MasterChef star Dean Banks is to trial a four-day working week in top Edinburgh restaurant

Leading chef and restaurateur Dean Banks is planning to introduce a four-day working week at Pompadour in the capital’s five-star Caledonian Hotel.

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From October, Pompadour will open for lunch on the weekend, which is something the restaurant hasn’t done before, and close on Wednesdays. The concept of the four-day working week is to work one day less than the typical five, but with no reduction in salary. The idea is aimed at helping avoid staff burning out, reducing stress and symptoms of overworking particularly following the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Banks outside 1 Golf Place in St Andrews which he is crowdfunding to to re-open as Haar.

After researching working patters and their effects on the mental health of staff, Banks is convinced a four-day week can increase productivity as well as the contentment of workers.

He said: “There has been a lot of bad press on the hospitality industry recently and we want to bring a positive light onto it and encourage people to work in hospitality. We also want to give back to people in the industry and entice young people on board to have a career in the industry.

“We may take a small hit on the business if we are open less, but we want to drive the business forward this way and also just lead the industry in the right direction, I think this could potentially be what could do that. This line of work is known for long hours and a lot of hard work, hot kitchens, etc. but we want to try and make this a better and fair work life balance.”


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Fine dining: The luxury interior at Banks' Pompadour in the Caledonian Hotel

Banks, a 2018 MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, added: “Initially coming out of lockdown we had less table numbers and early finishes which were detrimental to the business especially when we had just opened, but now that we are relaxed it is a bit better, so hopefully it won’t change again as that is quite a worry.

“Basically, after lockdown the industry is definitely different, and I feel that the staff situation has changed as everyone is massively short on hospitality staff. We’ve been focusing on the wellbeing of staff since coming out of lockdown as a lot of people have been struggling all over the UK with mental health problems, I wish I could help everyone but we’re trying to help who we can through the business.”

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