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 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 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

To enter the 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.

Young people sparkle at The Housekeeping Careers Festival held at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham

On Wednesday 9th April the Hyatt Regency Birmingham hosted ‘A Day to Sparkle’, part of The Housekeeping Careers Festival, a national careers campaign led by The Springboard Charity, to inspire, educate and change perceptions of careers and job opportunities within housekeeping and accommodation professions.

As part of the festival, 80 students from local schools and colleges attended the Hyatt Regency to take part in a number of activities including, presentations, have-a-go sessions and skills challenges. The young people also enjoyed a tour of the hotel, listening to inspiring talks from those currently working in this profession.

There was also a grand unveiling of a ‘giant’ pillowcase (17m x 17m) which has been created by leading textile service business, Berendsen, to mark the day. Students placed their pledges and comments onto the pillowcase.

Commenting, Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard, said: “The festival is a celebration of the dedication, hard work of the people that make up 2.5 million of UK work force and demonstrates the values of the profession with the range of activities at the  event.’’

The event was sponsored by ISS, with activities taking place on the day arranged by ISS, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Apex Hotels, Park Plaza Hotels and Hand Picked Hotels. The UK Housekeepers Association (UKHA) is a supporter of the festival.

For more information, click here.


Young people can provide the talent hospitality employers need right now…and they are already judging you as a potential employer!

Last week, 80 hospitality employers and recruiters from all sectors attended an employer event 
hosted by leading hospitality recruitment website, The event focused on the future talent needs of the sector and encouraged hospitality employers to engage with the huge talent pool of young people in the UK to meet those needs.

Speakers, including employers Mitchells & Butlers and Nestle, gave direct examples of how they have successfully engaged with young people and are now reaping the benefits of lower turnover and higher engagement levels.


The breakfast session, held on 3rd April at the Charlotte Street Hotel, included delegates from Jumeriah Group, Nobu, Ascot, Park Plaza Hotels, Jamie Oliver Group, Marston’s Gordon Ramsay Group, The London Edition and Compass.

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of The British Hospitality Association opened the event, comparing the ongoing creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs in hospitality to the current youth unemployment figure of almost 1 million. Ufi urged each employer to offer young people apprenticeships and help meet the sector’s ever growing need for candidates.

This sentiment was echoed later in the session by Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard, who outlined how youth engagement schemes such as FutureChef and National Waiters’ Day benefit employers and young job seekers alike, feeding great new talent into the sector in key skills shortages areas. She also highlighted the importance of high quality work experience as the key to attracting future talent and urged employers to become Inspire accredited.


Darren Goodenough, Educations & Skills Manager at Mitchells & Butlers explained how they have provided their own solution to the skills shortage through their apprenticeship scheme, working closely with schools to feed candidates into their business across the UK. This has allowed Darren to develop a pool of potential talent before the recruitment process has even begun and also means he recruits young people with the skills and behaviours required. The results for the business include higher retention rates, higher engagement scores and lower recruitment costs – an appealing prospect for any employer.


Fiona Miller, Academy Manager from Nestle outlined how the Nestle Academy was developed to develop a strong talent pipeline for their business, tackle high staff turnover at entry level and address the poor reputation the food and drinks sector had as an employer of young people. The success of the Academy has meant a more developed talent pipeline, better diversity in the business and a higher employee engagement score for Nestle.



Tom Debenham, Managing Director of employee engagement experts People Insight, closed the event with a look at the characteristics of young people and millenials in particular, suggesting that employers should consciously adjust their approach to engage them. In particular, Tom illustrated how young candidates share information online and that this includes their opinion of employers. Employer reputation is extremely important, particularly to millenials and now any potential candidate can see online how prospective employers are rated through sites such as Glassdoor. As part of their work to develop their employer brand reputation, Tom encouraged employers to enter the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards which are free to enter and are judged by employee responses alone.

The common theme across the event was that a significant part of the hospitality industry’s huge need for candidates could be met by engaging with young people. For employers who adjust their approach to reach out to them, the benefits in terms of talent pipelines, lower turnover, high engagement scores and lower related costs will be considerable.

Careers in Hospitality to Offer New Inspiration

Some of the biggest prospective employers in hospitality are set to join forces with respected industry professionals and recruiters when Hotelympia’s dedicated careers fair, Careers in Hospitality, returns to London’s ExCeL this April (28th-29th). 

