What defines great leadership in the 21st century? asks Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association…

In this post recession era, where the boundaries between our professional and personal lives are becoming blurred and technology is changing the way we speak, think and interact, the rules of work are being redefined.  What constituted success and power in the past now follows a different set of rules, and the attributes of a successful leader are changing.

What, in the 21st defines great leadership?  The BHA investigates…

  • Leaders lead, not follow.  They listen, engage and respond; they understand, not just people, but also the context of a situation or idea and the influences which are shaping people and decisions
  • Leaders do not have to be at the top of the organisational tree to wield influence.  In the hospitality and tourism sector, leaders can be found at all levels
  • Leaders work towards a cause.  Take the case of our industry, hospitality, which is defining leadership through economic growth and various campaigns and causes including:  The Cut Tourism VAT Campaign which aims at securing a 5% rate on visitor accommodation and attractions; the Visa campaign which is lobbying to (further) reduce Visa barriers for international tourists; and job creation, for example the creation of 34,000 work placements, apprenticeships and job opportunities for 16-24 year olds through the Big Hospitality Conversation.  These are just a handful of examples of real life leadership in action
  • Great leaders are not afraid to tackle the difficult issues like youth unemployment or decline in regional tourism figures.  They will listen to the issues at hand, talk to inspirational people, organisations and businesses from a wide range of sectors and find a solution
  • Leaders do not shy away from change, they embrace it.  Graeme Codrington, a leader in the changing world of work says:  “We are in the midst of what I call ‘a moment of change.’  We now find ourselves in the transition between the ‘before’ and ‘after’.  A twilight era where yesterday’s value sets are morphing and evolving into new territory.  Today’s generation of young people is the first to work in the ‘after’ world which has been shaped by a plethora of contributory factors.”  Great leaders stop and listen to information like this, and join with others. They take inspiration from others.  Most importantly, they embrace challenges, learning from change and evolution to help shape the outcome and, ultimately the future.

The BHA embraces leadership and wants the UK hospitality and tourism industry to be recognised as a world class leader. We will do this by connecting government and industry leaders to focus on securing valuable new jobs for our people, growth for our industry and competitive advantage for the UK.

What do you think defines great leadership?  Are you a great leader?  Want to be inspired? Want to help shape the future of hospitality? Hear Graeme Codrington’s keynote speech at the Hospitality & Tourism Summit 2014 on Thursday 5th June, Novotel London West.

Click Here to see the full programme and top tier speakers

Get involved and join the discussion on Twitter using #BHAsummit

Don’t miss out. Register now and be part of shaping the future for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Engagement in hospitality- a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight


Engagement in hospitality #3: Do your staff feel valued? 

People Insight has teamed up with Caterer.com for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, which were launched in March.

Our aim is that the Awards showcase the best employers in terms of their approaches to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.

Here’s our third post in a series on how to be a best employer in hospitality: do your staff feel valued?

Our thought-provoking series of blogs has already looked at how employers can stand out to engage your workforce, but this time we’re looking at whether or not your staff feel valued themselves.

Our research shows there is a huge gulf between the job managers think they are doing and the reality of their management style on the ‘shop floor’. A massive 91% of UK managers believe that they always or sometimes spend time coaching their team, but only 40% of UK employees agree.

How do you bridge that gap? Surveys carried out by People Insight in companies across the UK find only half of employees feel recognised for the work they do. So do your line managers notice the things staff have done well and praise them? They should, because one thing that comes up time and time again in organisations where engagement could be improved is how important verbal praise is to people. We all need reassurance and this has such a positive effect on their work environment if a manager is prepared to go out of their way to thank staff for their efforts.

If you think about it, verbal praise is one of the easiest things to do to demonstrate you value your employees. It’s free and doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Here’s three points to help you praise staff:

  1. Do it often – don’t wait until the annual performance review – do it right away, and do it a lot.
  1. Be specific – Instead of saying “well done”, say something like “well done on handling that customer complaint just now. It was particularly good that you resolved it quickly and sincerely without there being a scene.” It shows that you’re really attentive, and that you’re not giving praise just for the sake of giving praise.
  1. Be constructive – Add in some feedback in your praise to make your feedback less negative. For example, say something like “well done on handling that customer complaint just now, the only thing you might think of trying next time is to ask a few more questions to find out a bit more.”

Of course, while saying thank you can have a huge impact on a day-to-day basis, there are other things you can do if you want to take the praise further. If your team have coped with particularly difficult challenges then a team dinner is a nice way to register your appreciation. Indeed, think about formalising your recognition for certain contributions – instigating team awards at AGMs, or joining in with the national mood and giving staff an additional ‘Bank Holiday’ like many did for the Diamond Jubilee.

We all need praise, even at senior executive level, and it helps create a hugely positive culture in your business.

