“It’s not just a summer job”: Changing Perceptions at the BHA Summit


If there was one key learning from this year’s BHA Summit, it was that the UK hospitality industry needs to change its image in the eyes of jobseekers and young people as a place to develop a fulfilling and lasting career. ‘Perception’ was the word of the day.

On June 6th, the British Hospitality Association held its annual summit at The Grand Connaught Rooms, London where over 500 delegates from the world of hospitality gathered to talk, network and listen to top industry professionals as they discussed the challenges facing the sector.

Among the speakers were Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, BHA;Nick Varney, Chairman, BHA; Laurie Nicol, COO, De Vere; Ben Twynam Head of Practice, Heidrick & Struggles; Mike Saul, MD Hospitality & Leisure Team, Barclays and former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Strictly sensation, Ed Balls.

Of particular interest to hospitality employers were two fascinating discussion panels. George Vezza, MD at Nestle Professional UK & Ireland hosted a session on ‘Inspiring the Future Workforce’, focused on what the industry can do collectively to make hospitality careers more appealing to a younger generation. Natalie Cramp from the Careers Enterprise Company believes that employers need to tell their stories better and improve brand awareness from the get-go, helping those about to leave school to realise that hospitality is not simply a weekend or a holiday job.

Natalie also felt that giving young people the room to grow in the job will go a long way in increasing retention.

Also taking part in this discussion was Andrew Parkinson, Operations Director at Liverpool Football Club. Last year, The Reds completed the first phase of their expansion project, increasing capacity at Anfield by 8,500. As a result Liverpool’s hospitality offering has had to step-up. Their recruitment policy has focused less on skills and more on personality, embracing the notion that if culture comes first, the rest will follow. Likewise, Nikki Kelly, Employment and Skills Manager at the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation stated that with the new White Hart Lane currently under construction, Spurs hospitality recruitment will concentrate on their strong employer brand. Recruiting from the local community is key. A strong push on culture can speak volumes to the hearts and minds of young people.

The day ended with The Big Debate, hosted by Debate Mate. Debate Mate is an educational charity that employs university students to run after-school debating clubs in areas of high child poverty around the world. Three young debaters argued against industry professionals, the subject being ‘Hospitality is Just a Holiday Job’. Familiar concerns were raised, namely that young people simply do not understand that hospitality is a viable career option. In schools, not enough is being done to promote hospitality jobs. It isn’t seen as a ‘dream job’ and it is felt that it’s the industry’s duty to reach out with more inventive methods to impress upon school leavers and graduates that hospitality can be as strong a career as one in law, medicine or the creative industries.

By the same token, it was noted during the debate that success in hospitality can come from the sheer nature of the work, in that many current industry high-flyers started at the bottom and worked their way up, learning all the way. Unlike many career choices, responsibility can come quickly in hospitality and this can be attractive to those now entering the world of work. However, it was agreed that much more needs to be done with regards to stronger on-boarding programmes and creating a candidate experience that breeds retention.

In her closing remarks, Ufi Ibrahim left delegates with the results of a recent survey where hospitality businesses were asked to list key words in order of relevance and importance to them. They said:

  1. A great place to work    
  2. People friendly
  3. Exciting
  4. Low Skilled
  5. Poor Reputation
However, when the same was asked of consumers and young people, the results give employers a lot to think about:


  1. People friendly
  2. Poor Reputation
  3. Low Skilled
  4. Exciting
  5. A great place to work

The BHA Summit provided a day of fascinating insight that underlined the challenges the hospitality industry faces in attracting and retaining talent. In a sector characterised by acute skills shortage, hospitality employers can and should take the lead in attracting the talent the whole industry desperately needs. By actively promoting themselves as employers of choice, and showcasing the exciting and rewarding careers they offer, they will in turn benefit the whole industry.

It’s a notion that’s been discussed at industry forums for decades, but now more than ever hospitality employers who wish to meet their demand for skills must actively focus on creating the supply. After all, if not now, then when?

Supporting Emerging Talent


Flying High! Careers are taking off at Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5

In the current climate of skills shortages within the hospitality industry, it’s vital that employers create talent pools and pathways that can secure their future requirements. Nurturing emerging talent equals a positive impact on employee retention, productivity, customer satisfaction, not to mention savings on recruitment costs. However, what about the view from the other side of this equation? What about the benefits for your candidates? In the best circumstances, it can enrich their lives in ways you may never have even considered.

In October 2016, Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5 won the Emerging Talent Initiative award at the 2016 Caterer.com People Awards. Their work developing the skills of young people, fresh to the world of work, has been truly inspirational.