Hospitality big hitters including Premier Inn, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Holiday Inn Four Pillars Hotel Group and the Royal Air Force will be on hand with vacancies to fill and advice for budding employees.

It doesn’t matter what stage of the ladder you’re on – Careers in Hospitality is relevant to anyone seeking fresh impetus and new challenges, offering the perfect platform to take advantage of independent careers advice, and benefit from a programme of inspirational FREE seminars presented by Springboard, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and the UK Housekeeping Association.

Just some of the highlights for the two-day spectacle include; Chief Executive of The Clink Charity, Chris Moore, discussing second chances in hospitality; and a culinary battle with a difference pitting Sara Edwards, HR Director of Tragus Group against Babylon Roof Gardens’ Peter Avis.

Marcus Kilvington, founder of and Customer Experience Director at, Anne Blackburn, will be discussing the best way to deal with staffing problems, while returning Hot Talent April Partridge will be imparting her experiences of two whirlwind years since being crowned as Hotelympia’s ‘one to watch’.

The young chef will also be hosting a very special event on the main Stage on Monday 28th April, bringing together influential industry leaders from the top hospitality businesses with young people to stimulate dialogue on employability skills, work experience and apprenticeships. The Big Hospitality Conversation is a joint initiative between The Prince of Wales’s charity Business in the Community, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Springboard. Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants will join BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim for a session of meaningful, relevant and inspiring debate.

Toby Wand, Managing Director at Fresh Montgomery, said: “An intrinsic part of Hotelympia, and one that sets us apart from the pack, is a genuine focus on career development both for those candidates beginning their journeys and those with the desire for a new challenge. We’re confident that we have the best ever line up at Careers in Hospitality 2014, offering a stunning collection of prospective employers – a veritable who’s who of the hospitality industry – alongside a group of speakers who really have seen and done it all. I urge anyone looking to set their career on the right track in 2014 to come along and gain inspiration.”

Visitors can click here and register now for a free ticket to Careers in Hospitality saving the £25 entrance fee.

2014 will see Hotelympia move to a new four day format and be situated in one extended hall making it even easier for visitors to navigate the attractions without the disruption of the central boulevard. New, dedicated networking hubs will make the Hotelympia show-floor the UK’s biggest-ever hotbed of hospitality business activity.

Further information is available here.



The difference good staff engagement makes in hospitality- a post by Tom Debenham, Managing Director, People Insight

People Insight has spent more than 20 years measuring employee engagement and helping businesses be the best employer they can be.

Now People Insight has teamed up with for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, which launched last week.

The hospitality industry face numerous headaches– challenging staff retention, low wages, awkward shift work, fast pace and lots of pressure. Your staff are one of your most important assets; and engaging them can make the difference between getting a glowing review or a stinging critique on Toptable, with thousands of people reading about your failures in an instant.

Best employers stand out a mile. Their staff turn up early or hang around at the end of their shift. They help their colleagues with tasks that aren’t in their job description, greet their customers enthusiastically, suggest ideas for menus or specials, and bring their mates or families in on their days off as customers.

The companies we have worked with over the years have all been committed to improving staff engagement. And here’s why:

  • 78% of engaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, against 13% of the disengaged – (Gallup)
  • 70% of engaged employees have a good understanding of how to  meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same (Right Management, CIPD)
  • Engaged employees take only 2.7 days sick per year vs. an average of 6.2 (CBI)
  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave (CLC)

Our research has identified a number of key factors which contribute to good staff engagement in hospitality. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your staff feel proud of your values?  At Pret a Manager, employees  are proud to know that in some tiny way they are helping towards London’s homelessness problem, as Pret distributes every unsold sandwich to homeless charities each night.
  • Do they feel valued? We find only 51% of employees surveyed feel recognised for the work they do. Do your line managers notice the things staff have done well and praise them?
  • Are they aware of genuine career opportunities? We find only 35% of employees believe their development aspirations are being met. Everyone should have the opportunity to discuss their options and reasons to stay.
  • Do they get a sense of achievement in their day to day work? Focus people on completing small, frequently set goals – be it mastering a new dish or cocktail, or putting a new skill learned into practice.
  • Are they feeling part of a joined up organisation, aware of what is going on? Internal communication is a frequent bugbear in companies surveyed.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at what it takes to be a best employer, and providing tips based on our research. In the meantime, make sure you enter the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards!