Tom Debenham, MD People Insight

For more information on People Insight, click here 

To enter the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards and find out more about your employee engagement levels, free of charge, click here

Caterer.com are taking part in the Mayfair Park & Tower Race

A team of three from Caterer.com are participating in the Mayfair Park & Tower Race on Friday 6th June 2014, to raise money and awareness for Galvin’s Chance.


Galvin’s Chance is an into work programme that provides support and training to help young people change their lives for the better through a career in the hospitality industry.

At Caterer.com we are proud of the fantastic opportunities that exist in the hospitality industry and are committed to promoting it as a great place to work. We are therefore extremely excited to be participating!


Neil Pattison, Roy Walker and Craig D’Mello from Caterer.com will be running 4.5km around Hyde Park, through the underpass on Park Lane and entering the London Hilton on Park Lane, before climbing 28 floors (475 steps). They are a competitive team and the first one to the top will NOT let the others forget their victory!

We would be delighted if you would sponsor the team and support this wonderful cause.

Galvin’s Chance is part of the Hilton in the Community Foundation. This inspirational ‘into work’ programme provides mentoring, work experience, skill training, employment and qualifications leading to NVQ Level 2 in Hospitality. It is designed to give all of the young people on the programme the skills, the support and the opportunities to start a career in the hospitality industry; to change and improve their lives for the better and to inspire those around them.

Please donate and help raise lots of money for this fantastic cause.

Recruitment levels in Pubs and Bars move beyond pre-recession levels with 33% growth in jobs

Hospitality Jobs as a whole grew 21% in Q1 2014

19 May 2014: According to Caterer.com, the UK’s largest hospitality job board, recruitment levels in the Pubs and Bars sector have moved beyond pre-recession levels last seen in 2008. In the last 12 months 13,401 jobs were advertised on the site by employers – compared with 12,000 in 2008, representing a 34% increase in the last quarter and a 33% increase year on year.

The findings are revealed in Caterer.com’s latest Hospitality Employment Index report, which also indicated a strong resurgence in jobs advertised throughout the entire hospitality sector, with 21% growth in Q1 2014, representing 34,512 jobs advertised on the site. Year on year growth was also strong, with 14% uplift in jobs advertised, equivalent to over 126,872 individual job postings.

Commenting on the findings, Ian Burke, Website Director of Caterer.com said:

“The data from our website is clearly telling a positive story and the hospitality industry as a whole has reason to be optimistic. However, despite the many encouraging indicators we need to remain focused on securing the long term viability of our industry. The war for talent is intensifying and we will continue to compete with other sectors, such as manufacturing or retail for those with the best aptitude.


“That’s why we need to keep focused on attracting young talent to the industry to avoid future skills gaps– something we’re already doing through initiatives like the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation or Springboard’s youth programmes. We must continue to work together to safeguard hospitality’s future as a sector of growth, initiative and opportunity.”

The report revealed a number of key trends over the last 12 months to Q1 2014:

Growth in Management and Higher Salaries

Caterer.com data disclosed that managerial staff represent the majority of jobs advertised in the last 12 months to 2014. The number of Assistant Manager roles available grew by 4.1% compared with last year, whilst General Manager roles increased by 3.3%, perhaps suggesting higher skilled managerial employees are moving jobs as a result of increased optimism and confidence in the market place.

In correlation, there have been more roles advertised with higher salaries than this time last year, whilst the number of lower salary roles advertised has fallen. For instance jobs advertised with salaries under £19,000 fell 18.7% year on year, whilst jobs advertised with salaries over £30,000 grew by 56.3% year on year.

Chefs in Pubs and Bars

The number of chef roles advertised within the Pubs and Bars sector has increased by 34% in the last year, suggesting a move by Pubs and Bars towards either introducing or improving their food offering in response to consumer demand for informal but high quality dining settings.

In comparison growth has been slower in the restaurant sector, with 24% growth year on year. Indeed, in 2009 for every chef advertised for a role in pubs and bars, there were six chefs advertised in restaurants. Now the ratio has fallen to 1:3.

Commenting on the state of the nation for the hospitality industry, Martin Couchman, Deputy CEO, British Hospitality Association, said:

“It is crucial that the UK hospitality and tourism industry receives recognition as the best in the world. To help us achieve this we must continue to focus on recruiting and growing the best talent, capitalising and continuing to build on the successes of the Big Hospitality Conversation. We also need to look long term, aiming to future proof our industry, continually innovating and evolving to attract and support the young people who form the backbone of our industry.”

The quarterly Hospitality Employment Index report from Caterer.com is available to download free of charge here.

