PIZZA Hut, the joint venture between Whitbread and Pepsico which operates 350 restaurants and delivery units, has introduced an employee helpline for its 8,000 staff.

The company claimed its employee assistance programme was the first to be offered to staff at a high street restaurant chain.

The Person to Person scheme is already available to around 20,000 other Whitbread employees and their families on a confidential basis.

Employees will be given a card with a freephone number which they can call and discuss, with independent counsellors, personal problems relating to work or home life. Callers can discuss problems on the telephone or arrange to meet counsellors face to face.

Chris Wyche, Pizza Hut's human resources director, said the company believed "that the well-being of our employees, both in their business and personal lives, is key to the continued success of our business".

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