The coffee and sandwich chain, a unit of Coca-Cola Co, said its starting rate will rise from 10.70 pounds ($13.42) an hour to 12 pounds an hour - ahead of the government mandated minimum wage, which will increase by 9.8% to 11.44 pounds an hour from April.

($1 = 0.7971 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by William James)