London restaurant Roast has become the latest hospitality operator to pledge job opportunities to the long-term unemployed.
The Borough Market eaterie has signed up to the Local Employment Partnership agreement, under which it will be offering a guaranteed interview to local people on benefits who have the right attributes for the vacancy.
Iqbal Wahhab, the founder of Roast, admitted that his managers had never recruited from the local Jobcentre until he was told about the LEP scheme.
"We then signed up with the London Bridge Jobcentre and briefed them about the calibre of people we were after," he said.
"Now we have untapped a new pool of future Roast team members. Restaurants are often urged to source locally. Well, here's one way they can do so."
Budget hotel group Travelodge was the first hospitality employer to sign an LEP, agreeing a deal in October last year. Since then InterContinental Hotels Group, JD Wetherspoon, Compass Group, Marriott and Center Parcs have signed similar deals. Around 1,400 employers across all sectors have signed up to date.
Wahhab faced criticism over his staffing policy last December, when former employees of his restaurant company Glorious Group accused him of not paying monies due after the firm collapsed. He insisted that procedures had been put into place to pay the staff.
By Daniel Thomas
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