Click here for more information on People Insight, click here.

Anna Carmichael announced as the winner of Springboard’s prestigious FutureChef Contest

On Monday 24th March 2014 – Twelve aspiring young chefs gathered at Westminster Kingsway College to compete for the coveted title of Springboard’s FutureChef Winner 2014.

The young chefs were taking part in the charity’s annual cooking contest, which was judged by leading industry chefs. The twelve finalists earned their place in the National final by mixing, stirring and chopping their way through local and regional heats held across the country. They were selected from 8,200, 12 – 16 year olds who entered Springboard’s FutureChef competition.

The finalists had to prepare two restaurant-quality dishes from a selection of fresh ingredients in just two hours. The pressure was on to impress the judges.

Hosted by David Mulcahy (Head of Judges) Craft and Food Development Director Sodexo UK & Ireland – it was Anna Carmichael (Bellerive FCJ Catholic College, Liverpool) who won the North West regional heat, who was announced as the deserving winner. Anna impressed judges with her enthusiasm, skill and the menu choice of:  Lamb Shoulder, Pan Fried Lamb, Pulled Lamb with pistachio and mint crumb, Butternut Squash, New Potatoes, Spinach and Shallot puree. Followed by Chocolate and Raspberry plate, warm chocolate and raspberry fondant. Raspberry syllabub and she now joins the notable list FutureChef winners.

Anne Pierce, Chief Executive, The Springboard Charity commented:  “Congratulations to all of our hard-working, committed finalists – they have all been part of a great FutureChef.  It really is amazing to see the quality of work by young chefs improve year on year, the talent we see as a result of the Springboard FutureChef initiative is remarkable and Anna Carmichael is a true winner.

To bring together Springboard’s network of experienced chefs, FutureChef alumni and our hospitality partners in this way ensures that we as an industry, continue to inspire young talent to learn about food and cooking as well as gaining valuable experience about career opportunities in this great industry.’’

FutureChef Chairman, Brian Turner CBE, commented: “It’s been an emotional day and it’s fantastic to see so many dedicated young people with so much talent. Thanks must also go to teachers and mentors who make such a great contribution to the success of the event. FutureChef is a great competition and Anna is a great winner.”

Celebrity Chef, James Martin, added: “You can see that these young people have really listened to their mentors, but they still had to deliver under pressure and that’s impressive. Overall the competitors have delivered a really high standard and presented us with some standout dishes.”

On hearing she was the FutureChef Winner 2014, Anna Carmichael said: “I can’t believe it. There were so many amazing dishes, I’m so shocked I’ve won.”

2nd Place went to: Meganne Shearer

3rd Place went to: Jordon Powell

4th Place went to: Rick Owens

Full list of Finalists:

  • East of England – Henry Mathews
  • East Midlands – Isobel Coombs
  • West Midlands – Carl Ridsdale
  • Wales – Bronwen Jenkins
  • South West – Katie England
  • North East – Connor Blades
  • South East – Jordon Powell
  • London – Rick Owens
  • Central and South Scotland – Rebecca Ramsay
  • North Scotland – Meganne Shearer
  • Northern Ireland – Christine Graham
  • North West – Anna Carmichael

Judging Panel:

  • David Mulcahy – Head of Judges – Craft and Food Development Director Sodexo UK & Ireland
  • Hayden Groves – BaxterStorey and National Chef of the Year
  • Adam Degg – Head Pastry Chef – Wild Honey Restaurant
  • Vivek Singh – Executive Chef – Cinnamon Club, Kitchen and Cinnamon    Soho
  • Sophie Wright – Food Writer and Owner – Sophie Wright Catering
  • Alan Bird – Chef Patron – Bird of Smithfield
  • Hayley Cancea – FutureChef Winner 2013
  • Simon Stocker – Chef Practitioner – Westminster Kingsway College
  • Steve Munkley – Executive Chef – The Royal Garden Hotel
  • Brian Turner – FutureChef Chairman

List of Prizes:

Winner prize: sponsored by Sodexo – a unique behind the scene visit to Royal Ascot where the winner will work with top chefs whilst their parents enjoy a tour of Eton College. The winner and guests will return to Ascot to enjoy full hospitality. A night in a hotel the evening before will also be included.