In 2012, the Department of Health’s Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework found that only 7% of adults with learning disabilities were in some form of paid employment. It is estimated that 65% of people with learning disabilities would like a paid job.

In the hospitality industry there are of course many entry level positions that are subject to regular turnover, or are very hard to fill, and these jobs may well be suitable for young people with learning difficulties. The tasks and skills required can be easily broken down for training purposes and once learned, can be carried out with minimal supervision.

In conjunction with Project SEARCH, a US-based educational programme, Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5 has been fully training young people with learning difficulties and employing them, not just within the five-star property, but with other local hospitality employers. Caroline Lowe, Director of Human Resources explains, “Hilton T5 were approached by another Hilton hotel in the US who had launched a Project Search scheme there, and wanted to link us up with the Project SEARCH partners to explore to opportunity for a UK project. Hilton T5 is the first hotel in the UK and Europe with this initiative.”

For the past three years, Hilton T5, has been enrolling 12 students per academic year. Aged between 18 and 25, and with a variety of learning disabilities including autism, Downs Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome, these young people have been attending classes in a specially converted classroom at Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5. They have a full time job tutor, Job Coach / Job Development Planner and Learning Support Assistant. The course is both academic and an internship and consists of three rotations through specific departments with continual feedback and support. The goal for each intern is full time, paid employment, and support is given at the end of the programme to help find that employment. Students also study for an OCN qualification in Hospitality and functional skills in Maths and English. The programme is supported by key partners, Ealing Mencap, Ealing Hammersmith & West London College and the London Borough of Ealing.

Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5 has developed Job Development strategies and has contact with local employers including ISS Service who are responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of Heathrow Airport Terminals, plus Harrisons Catering and other Hilton hotels to share the benefits of employing young people with special needs. They are also developing and sustaining long term partnerships with these employers to have an ongoing pipeline of employment opportunities at the end of each internship year.

For employers, the benefits of this programme are many; access to a new and diverse talent stream with transferable skills that match employer’s needs with high performance and retention in some high-turnover or hard-to-fill posts. It creates employees who are highly committed, loyal and proven to be reliable. Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5 has found that their employees with disabilities can serve as ‘role models’ for customers and this is well-reflected in satisfaction surveys.

As for the interns themselves, their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and last year alone there was a 100% completion of the course rate with five interns gaining paid employment before the end of the course.

On winning the Emerging Talent award, Caroline Lowe said, “We are proud and honoured to be recognised for this award. Project SEARCH is a successful partnership between key partners and Hilton T5. Our priority and focus is to create opportunities and a future in paid employment for young people with special needs, who previously have had few options within paid employment.”

Entering the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards is simple. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Make sure your entries reach us by 3rd July 2017. The shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Entries are still being accepted for this year’s Caterer.com People Awards which were created to showcase and celebrate the hard work of employers and recruiters in the field of hospitality recruitment, development and retention.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Caterer.com People Awards team with any questions at awards@caterer.com


Employer innovation that benefits the whole industry

We talk to Jessica Berry, Talent Manager of Firmdale Hotels and judge of the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards

“The recruitment process can be challenging. It’s not always seen as the most glamorous of roles within hospitality, but it’s a vital part of running hotels. All employers want to hire the right people and you have get that right from the very beginning.”

Jessica Berry, Talent Manager of Firmdale Hotels and one of our 2017 Caterer.com People Awards judges, feels that to attract top talent and to be recognised as a great place to work, “You need to enter Caterer.com People Awards.”

There is now one month left to enter the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards. Once again, we have a stellar array of over 40 industry experts and innovators in our judging panels, many winners in their own right. Last year, Firmdale Hotels proudly accepted our Caterer.com People Award for Candidate Experience.

We caught up with Jessica to understand more about her career in hospitality and what she thinks matters when it comes to innovation in recruitment.

Jessica Berry hails from Brisbane, Australia and originally studied Regional and Town Planning. Disenchanted with this career path, she landed a job at the 5-Star South Seas Island resort in Florida. Within a couple of months, she was running Conferences and Banqueting. Jessica fell in love with the world of hotels and was soon made the resort’s Wedding Co-ordinator. Upon her return to Australia, she continued to work in four and five-star hotels and by this time had moved into a sales role. She was gaining a solid grounding in hotel operations and in 2012, whilst at Sofitel, Jessica was offered the role of Events Manager at their hotel in St. James’, London. “I had the opportunity to run the Olympics Programme at the hotel,” Jessica said. “It was challenging, but really rewarding.”

