This restaurant increases its employees’ salaries to keep up with inflation, here is the president’s recipe – Edition du soir Ouest-France

Wednesday 28 September 2022


Correspondence in Narbonne, by Henri Frasque

Requested by the CGT leader, the president of Grands Buffets de Narbonne (Aude) did it: The restaurant owner will align the salaries of its 210 employees in October 2022 with the cost of living. labeled for inflation? Once again, raise the prices of meals for customers.

(Map: Western France)

“Hello, can I help you?” All smiles, Aurore, 24, a buffet hostess, welcomes customers who gather around a sumptuous array of dishes and appetizers. Welcome to the Grands Buffets de Narbonne, in Aude, a local establishment, which prepares about 1,000 wraps each day, reserved weeks in advance by customers who sometimes come from very far away to spend time in this extraordinary restaurant: of great cuisine in abundance, For the price of one (47.90 €), it is served by an army of qualified and diverse staff.

Like Aurore, who smiles more because her salary here has nothing to do with that of her previous jobs: “Last time, I won 1,200 euros. I already paid 1,600 euros a month, but that was working 16 hours a day!” A young woman here earns 2,000 euros a month for 40 hours a week. A net income that will increase even more, since the director and founder of Les Grands Buffets, Louis Privat, unilaterally decided to index the salaries of his 210 employees to the cost of living: more 7 to 8% of 1Verse October 2022 according to the INCI index ». with a review item “every six months”.

Aurore, a buffet host, paid €2,000 for 40 hours a week. (Photo: Quest France)

The price of a meal has increased by 10 euros in less than a year

The recipe for this 69-year-old former accountant? Increase the price of the meal, which will go from 47.90 € to 52.90 € from 1Verse October. “The public must agree to pay the right price in order to get a good service,” He pleads with the entrepreneur with a singing accent.

Won’t customers be late because of its high prices? “Others will come to try the product. Exempting the public from the cost of economic abuse of the collaborator, it cannot work.”

In the name of principle he says he has applied it since opening his restaurant in 1989: “Zero loss in purchasing power of employees”, The Grands Buffets boss already increased his staff by 30% at the start of the year. At that time, by using profit sharing instead of Across salary increases. The price of the first increase in the price of the meal is 5 euros. Conclusion: the tables are not stripped. Les Grands Buffets will easily exceed €20 million in turnover in 2022, with 363,000 customers.

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Staff representatives who did not request these increases are pleased. “Many employees have been able to get a loan, change cars or go on vacation more easily,” Rejoices Olivier Quelud, pastry chef and elected employee, who praises the quality “a dialogue” In the company and its many benefits: three consecutive days off for occupations that do not work on continuous days, generous support during the Covid lockdown, efforts in the work environment, etc. “The threshold of requirements is high, but the employees are well treated”, Welcome the employee.

These high salaries have attracted 1,500 candidates to the company this year, for nearly fifty vacancies! Unlike the sector, which struggles to find employment.

The discount only benefits the customer.

Thierry Denau, head of Aude’s Department of Hotel Professions and Industries, praised the salary increases. But he points out that not all restaurants have such large quantities, and therefore cannot afford to increase their prices like Les Grands Buffets: “With the price of raw materials and energy rising, the PGE (the state-guaranteed loan) to be repaid, at some point, we can no longer. We cannot increase prices indefinitely. For small restaurants, the competition is very tough.”

Louis Privat, does not believe in anything: “ I totally reject the idea that it’s about folders. We have to get out of the above-ground price spiral altogether! The discount benefits the customer and he alone. It’s better to do a good job and be priced right than to do a bad job at offering a discount. » I’m not sure all of his colleagues have the same opinion…

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