Tom Kitchin appoints HR consultancy to investigate internal complaints

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Tom Kitchin has appointed a HR consultancy to investigate internal complaints within The Kitchin Group Following  allegations of abuse and bullying by former staff.

The chef did not confirm that the review would be published openly, promising only to take "appropriate action" where allegations "have merit."

Days after the first claims emerged, The Times spoke to a whistleblower alleging that the chef and his wife had been paying themselves and directors 20 percent of staff tips at The Scran and Scallie over the course of five years. 

The chef shared the decision to appoint "an external HR consultancy" on social media, repeating a section of his original statement, in which he said that "top kitchens the world over can be high-pressure, frenetic and challenging environments where emotions often run high. However, the exacting standards of our food and service must be matched by the standards of behaviour in our kitchens and wider operations."

Many were fast to point out in the comments that the chef failed to include an apology, or to acknowledge the allegations of abuse in his statement, decrying a lack of accountability.


A post shared by TomKitchin (@tom_kitchin)


On the matter of his pocketing tips, he said: "Historically, credit card tips and service charges have been shared between all front of house and kitchen team members, including those directors who work in the venues alongside their colleagues to create the guest experience. Directors have never participated in any share of the cash tips.

"Going forward," he continued, "all credit card and cash tips will be shared entirely between the operational front of house teams and kitchen teams." 

The chef thanked those who have offered them "heartfelt support," "from many, many members of our team, past and present, from my fellow chefs from the UK and beyond, and from our extremely loyal guests," though such apparent support does not appear to be public.

Time for a change

Though hospitality workers have been calling for a shift away from aggressive work culture for some years - due to its effects on physical and mental health, as well as being a major contributor to the staffing crisis, compounded by the hardships the industry has faced in the past fifteen months - the allegations against The Kitchin Group happened at a time of reckoning for the industry.

A recent denouncing of the "toxic culture" at Scottish brewing company BrewDog by an anonymous group of ex-employees who call themselves 'Punks with Purpose' has led it to commission an independent review of the company's internal practices, and will include the establishment of an anonymous body to report any misconduct, as well as the promise of a 3% payrise for all staff.

In response earlier today, the group said on Twitter said that "we remain skeptical yet hopeful that lasting, meaningful change will come."

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 16th July 2021

Tom Kitchin appoints HR consultancy to investigate internal complaints