Then came a turning point in her career. Jessica took stock and looked at what she really wanted to do; “I asked myself, what part of my job am I enjoying the most? And I decided it was recruitment.” After a spell at recruitment agencies, Jessica was contacted by Firmdale Hotels who were looking for a Talent Manager, somebody who was experienced in recruitment, but with a hotel background. “I was familiar with Firmdale as a brand, so I jumped at the chance.” Jessica has been with Firmdale Hotels now for three years and is loving every minute.

Jessica is looking forward to being a judge for the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards. “If you’re looking for a job in hospitality, you go to Caterer.com,” she said. “They are the leaders. If you’re looking for recognition of who does hospitality recruitment well, you look at Caterer.com People Awards. They’re unique in that they reward all stages of recruitment including induction and training in hospitality, and that’s special. Hospitality can be quite different to other sectors, so it’s nice to be acknowledged in this way.”

When judging this year’s awards, Jessica will be looking for evidence of successful innovation. “Employers who think outside the box,” she said, “programmes that have been implemented based on feedback from your team.” She laughed when she admitted to ‘loving a statistic’. “I love to see positive success stories with the statistics to back it up. Everybody loves a before-and-after tale!”

Jessica would encourage all hospitality employers to get involved with the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards. “It’s a real badge of honour to Firmdale Hotels to have won an award last year. We shout about it. We’re all competing in the same market, but an initiative that stands out from the competition can not only benefit you, it can benefit the whole industry. We all want candidates to have a great experience, but no matter what success we have, we have to improve. Things change and we have to keep challenging ourselves.”

Entering the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards couldn’t be easier. It’s free to enter and you can choose as many of our 13 categories as you wish to showcase your successes.  Entries close on Monday 3rd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Caterer.com People Awards team with any questions at awards@caterer.com.


Durham Leads the Way



Leadership in hospitality Recruitment, Development and Retention

In terms of quality and service, the UK hospitality industry has a lot of which to be proud. Away from our world class restaurants and hotels, however, there are many institutions which provide incredible food service and an outstanding work environment for employees. These can include prisons, care homes and educational facilities, establishments which often escape our attention. The 2017 Caterer.com People Awards will celebrate employers from across the hospitality sector – and there’s still time to enter. Entries close on July 2nd and who knows? Maybe your organisation could be celebrating at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge in October, much like Durham University Catering Department did last year.

Durham University Catering offers 26 Cafes across their colleges, employing 500 team members who serve around half a million meals per month to students, commercial guests and VIPs, including royalty from around the world. The pressure is on every day and the need for top talent is constant. Durham, however is not immune to sector-wide problems.

“In line with the industry skills shortage, in recent years, we struggled to fill all catering vacancies and attract sufficient dynamic, talented applicants,” explains Ricky Cohen, Deputy Director of Catering at Durham University. “Job descriptions and person specifications required fundamental review to ensure criteria were both appropriate for the operation and attractive to potential talent. Feedback also suggested that the existing written application and shortlisting process, followed by the very formal panel interview, deterred applicants.”

A rethink of the recruitment process was badly needed. It was felt that induction was disjointed from the actual recruitment process and focused almost entirely on getting new starters on the shop floor as quickly as possible.

“There was no attempt to acclimatise new starters to the university’s working environment or to help them understand the importance of their role and how it fits into the complex organisation that a university is.”

Induction also failed to set expectations nor did it communicate a purpose or strategy. It also didn’t provide new team members with the correct level of information needed to become engaged with the catering department.

It was decided to streamline the whole system. The catering team worked in collaboration with other key university stakeholders to develop a new, integrated recruitment, induction and development process. The department also had to combat a perception that working at Durham University Catering Department meant being ‘a dinner lady’, when nothing could be further from the truth. A departmental video was developed to provide visual insight into ‘what they actually do’. The video also helped applicants understand the department’s purpose, strategy and values before deciding whether to join the team.

In a controversial move, the written application shortlisting process for entry level vacancies was completely removed in order to increase the amount of talent at interview stage. No one had ever done this at the University and it was initially greeted with trepidation from certain sections.

The next bold step was to replace the formal panel style interview with a ‘speed dating’ style interview process, during which up to 42 applicants moved around mini management panels, where positive behaviour is scored using standard questions and a simple work related tasks. Again effective communication and various trials were required to convince key stakeholders of what they viewed as a radical approach.