Winning mentor chef:

Will receive a Commemorative plate provided by Steelite

Winning School:

Vouchers to the value of £400 courtesy of Bunzl Lockhart.

Other prizes:

Runner Up – Courtesy of Delaware North – The winner of this prize will be able to invite 4- 6 people to the DNC box at Wembley for the Summertime Ball 2014 to work in the VIP area before the concert and see back of house area at Wembley. The winner will then join family for the event itself.

3rd Prize – Courtesy of Berner’s Tavern and London’s Edition- Executive Chef Phil Carmichael at Berners Tavern is looking forward to spending a day working with the winner in Jason Atherton’s kitchen.

Also the winner and 2 guests will enjoy an overnight stay and dinner at London’s Edition where an interconnecting room for 3 people.

4th Prize – Courtesy of Elior – The Lucky winner and their mentor will work on an inspirational dinner with a celebrity chef and the Elior development chefs to produce a fine dining banquet for 10 VIP guests.

Prizes for all finalists:

  • Commemorative plates courtesy of Steelite
  • £100 Cash prize from Worshipful Company of Cooks
  • Personally embroidered Chefs Jackets and Skull caps provided by Johnsons Stalbridge Linen
  •  ‘Butter Wouldn’t Melt’ by Executive Pastry Chef – Phil Skinazi – Baxterstorey
  • Commemorative medals supplied by Craft Guild of Chefs
  • Personally embroidered aprons provided by Russums
  • Skull caps sponsored by Tonstate
  • Signed copies – ‘Its Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer- and other secrets to surviving, thriving and high-fiving at work’ by Jane Sunley – Purple Cubed
Click here for more information about FutureChef.

The hospitality industry and political figureheads are uniting to create apprenticeships and jobs for young people, says Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association

You may recall that in November 2013 Helen Grant MP, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equality, praised the hospitality and tourism sector for its financial contribution to the UK and its ‘sharp focus’ on job generation.  She admitted to being ‘blown away’ by the industry’s potential for job generation and praised the British Hospitality Association for galvanising the industry.  Indeed, the hospitality and tourism industry has invested a great deal of time and energy over the past weeks, months and years lobbying the most influential political figures.

Our efforts are reaping rewards, with public acclaim at both a national and regional level.  Last week, it was the turn of London Mayor Boris Johnson who showed a united front with Patrick Dempsey, the Managing Director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants and myself at a photocall to launch Apprenticeship Week.  Hosted by BHA member Premier Inn in Leicester Square, the Mayor revealed plans to create 7,000 new apprenticeship positions in the catering industry, pledged by the British Hospitality Association.  To mark the occasion and show his public support for apprentices in the hospitality and tourism industry, the Mayor joined two young apprentices and helped them serve breakfast to guests at the hotel.

It’s true that London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world with millions of visitors expected this year. Tourism now contributes £36 billion to the capital each year and employs over 700,000 people, and this is expected to continue to increase.  The hospitality industry is forecast to grow by over 16 per cent by 2020, and the huge demand for skilled and loyal workers is something the British Hospitality is actively mindful of.

Getting young Londoners into jobs is top of the agenda at City Hall and the Mayor has invested over £2.5m on promoting and helping to create apprenticeships in the past two years alone.  Talking to the gathered media, he said: “Thanks to London’s international appeal as a top tourist destination, hospitality is one of the city’s boom industries and it is superb to have the support of the British Hospitality Association in supporting 7,000 more young Londoners into a great career and helping to meet the demand for a skilled and dedicated workforce in this field. Apprenticeships not only help young people get a foot on the career ladder, they boost businesses with an eager, committed workforce – I urge all London’s firms to grasp the opportunity and take on an apprentice.”

London is clearly just part of the story, and Apprentice Week supports the creation of quality apprenticeships for young people across the whole of the UK.  Boris’s show of unity demonstrates that the hospitality and tourism industry is sowing the seeds for its own future by nurturing young talent and helping to stimulate economic growth. And this is being replicated by hospitality businesses up and down the UK.  By working collectively to tackle youth unemployment the Big Hospitality Conversation has generated quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs for 16-24 year olds.  Support from our Mayor and others, including political figureheads will be instrumental in achieving our ambitions to create 7,000 apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds by the end of 2016 and showcasing that exciting, meaningful and rewarding careers can be built in the hospitality industry.

For more information about the British Hospitality Association, click here.

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