Corporate Governance


Modern Slavery Statement

As a responsible restaurant chain, Big Table Group is committed to ensuring that our supply chain and within our own operations, we take a robust stance in the prevention of slavery and human trafficking. We continue to work with our suppliers to strengthen our supply chain due diligence in social, environmental and ethical standards whilst recognising that many may need practical help and support in implementing these.

BTG’s Modern Slavery statement sets out the steps we have taken in understanding all potential risks, ensuring that these are addressed to support our objective of zero tolerance to slavery and human trafficking in all our business activities both in the UK and overseas.

Structure and Supply Chains

Big Table Group is one of the leading independent restaurant companies in the UK employing over 4,000 people and serving millions of meals at around 150 locations.It is a parent business to three main operating companies: Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge.

We have a centralised Procurement team who work with around 100 suppliers and with them we have established strong relationships based on mutual trust and transparency.

We use Authenticate, an industry leading supply chain mapping tool to understand our ingredient sourcing and our exposure in different countries. In 2020, we identified our high-risk countries as; Thailand, India, Italy, Spain and UK.

Our aim is to build best practice supply chain assurance that is resilient to any potential risks and supports us to be vigilant in all parts of our business. To this end, we require our direct suppliers to work closely with all their supply chain partners including raw material producers, distributors, wholesalers and agents to meet this aim.

Policies

Ethical Trading
All direct suppliers and their supply chain partners must comply with all EU and UK legislation relating to ethical trading and worker welfare as a minimum. These include the following:

  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977
  • The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) whose Base Code is drawn from the scope and standards defined by the UN and ILO.

Where applicable i.e. companies that have a turnover of £36 million or more, they should also demonstrate their own compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

In addition to this, BTG has its own Ethical Trading Policy that sets out company policies and practices to ensure our business and supply chain practices are free from slavery and human trafficking far as possible.

Our policy covers 14 key principles that reflect those in the ETI Base Code including: prohibition of slavery and human trafficking, safe and hygienic working conditions and payment of a fair wage. All direct suppliers are required to show compliance with this Policy and to provide evidence of continuous improvement in worker welfare.

Suppliers must have their own Codes of Conduct, ethical trading policies and management systems to demonstrate their approach to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking.

All first-tier suppliers are required to be Sedex members and to provide due diligence on ethical trading including self-assessment, third party audits and corrective action of non-compliances on request from BTG. BTG is also a Sedex member that allows us to access information on suppliers including latest audits undertaken and corrective action reports at any given time.

Monitoring and Reporting
BTG will continue to work with our suppliers to share responsibility with them on modern slavery and worker welfare issues in our supply chain.

Day to day responsibility for monitoring of suppliers’ audits and self-assessments through Sedex lies with our Technical Manager together with quarterly reviews which are conducted on overall progress and compliance of our policies with Authenticate.

Next Steps for 2022
A section will be included in Authenticate in line with our compliance to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and this is a supplier questionnaire, the purpose of which is to:

Continue to raise awareness across our supplier base, particularly new suppliers, about the Modern Slavery Act and their compliance requirements.

To update our risk mapping of new and existing suppliers according to product category and source location and to extend this to all first-tier suppliers including Property and Marketing.

To request that our suppliers confirm their own compliance to the Modern Slavery Act and their cooperation if any slavery and human trafficking incidents are found in their supply chains.

We will use Authenticate to report on how effective we have been to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our business including key performance indicators (KPIs) as follows:

  • % of suppliers who have been audited against ethical trading requirements.
  • % of suppliers approved.
  • % of suppliers who have had to adopt corrective action for any legislative or company requirements.

We will provide refresher training to our Procurement, Marketing and Property colleagues to raise awareness to Modern Slavery as part of their sourcing responsibilities.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54 (1) “Transparency in Supply Chains’ clause of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes BTG’s modern slavery and human trafficking statement and will be reviewed and updated annually.

Signed

Alan Morgan CEO, The Big Table Group Limited

Tax Strategy

Introduction

The tax strategy in Big Table Group Group Limited and all subsidiary companies (“BTG” and “the Company”) has been agreed and approved by the Board of Directors. BTG is a UK registered trading company and pays its tax in the UK. BTG is committed to doing business responsibly and takes all matters including those involving tax seriously. BTG ensures that all areas relating to taxation are continually reviewed throughout each year.

Approach to Tax Compliance Reporting and Tax Planning

Tax compliance and reporting is of high priority across the Company. Internal and external deadlines and processes are monitored and reviewed to ensure compliance.

BTG complies with all UK taxation rules and regulations. The Company utilises reliefs, deductions and allowances in line with UK rules and regulations.

Risk Management and Governance Arrangements

BTG employs a dedicated internal tax resource to manage its fiscal obligations as well as professional external advisers. The Board, senior management team and senior accounting officers are updated across the year in relation to all aspects of taxation and formal reporting deadlines. All external audits are adhered to.

Risk Acceptance

BTG monitors risk across the year and takes all necessary steps to ensure compliance with UK regulations. Formal procedures are entered into with HMRC where appropriate.