Accordingly, job descriptions and personal specifications were developed with a reduced focus on qualifications and experience and a greater focus towards positive behavioural indicators. This was linked directly to Durham University’s behavioural framework, which they named ‘Realising Your Potential’. Ricky Cohen said, “The ‘Realising Your Potential’ approach is essentially a framework which helps clarify the behaviours required to enable all team members to do just that – realise their own potential; it’s simple, when individuals realise their own capabilities, the whole department benefits.”

Developing talent is also crucial to Durham’s new structure. “We continually try to be creative to attract, support, develop and retain talent, including financially supporting chef secondments to Michelin Star and award-winning establishments, for example at Le Manoir aux QuatSaisons,” explains Ricky Cohen. “The long-term plan is to formalise this into development partnerships where individuals get the benefit of improving their skills. In return, the business gets free labour. We also recently delivered an international food exploration trip to Teikyo University, Tokyo.”

With all this hard and innovative work, it may come as no surprise that Durham University Catering Department won the 2016 Caterer.com People Award for Leadership in Recruitment, Retention and Development. Ricky Cohen said that the department was thrilled with their success, “Our current and future success rests with our team of individuals who are talented, engaged and trained to deliver excellence. National recognition has given us confidence to continue to be creative with recruitment, retention and development.”

Entering the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards couldn’t be easier. There are 13 categories. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Entries close on 2nd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

In hospitality, every player plays their part



We talk to Geraldine McCormick, HR Advisor for Commercial Operations at The National Theatre,

a 2016 Caterer.com People Awards winner

It’s that time again! Entries are now being welcomed for the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards. These special awards celebrate the finest achievements in hospitality recruitment, development and retention. The 2016 award for On-Boarding Programme was presented to the National Theatre for their smart and inspiring welcome package.

We all know that making a strong first impression is crucial when entering into a new role. For candidates, this can come at the all-important interview stage, but for employers, once their choice has been made and candidates become employees, that first impression is of even greater importance.

Great employers want to create a confident, enthusiastic work force. They also want their employees to remain with them for as long as possible, and in order to do so, creating a solid on-boarding programme is essential.

For the National Theatre, success didn’t come easily, as they had several recruitment challenges to address. Prior to their current programme being implemented, there was no standardisation or consistency in the way new recruits were welcomed and orientated into the organisation, and in particular to Commercial Operations. They needed to ensure that employees were given the same information and the same training for consistency, compliance and excellent customer service. Geraldine McCormick, HR Advisor for Commercial Operations at The National Theatre, explains, “The reason for designing our current On-Boarding programme is to give structure to what was previously a very piecemeal process without placing too much strain on the operational manager’s time.” She stressed that getting this right was a one-shot deal. “Our biggest challenge is that we only have one opportunity per recruitment drive to have all the new hires together for the three days, and during those three days we need to ensure we can cover as much information and training as possible. We have to make certain that all the staff are given the same knowledge and opportunities by welcoming them and engaging them in life at the Theatre. Operationally, this is a complex task for a small team like ours, but we’ve now found ways to make it all run smoothly.”

The National Theatre’s current On-Boarding programme was devised to support the core job description for Commercial Operations. It was felt that the programme needed to clarify and embed vision, values, behaviours and consistent style and then deliver this for every member of staff working in ‘Audience Experience’. “We started by devising modules around each of our core values,” said Geraldine McCormick, “and then built modules around all the compliance and safety matters. We then added extras to “join” the sessions together, sessions designed to build great, cohesive teams from day one.”

The physical delivery of the three-day training session employs a variety of methods such as verbal communication, visual, hands on interactive activities, quizzes, PowerPoint, roleplay and games. Time is set aside at the end of day three for feedback and questions.

The line manager and Audience Experience personnel continue to support and review all new employees after the On-Boarding programme and throughout their employment.  This is achieved via a process of one-to-one appraisals, focus groups, cross–working training and other extra training as required.

Feedback on the National Theatre’s On-Boarding programme has been extremely positive “Staff genuinely value the program,” said Geraldine McCormick, “they are engaged and feel work-ready. They are aware of the main procedures and policies and have all met key team members. Staff have told us how they make long-lasting friends and feel engaged about working with their new found colleagues. Overall we have a much happier and retainable workforce.”

On winning a Caterer.com People Award for On-Boarding, Geraldine said, “We feel extremely honoured and excited that we have been recognised by the Catering and Hospitality Industry for a programme of which we are very proud of. People don’t always think of the National Theatre for our incredible restaurants, cafes and bars, so being recognised by Caterer.com is such a privilege for us. Indeed we were amazed that we won, particularly so because we were up against some very strong and worthy competitors. We are oozing with pride!”

