kinka toronto

Toronto restaurant chain attempts to save jobs by cutting staff wages by 25%

All full-time employees working under one of Canada's largest Japanese restaurant brand, Kinka Family, are getting a massive cut to their monthly paycheque. 

Employees working at all Canadian locations of Kinka Izakaya, Kintori Yakitori, Kinton Ramen, JaBistro and Neo Coffee Bar will see 25 per cent docked off their salaries for the next three months, according to an e-mail sent to staff last week. 

"We will review this within the 3 months to gauge whether this will go on for longer," wrote Daiki Takane, Kinka's Vice President of Operations, in the e-mail.

"There will be no exceptions; this cut will affect all salaried employees." 

A full-time employee of a Kinton Ramen in Toronto, who asked to remain anonymous, says he was initially disappointed in the company for cutting his salary down to $3,000 from $4,000 a month, but it's better than being laid off. 

Kinka Izakaya has already temporarily closed its locations on Harbourfront, in the Annex and its Kinton Ramen at Harbourfront. They've also begun offering 30 per cent of all their food orders at remaining Kinka Izakayas, and discounts off ramen until April 19.

"The past few days, you all have worked extremely hard to keep hourly employee shifts to a minimum, cutting down food and equipment costs to a minimum, and taking on a challenging promotion," Takane said to staff.

"However, if things keep going like this, there is a high probability that we will not be able to protect everyone." 

As the food industry takes a massive hit due to measures for curbing the spread of COVID-19, both independent restaurants and big chains must shift finances around as they wait to see how Canada's massive stimulus package will affect their books. 

It's essentially become a free-for-all for businesses trying to make ends meet, from free meal giveaways to attract online orders to last-minute website developments to adjust to a sudden shift toward delivery and takeout models.

According to the Federal government, which is in the midst of rolling out a recently announced $27 billion stimulus program, it will be giving businesses wage subsidies worth 10 per cent of employees wages in order to discourage layoffs. 

Yesterday, the Canadian government also announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will give eligible Canadians $2,000 per month, for up to four months. 

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim of Kinka Izakaya

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