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Restaurant group pays staff almost £1m early through fintech app

Wagestream app enables Casual Dining Group employees to receive salary payments in advance for a small fee

Casual Dining Group has paid its staff more than £900,000 early in the two months since it signed up to a fintech app that enables workers to receive payments in advance.

The app, from Wagestream, was introduced to the company – which is behind brands such as Bella Italia and Café Rouge – to allow its 7,000 staff to take pay in advance, if required, for a small fee.

The contract is between the employer, such as Casual Dining, and Wagestream, but funds come from a bank that works with the latter.

So far, 19% of Casual Dining’s 7,000 staff have used the service, taking £902,623 in early payments. These are no interest payments, but when staff need money, they can take pay from the following month for a charge of £1.75 per transaction. Casual Dining pays Wagestream £2 per month per eligible employee.

The idea is to offer staff alternatives to payday lenders if they need to bridge a gap before payday.

Other Wagestream customers include Rentokil Initial, Hackney Council and Roadchef. Wagestream links to enterprise customer payroll systems and all payments are made to staff through the employer’s systems.

Claire Clarke, group HR director at Casual Dining Group, said staff have responded enthusiastically to the offer. “We can see this establishing itself as a key part of our offer to candidates,” she said.

“The ability to retain staff is already paying dividends for us as a business, and if we can improve recruitment and retention, then Wagestream is a no-brainer.”

Peter Briffett, CEO at Wagestream, said the feedback the company receives from private customers suggests staff are happier, more productive and have greater financial security. “The antiquated monthly pay cycle inflicts huge financial damage on household finances and its days are numbered,” he added.

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