Entering the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards couldn’t be easier. There are 13 categories. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Entries close on 2nd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Caterer.com People Awards team with any questions at awards@caterer.com

How to deliver a Michelin-starred Experience

It’s the ultimate accolade in fine dining, coveted by chefs and revered by connoisseurs. A Michelin Star is a badge of honour for restaurants worldwide, but how do you deliver a Michelin-starred experience and maintain it year in, year out?

Caterer.com hosted a special panel at ScotHot 2017 where Andrew McIntosh, Sales Director at Caterer.com welcomed Michelin-starred chefs, Paul Leonard, Head Chef at Isle of Eriska Hotel, Brian Grigor, Head Chef at Edinburgh’s Number One, The Balmoral Hotel and his Restaurant Manager, Emma Lonie to a packed Spotlight Stage to discuss this topic.

Andrew began by asking the panel what is it that sets Michelin-starred dining apart from a non-starred experience? Emma Lonie said that it begins with trying to be the best you possibly can, and creating the most memorable experience for all guests. Number One, The Balmoral has held a Michelin Star for 16 years and for Brian Grigor it’s about maintaining that standard. He said, “You can’t get tied down worrying about what you think Michelin would like. It’s about working through the seasons, working with suppliers, trying new techniques, new produce. If you’re constantly doing that, what happens will happen.”

Of course, maintaining standards requires the whole team of a restaurant. Emma Lonie said that this involves constant learning and development. “We’re always training”, she said, “Whether it’s on the floor, briefings with the chefs, learning about what’s new. It’s what maintains standards. It’s getting the team excited and invested in the product and conveying that excitement to the guests.”

There were knowing smiles from the panel when they were asked how they would deal with an emergency, for example, if a key team member walked out on service. Being 10 miles from the nearest town, the team at Eriska are in a unique situation. Paul Leonard explained, “We live together, we’re family and we get on with each other. People are paying a lot of money to eat your food and the team understand that and we support each other.”

“You have to create an environment in the kitchen that you would want to work in,” explained Brian Grigor. “I’ve worked in kitchens where the atmosphere has been quite volatile. At some point you have to break the mould and say ‘when I become head chef, that’s not what I want my kitchen to be like.’” Brian went on to say that he’s proud that his place of work is a calm one. He said, “Everybody gets constantly trained on the job, so they don’t feel the need to leave.”

A fascinating point of conversation, and one that clearly illustrates the differences between the restaurants, was that of consistency. At Eriska, Paul Leonard changes his menu everyday, depending on the ingredients that he and his team can source from the local area. However, as he says, it’s not about reinventing the wheel. “It’s about self-discipline in your cooking and keeping things simple,” he explained. Employee retention is good, again down to an exciting working environment and with a revolving menu, no two days are the same.

Even though the menu at The Balmoral doesn’t change as often as it does at Eriska, Brian Grigor is well aware that a Michelin Star isn’t handed down, its won year by year. “You have to be constantly pushing forward,” he said. “If we do a spring dish one year, we might do something similar this year, but find new ways to improve on it and make it even more special.”

Emma Lonie explained that even though Michelin have stated that service has no bearing on stars being awarded, she’s proud that the guide has made mention of the service at Number One, The Balmoral. “We have to tell the story of what’s happening in the kitchen,” she said. “For instance, game season causes a lot of excitement in the kitchen. If we can’t convey something like that that to guests, we’ve not done the full job. It’s definitely part of the whole experience.”

Scotland is a multi-faceted country and though Eriska and Number One, The Balmoral lie in vastly differing environments, the panel agreed that a Michelin-starred experience is about respect for your ingredients. “You have to start with quality produce,” said Brian Grigor. “Whether it’s carrots, beetroot, salmon or beef, know your supplier, know where it comes from and do as little to it as possible.” Paul Leonard concurred, “We grow a lot of our own food. Once the team knows how it grows, they know how to cook it to get the best from it, to get the best flavour.”

The panellists all said how proud they are to be working in Scotland with the some of the finest produce that the UK has to offer. They continue to maintain a world class standard in cooking and service that puts Scotland on the gastronomic map.

It was a fascinating discussion and we thank our panellists, Emma Lonie, Paul Leonard and Brian Grigor for their time and participation.