Springboard’s ‘NEXT Big Event’ celebrates a night of unforgettable Brazilian Extravaganza

The evening showcased the fantastic work of the Springboard charity coupled with a night of carnival celebrations, dancing, feasting and some famous faces from the world of football. Billed as the official Charity Gala Dinner of Hotelympia 2014 the event was held at the striking Platinum Suite, ExCeL and raised an amazing amount on the night with over £85k going towards supporting the vital work of the charity.

The evening attended by over 700 guests from across the hospitality sector was kicked-off by compare Rob Palmer, a senior commentator for La Liga on Sky Sports and Springboard’s very own Anne Pierce CEO. Footballing celebrities included Ryan Giggs, interim Manchester United Manager and Arsenal Premiership footballer, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to name just a few who scored a winner with the audience.

Guests were served with a fabulous feast of food and fine wine as they enjoyed taking part in the red and yellow card game as well as being entertained by a spectacular Brazilian extravaganza of dancers, entertainers and music.

A number of Springboard beneficiaries took centre stage to talk about how the work of Springboard has changed their lives.

Stacey Haskey said: ‘’Springboard have helped me into work placements and giving me inspiration for my future. Without the help of Springboard I don’t think I would be in the place I am now in life.’’

Springboard helps young, unemployed and disadvantaged people by supporting them into life-changing and sustainable employment in hospitality, leisure and tourism. As well as working with the hospitality sector to attract talent and address skills shortages and in doing so promote the industry as a great place to work.

Commenting on the evening Springboard CEO, Anne Pierce, said:

‘’The event was a huge success. We are thrilled at the amount raised on the evening and will be using the funds to continue our work in combatting youth unemployment, supporting disadvantaged people of any age into sustainable work in our industry and helping young people achieve their potential’’.

Thank you to all our sponsors and partners who supported this event.

Click here for more information about Springboard.


Hilton Worldwide go wild in the virtual world – a post by Kathryn Porter, Divisional Resourcing Director, Hilton

At Hilton Worldwide we’re opening our doors to welcome you in and discover what makes a hotel tick and explore the world of career opportunities available.  Join us on-line on the 15th or 16th May to experience a virtual careers fair packed with live activity and an abundance of information to support your career choices.

Day 1  – 15th May 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

It’s all about understanding the different departments in a hotel that make it tick, providing an insight to make that 
initial job choice or career change.  We will provide an opportunity to visit booths, which represent the departments; kitchen, conference and events, restaurant and bar, reception, sales and maintenance where you can interact with team members who have a wealth of experience and careers advice to share with you and, are waiting to answer your questions.  If you’re ready to get started and embark on a new adventure we will also have booths providing live vacancies from across the UK and Ireland with links and contacts for you to pursue your dream job.  If that’s not enough live action, we’ll also have demonstrations and specific questions and answer sessions with professionals; a Head Chef will deliver an ‘Introduction to the kitchen’ and provide a demonstration on some basic skills, applicable to all of us!  If you fancy a dip into Mixology, we have a session on ‘Start mixing’.  We’ll also have the pleasure of introducing you to one of our Hotel Managers to share with you how a hotel gels together to deliver great guest experiences and meet our business objectives


Day 2  – 16th May 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

We’ll go exploring to uncover the career paths and development opportunities available locally, nationally and globally.  Booths will be open to share details on apprenticeships, graduate programs, work experience, internships, Hilton Worldwide and our brands.  Our demonstrations will continue with; Head Chef ‘Getting complex in the kitchen’ and our Mixologist really ‘Mixing it up’ to the next level.  We’re also proud to share with you a presentation and live discussion around our Youth Strategy.


…and if that’s not enough, our virtual careers fair also hosts even more information for you to view, download and share from inspiring video’s, informative program brochures, aspirational case studies, useful skills briefs and very tasty recipes.

Click here to register!


French Brasserie group Côte to create 600 jobs – A post by Harald Samuelsson, Joint Managing Director, Côte

French Restaurant group Côte is creating up to 600 jobs across the UK in 2014 as it continues with its ambitious expansion, following its recent announcement of a 28% increase in profits.

With 47 sites now opened throughout the UK, more locations are set to open in Kingston-upon-Thames and Manchester in March, with a further two in Wokingham and Cobham due to open their doors by the Summer. A Bishop’s Stortford site will follow towards the end of the year.

Côte, known for its “reasonably priced” bistro French cooking, has been one of the fastest growing operators in the casual dining sector over the last few years.  These latest growth plans see the launch of a major recruitment campaign, in order to add to the company’s pool of talent and fill a variety of roles, from Sous Chef and Front of House vacancies to managerial opportunities.

“It’s an exciting time for Cote, and we are looking for talented and ambitious individuals to join us on our incredible journey. As a result of our rapid expansion there are many exciting career opportunities available, and we can offer excellent opportunities for future promotion and career advancement through our Career Development Programme,” explains joint managing direct Harald Samuelsson. “The sky really is the limit in terms of career opportunities with us. We only employ the best and offer very competitive packages, as we value our team and like to reward their enthusiasm and hard work.”

