underpaid and to order Le Gavroche to repay them. If she were to do so that would send a strong message to other restaurant owners across the country and hopefully encourage them to get their house in order.
Michel Roux to give thousands in back pay to Le Gavroche chefs