Five Guys UK, the better burger chain, has moved to an £8 minimum wage for all of its crew members, MCA has learnt.

The 62-strong company said the increase builds on its “Earn As You Learn” initiative, which provides an “aggressive training package” for employees, whereby crew members can earn additional pay with every work stations they master.

John Eckbert, Five Guys UK chief executive, said: “We want our crew at Five Guys to be among the best paid in the industry. We ask so much of them. It’s a very physically demanding job, and we have the highest standards for hospitality and customer service. It’s only appropriate that their compensation matches these expectations.”

Rather than buying advertising or offering promotions, Five Guys said it had always chosen to invest in the people who work in its stores. In addition to exceeding base salary levels, the brand extends incentive compensation opportunities to every employee through its Mystery Shopper program. Every store is mystery shopped twice a week with an additional 2% of its revenues allocated to be distributed to top performing crews.

The Mystery Shopper programme accounts for an average extra £1.00 per hour worked within the company – making the real starting wage at Five Guys £9.00.

Eckbert said: “The aim of the secret shopper program is to create a sense of ownership for each employee and to reward our best marketers, the Crew, for taking ownership of what happens in the store.”

The company also said that its policy of internal promotion translated into 75% of all Five Guys Managers in the UK rising through the ranks having joined as crew members or junior managers.

Eckbert said: “Five Guys was built on a couple of very simple principals: cook perfect burgers and fries, keep our restaurants unbelievably clean, and take care of the human beings who come into our stores. The rest will take care of itself.”

Five Guys, which hopes to open a further 20 sites this year, has further openings lined up in West Central, Bournemouth; York; Liverpool One; Leeds; London’s Piccadilly, Clapham Common and South Kensington; Edinburgh; The Mall, Wood Green; Oxford and Croydon.