News of the expansion comes as the group is looking to build on its recent success, including becoming the best performing casual dining brand on TripAdvisor, resulting in a Certificate of Excellence accolade. To qualify, Côte had to maintain an average rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by visited guests. In 2012, the restaurant was top of the inaugural Zolfo Cooper Profit Tracker, compiled with M&C Report, with profits growth over a three year period of 225%.

Harald Samuelsson further commented: “We are also looking at other sites to open in 2014, in line with our target of a minimum of 10 restaurants a year.”

For jobs at Côte, click here.

Engagement in hospitality- a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight


Engagement in hospitality #2: Do staff feel proud of your values?

People Insight has teamed up with Caterer.com for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards(www.bestemployersinhospitality.com), which were launched in March.

Our aim is that the Awards showcase the best employers in terms of their approaches to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.

Here’s our second post  in a series on how to be a best employer in hospitality: Do staff feel proud of your values?

Our research points clearly to the influence of company values, or ‘how we do things around here,’ as a clear driver of employee engagement. With the lines between work and life more blurred than ever, our identities are wrapped up in the organisations we work for.

If your workforce’s and your company’s vision are aligned, you’ll not only be on the radar for new and talented job-seekers, you’ll also hang onto them once they start.

But how can you help your staff be proud of your values in the first place?

1. Evaluate what your business stands for

At one end of the scale, staff at Prêt à Manger know that they’re helping the homeless across the UK by distributing unsold sandwiches to charities helping those who live on the streets. At the other end, Claridge’s lineage of great service and commitment to quality means they often find themselves employing successive generations of the same family .

2. Ask your staff what they think of your values

Can they articulate them, does everyone say the same thing, do they agree and are they inspired? Asking these questions will identify how clear and simple they are, how well communicated, and how effective, enabling you to take action if necessary.

3. Practice what you preach by living your values

Do your leaders demonstrate your values? Are your values reflected in the way your company operates and conducts business? Marriott Hotels is a great example by ensuring that provision of opportunities and giving people the chance to grow and succeed is part of its DNA. Its Marriott Culinary Apprentice Academy to train young people to a minimum NVQ Level 2 in culinary and guaranteeing a commis-chef position to every apprentice that completes the course is part of its hand-on-heart commitment to tackling youth unemployment.

People Insight has worked with organisations in the hospitality sector for more than 20 years and knows how important values can be. Whether it’s supporting the community, putting the customer first, or being innovative, organisations that build values into their culture can create a great place to work.

For more information on People Insight, click here www.peopleinsight.co.uk

To enter the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards and find out more about your employee engagement levels, free of charge, click here

Springboard’s Annual Fundraiser kicks-off in April

Following on from the huge success of Springboard’s ‘The First Big Event’ at Hotelympia in 2012, ‘The Next Big Event’ at Hotelympia 2014 promises to be even better – bringing you an exciting, unforgettable Brazilian Extravaganza filled with carnival celebrations, dancing, feasting and football!

Billed as the Official Charity Gala Dinner of Hotelympia, the event is a key fundraiser for the charity and promises to be a night to remember. Commenting, Louise Routh, Marketing, Communications and PR Director at Springboard, said: “The Next Big Event will be a night like no other, featuring stars of the football world, combined with spectacular entertainment, superb food and fine wines, whilst raising vital funds to support the work of The Springboard Charity.”

Tickets are available by calling 0207 921 0420, Or clicking here

Date: 29th April 2014 – 6.30pm

Venue: Platinum Suite London ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL

Ticket Prices:

Premium table for 10 – £1950 + VAT

Standard table for 10 – £1550 + VAT

Individual ticket – £160 + VAT


Hotelympia 10k 27th April – will you take on the challenge?

Get set for the hospitality industry’s biggest sporting event of 2014 – the Hotelympia 10k run.

Whether you sprint, run or walk as part of a team or a single runner, the race is a great way to get out in the fresh air, have fun and above all, help to make a difference to lives. Last year’s event saw over one thousand runners take part, and this year is set to be even bigger and better.

Held at Excel London kicking off the Hotelympia Show on April 27th 2014, the race will feature a new course, the legendary post-race brunch, and even a ‘Pasta Party’ where participants can get to know their fellow runners and stock-up on those all important carbs before taking on the 10k distance.

The event is a key fundraiser for The Springboard Charity, helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people to improve their prospects for economic well-being. Sponsors include Mondelez International, Bunzl, Hit Training, and Huhtamaki, and key partners include ExCeL London, Craft Guild of Chefs, Novotel Hotels and Fresh Montgomery and Leapfrog PR.

To register, please click here, where a suggested 8-week training programme is available.

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