I’ve had an idea. I’m far from an exemplar of business acumen, but hear me out.
So the London Living Wage is £9.40. But the sad truth is that most bar staff don’t get anything close to that amount of money. Night clubs in particular, with the most unsociable and longest hours are probably the worst off. Brixton Jamm is currently advertising on facebook for bar staff to work until 6am for the amazing rate of £7.50 per hour. I have emailed them these thoughts and I’m looking forward to writing a blog post later this week about their response.
People are queuing up to work for less because times are hard, particularly since the relaxing of employment laws by successive governments puts the ball firmly in your bosses court.
HERE IS ANOTHER KICKER FOR YOU. Having been knocking around the bar industry for a while I can tell you that getting paid about £7.50 for a bar job in a club was average even back in the late 90’s. BUT the prices of shit has increased since then. So what does this mean for your dollar in REAL TERMS?
WELL, £7.50 per hour in 1998, according to this retro wage calculator is actually worth £12.20 per hour today. But because the average bar wage hasn’t gone up by much at all since then this means that earning £7.50 today is actually a wage cut relative to earning the same in 1998. Being paid £7.50 now is the equivalent of being paid £4.61 in 1998. Simply put, this means you can buy far less for your bar job pay cheque than you could back then.
SO HERE IS MY IDEA. Tomorrow, go to your bar job with this sum in mind…
(Please click the text and then take a moment to digest the figures below)
It costs £750 to employ 10 people for 10 hours at £7.50. It costs an extra £190 to pay those 10 people the London living wage of £9.40. If a bar sells 1000 drinks during the shift, and you added £0.19 to each of those drinks, it would raise £190 and therefore cover the wage rise for all the staff.
It’s scalable too. So if 2 staff work in a bar, and they sell 200 drinks, the cost per drink is still 19p per drink. I would suggest taking an average over the course of the month, or better yet the year, to really find out how many drinks your bar would sell, to get the most accurate figure possible. You may earn £8, in which case if you sold 100 drinks in a night the cost to the customer would be 11.5p. Do the the sum for your bar, count how many drinks you make, it’s always good to have details here.
Tell your colleagues about the sum. Discuss it. Start asking the customers, ‘Hey, would you mind an extra 19p / 7p / 10p on your drink if it meant I got the London Living Wage. I know what they will say. Then, tell your boss the idea. Your boss will first try and shoot you down. Be resilient. As a rule, ignore the first 4 times they say No. Ask them in front of customers.
Wait for the real response once they understand that you wont be fobbed off. Tell them you asked customers and they seem positive. Write down their issues with the idea. And LET ME KNOW HOW YOU GET ON. Email me at Thesecretbartender1@gmail.com and we will try and work it out.
1) Understand this sum.
2) Tell your workmates.
3) Ask customers their thoughts.
4) Tell your boss what you think.
5) Email me the results.
ONE MORE THING. If you earn the London Living Wage or above already, then back up your colleagues that don’t.