BTG’s Relationship with HMRC

BTG engages fully in annual business reviews and is committed to maintaining an open, honest and constructive dialogue with HMRC. When submitting tax returns to HMRC, BTG is committed to providing a full relevant disclosure and to file within statutory deadlines. When corresponding with HMRC, BTG commits to responding in a timely manner on a clear basis. BTG will work together with HMRC to resolve any disputed is a timely and transparent manner.

Gender Pay Gap

The Big Table Group Gender Pay Report – Based on relevant pay period snapshot April 2021

We are a relevant employer required by law to carry out Gender Pay Reporting under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. This involves carrying out six calculations that show the difference between the average earnings of men and women in our organisation, as at the 5th April 2021 snapshot date, it will not include publishing individual employee’s data in a way that is identifiable.

Detailed below are the metrics that we are required to report, however, when looking at the figures and reading the commentary it should be noted that although The Big Table Group employs nearly 3500 people, the mean and median pay rates for this year are based only on the 116 people who were working at the reporting date and not on either full or flexi furlough. This has resulted in some very skewed results as explained in the commentary.


PAY RATE MALE FEMALE GAP %
Mean £28.96 £19.05 34.2%
Median £9.00 £8.98 0.3%
Pay Rates reported are for Full-Pay Relevant Employees** in the Relevant Pay Period***
BONUS RATE
Mean £39,000 No data No data
Median £39,000 No data No data
Bonus Amounts reported are for all Relevant Employees**** who received a bonus in the Relevant Bonus Period*****
QUARTILE PAY BAND
Lower 39% 61%
Lower Middle 62% 38%
Upper Middle 52% 48%
Upper 53% 47%
Quartile Pay Bands reported are based on Pay Rates of Full-Pay Relevant Employees in the Relevant Pay Period
PAID BONUS
Total Employees Paid 1,825 1,646
# Paid Bonus 1 No data
% Paid Bonus 0.1% No data
% Paid Bonus shows proportion of Relevant Employees who received a bonus in the Relevant Bonus Period

Pay Rate* total amount paid (ordinary pay + bonus pay), in the relevant pay period, converted to an hourly rate
Full-Pay Relevant Employees** any employee who is employed on the snapshot date and who is paid their usual full basic pay (or pay for piecework) during the relevant pay period
Relevant Pay Period*** the pay period within which the snapshot date (April 5) falls
Relevant Employees**** all employees employed by the employer on the snapshot date of a given year
Relevant Bonus Period***** is a twelve month period that ends on the snapshot date



Reporting on our gender pay gap allows us to gain a greater awareness of the causes of the gap in pay between men and women, as well as identifying issues that may contribute to this gap. It is important to remember that having a gap in pay between males and females does not necessarily indicate that discrimination is currently happening in the workplace – there could be a number of reasons for this, from past social developments to changing attitudes towards work. Nonetheless, we are committed to taking action to close the gap, irrespective of the reasons for it.

We use market pay rates for our restaurant based roles which ensures that our teams pay reflects the relevant skills and knowledge that are required to perform that role, not based on gender. Women are well represented in both our senior leadership and restaurant management teams.

The reporting for this period was significantly affected by the introduction of the Covid 19 Furlough scheme in March 2020, and in November 2020 the introduction of Flexible Furlough. The majority of The Big Table Group restaurants had at least one period of closure during 2020/21 and even when they re-opened, either for in house dining or delivery, many of the restaurant teams either remained on furlough or worked reduced hours under the flexible furlough scheme.

Many of the people who were working full time at the reporting period of 5th April 2021 tended to be the senior team either in the Support Centre or Field Operations. This has resulted in a significant increase in the mean hourly pay rate.

3471 relevant employees were employed by The Big Table Group on the 5th April 2021. Other than 116 employees who were on full pay on this date the remainder were on either full or flexi- furlough leave, SSP or some other statutory paid leave. All relevant employees are included in the breakdown of males and females by pay quartile and bonus calculation but only the full pay employees have been used for the mean and median calculations shown in the report.

The Big Table Group are reporting for the first time as a newly formed Company, however, the mean gap of 34% is much higher than we would normally expect to see in the hospitality industry and will be driven largely by the impact of the senior management team on the full pay population, specifically the 4 highest paid employees who are all male.

The median pay gap is 0.3% with the median pay for the 56 females only 2p per hour less than their 60 male counterparts in the full pay group.

Looking at all relevant employees there are 22% more females (61% vs 39% males) in the lowest quartile pay band, however, more of the front of house waiting team are females and their tips (cash and Tronc) are not included in the calculation. The lower middle quartile has more males (62% vs 38% female) and this will be predominantly kitchen team employees who command a higher market pay rate but have fewer tips. The proportion of males and females in the 2 higher pay bands which are restaurant management and support centre roles are much more equal.

Due to the impact of Covid19 on the performance of the restaurants there was no performance bonus paid in the 2020/21 financial year. There was only one bonus payment made which was a long standing contractual retention bonus for a senior male employee.

