COOK has been a certified Living Wage employer since July 2015. That means that everyone working in our kitchens and company-owned shops is paid at least the Living Wage (which is significantly higher than the minimum wage set by Westminster). Only a few retailers and manufacturers have made this commitment and been certified by the Living Wage Foundation so, as we happen to be both, that makes us pretty unusual.
So why are we doing it?
Since the beginning, our purpose has always been to create a remarkable food business that’s a force for good in society. So it goes without saying that we think if you work, at the very least you should be paid enough for you to live without having to depend on state handouts. We have always paid well above the minimum wage, but after 18 years of sometimes precarious existence, we finally found ourselves on firmer ground financially and making a decent profit. Most of that money is ploughed back into the business and what’s left over is available to be paid as dividends to shareholders. But, given our purpose, we felt it would be inappropriate for shareholders to receive a dividend if any of our staff were being paid less than the Living Wage, as certified by an independent body. As well as our Living Wage certification, we also run a profit-share scheme for every member of staff after one year’s service, so our success is shared. And, for any team member going through a really touch patch, financially, we also run a hardship fund.
The Living Wage is calculated each year by The Living Wage Foundation, a completely independent body. It takes into account all the costs of living and its hourly rate is adjusted annually. We’ve found that the more we take care of our people, the more they take care of COOK, and so we urge other companies in a position to make this commitment to join the growing ranks of employers that pay the Living Wage.
If you’d like to be part of our team, check out our Jobs page here for a list of current vacancies.