Week 15: Villain – Caffe Nero

by Jackie_South on April 11, 2016

CafeNero_VillainThis week, coffee chain Caffe Nero receives our regular award for villainy

I have a minor confession – amongst my weaknesses arising from my ridiculously sweet tooth is the Sicilian Lemon Cheescake served by Caffe (with two ‘f’s) Nero. Frankly, if I’ve been shopping somewhere and fancy a tea afterwards, there is nothing better than a slice of that cheesecake with a cuppa.

But however sweet that cheesecake, the chain is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of the nation.

Last year, it wasn’t just their coffee beans that got roasted: even Tories slated them for not paying any tax in the UK since 2008 despite its £1.2 bn in sales over that period and profits of over £20m a year. Somehow, this UK-founded firm with a London headquarters gets its profits treated as if they are made in the Isle of Man and Luxembourg.

But sadly, Caffe Nero’s chiselling does not end there. In response to the new National so-called Living Wage which started last week, the chain stopped giving free lunchtime paninis to its staff. That is despite the fact that this so-called “Living Wage” is set £1.05 per hour less than the level recommended by the Living Wage Foundation (and £2.2o less than the London Living Wage) and the fact that the National “Living Wage” is only paid to those aged 25 or over (so excluding a lot of their baristas).

Given those tax-avoiding profits, this step is not for any real commercial reasons, this is just a disgusting form of corporate spite towards their own workforce.

So, I won’t be buying from Caffe Nero again until they both reinstate those free lunches for their under-paid staff and start paying the tax they owe the country. I hope you will join me in boycotting them.

Costa’s lemon tart might not be as great as that cheesecake, but at least it won’t leave me with that sense of guilt in my gut.

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