At Big Table Group we value diversity and inclusion as a core part of our business. We are proud to say that everyone is welcome at Big Table. Every person has an opportunity to grow and develop their careers with us, and we place great importance on treating one another equally and paying people fairly for the role they perform, regardless of their gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status (including civil partnerships), race or ethnic origin, disability, part-time or fixed term working, and trade union membership.

Tipping and Service

All customer cash tips and service charges are kept by restaurant employees in full.

When tips or service charge are paid for by a credit card or debit card, this is distributed in full to our employees. These arrangements are agreed by the teams locally through an independent Tronc system and are paid in full in addition to National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. We don’t charge any admin fees or make any other company deductions.

Any tips paid in cash are retained by the individual waiter. They may or may not have arrangements in place to share these tips with other employees in the restaurant and staff in the restaurant kitchen. It is the responsibility of those receiving cash tips to declare the income for tax purposes to HM Revenue & Customs. The company does not participate in any aspect of cash tips. The Big Table Group and all of its restaurant businesses fully support the UK Hospitality (UKH) voluntary code of best practice on service charges and tips. More details of this code can be found on the UKH website.

In addition to tips, our employees benefit from 50% Employee Discount across all The Big Table Group Brands on food and drink, Team Meals whilst on duty, savings on 100's of retailers and activities through our Employee Advantages Scheme, along with numerous incentives for our teams to get involved in.

Director Duties

The Companies Act 2006 requires the directors of a company to act in the way that they consider, in good faith, would most likely promote the success of the company for the benefit of its shareholders and in doing so the Director must have regard, amongst other matters, to the:

  • likely consequences of any decisions in the long term;
  • interests of the company’s employees;
  • need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers & others;
  • impact of the company’s operations on the community and environment;
  • company’s reputation for high standards of business conduct;
  • need to act fairly between members of the company.

The Directors have significant experience working in multi-site leisure & hospitality businesses and bring this experience to the day-to-day management of the group. With the support of the wider Management Team, all decisions are made with strong insights & forward-looking considerations to ensure benefit to the group and the wider stakeholders.
The following is an overview of how the directors have fulfilled their duties with each main stakeholder group:

Our Team Members

Our team is key to the success of our business and their health and wellbeing are primary considerations in all the decisions that we make.
On a day-to-day basis we provide induction, training, and ongoing development to build and develop skills, confidence, and career opportunities. We have a dedicated team that is focused on recruitment, learning and development and we use a range of on-line and at-work programmes. Our programmes range from apprenticeships to degree courses. The business and our team actively engage via the Workplace application enabling learning, celebrations, & communications, bringing our team across the country together.
Given the impact of Covid-19 we have also ensured the safety of our team during trading as well as the support of the team during lockdown and furlough. It has been a challenging period for our Teams and we both appreciate their support and their ongoing commitments to the business and our guests.
We truly believe in celebrating the differences in our workplace and are guided by our key message of diversity:
“At The Big Table there is a place for everyone. Take your place, share your experiences and let’s celebrate the differences we all bring every day”.

Our Guests

Our mission is “to give all our guests a great time every time”.
By understanding our guest, their experience, and their feedback we can continuously improve on the brand proposition and the value equation. We use Feed It Back and similar tools to measure and gauge guest scores by site as well as gathering qualitative insights to improve the guest experience. Our team actively engage with our guest base, and we consider our guest in the development of our menu offer, our environment and the wider ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations that we know are important to them.

Our Suppliers

Our supplier base is wide, and our Procurement Team proactively work with our suppliers as partners to unlock opportunities and address challenges. The UK wide disruption to supply chain during 2021 required even closer collaboration with our supply partners, which in most cases has strengthened the relationships and provided new opportunities.

Our Shareholders

The Directors ensure that both investor & management shareholders are kept informed of key decisions and other material factors that impact the group. Board meetings of the parent company are regularly held across the year, with papers provided in advance for review and discussion. Refer to the Corporate Governance Report for further particulars.

The Community and the Environment

Our group has an important role in contributing to the wider community. The group proactively considers ESG with a practical, purpose-led plan that delivers tangible, quantifiable, and sustained outcomes. Our primary pillars are Planet, People & Product, and the ESG Committee representing a range of stakeholders across the business meets regularly across the year. “Planet” areas of focus include responsible sourcing, animal welfare, ethical trading, carbon footprint reduction, waste management and water reduction. “People” includes focus areas such as apprenticeships, diversity & inclusion, compliance with modern slavery act, charity, staff engagement & wider team and community interests. “Product” focus areas include provenance & authenticity, hygiene, calorie labelling, plant-based foods, and allergen management. This is an example of the wider ESG activities. ESG is important to our team, our guests and our shareholders and is a key consideration in our decision making. Key decisions during the period included acquisition of the sites from CDG, responding to the government restrictions and their impact on trading, the reopening of restaurants, our investment in the estate and decisions impacting our team both during lockdown and during the period of trading. The Directors made these decisions with appropriate insights and in consideration of forward-looking factors, for the benefit of the company, the group, and the wider stakeholders.

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