You can hear Emma Lonie and Brian Grigor’s thoughts on recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality industry in our exclusive video

Caterer.com People Awards – Employee Engagement Programme – Byron Hamburgers


The hard work and perseverance of hospitality employers is often overlooked, and that’s why Caterer.com People Awards shine a light on their successes. The 2017 awards are now open for entries, across 13 categories reflecting every stage of the recruitment process. Last year, with an impressive initiative, Byron Hamburgers won the Employee Engagement Programme award.

We know that attracting and recruiting talent into the hospitality industry can be struggle enough but keeping hold of that talent is another battle altogether. Retention breeds experience, which is not only good for your business, it also enriches your brand and your culture. Engaging your employees from the very beginning is crucial.

From this viewpoint, Byron found themselves in a bit of a quandary. They were enjoying fast expansion, but faced a turnover of Assistant Managers of 62%, their turnover of General Managers increased to 30%, with 20% of those leaving within a four month period. With their aim of opening 15 restaurants a year, they needed to make sure employees stayed with them and were also happy to do so.

They decided to investigate and conducted a series of focus groups across all roles within the company. “The overall purpose of the focus groups was to really understand our culture,” said Louise Moneypenny, Recruitment & Talent Manager at Byron. “The focus groups included interactive sessions around ‘What do we do well as a business?’ ‘What could we do better?’ ‘What makes Byron special?’ ‘What words do we use when describing Byron Culture?’ ‘What activities do we do that enforce Byron Culture that we do not want to change?’”

As a result of the focus groups, the company identified the ‘Five Levers’ of their culture: Fun, respect individuality, do the people bit properly, great careers and a family feel. Louise said, “Through the focus groups and the feedback received it allowed us to develop an internal people plan to reinforce our culture and reengage our teams.”

Another lesson that Byron Hamburgers learned was the importance of listening to your employees. “Listening to our teams and following up with action to address their feedback is incredibly important for us,” Louise Moneypenny explained. “Our teams told us they wanted to feel listened to more and feel involved with decisions. As part of our internal people plan which was devised from listening to our teams, we have introduced multiple ways of listening to different people within Byron.”

The company initiated programmes which allowed employees direct access to top management and the directors of Byron. These included their first annual opinion survey for all employees with follow up action plans for all restaurants. This involved a face to face employee forum for all restaurants with the CEO and Directors. Other robust actions plans were put in place including regular dinners where GMs could feedback and put questions to the CEO.

Another interesting engagement programme is ‘Speed Date the Directors’. This is a quarterly GM meeting and a great opportunity for all GMs to question and give feedback to all Directors in the business. All company chefs have been invited to ‘Be Frank with Fred’ where head Chefs can feedback and question our Byron’s Head of Food, Fred Smith.

Listening to employees wasn’t the only engagement technique undertaken by Byron. They also reviewed salaries at all levels. Taking on board comments from GMs, the company created a clear and transparent pay structure based on restaurant bandings. They reviewed and simplified their bonus schemes and introduced additional top up bonuses for GMs. They also reviewed Chef pay bandings and made increases accordingly.

The results of these new initiatives have been more then pleasing for Byron. Their GM turnover went from 30% in ‘14/’15 to 10.8% in ‘15/’16. AM Turnover was down, from 62% in ‘14/’15 to 19.4% in ‘15/’16 and there was a reduction in their 90 day labour turnover from 45% in financial year ‘14/’15 to 25% in our financial year ‘15/’16.

Louise Moneypenny said that the whole company is excited about these new initiatives, “Byron is a high culture business where culture drives performance. Recognising this and introducing activities to ensure we reinforce our culture and re-engage our teams has resulted in reducing our labour turnover and increasing our engagement scores on our bi annual employee opinion survey.”

On winning the Employee Engagement Programme award Louise said, “We are extremely proud to win this award as we have focused so much effort on protecting and evolving our culture as we have grown to ensure are teams are happy and engaged at Byron. We have achieved the goals we set and it is great to get recognised with this award.”

Entering the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards couldn’t be easier. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Entries close on 2nd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Caterer.com People Awards team with any questions at awards@caterer.com.

We are open for entries! Caterer.com People Awards 2017

The hospitality sector may be the fourth largest industry in the UK and employ nearly five million people, but for hospitality employers the struggle to attract, recruit and retain the talent they need is ongoing and often painful. With the industry in growth, competition for candidates is sharper than ever, and the disruption of Brexit threatens to add further challenges. Long-term projections from the BHA suggest that at least 700,000 additional people will be required to fill roles by the end of the decade.

The impact of skills gaps is felt keenly on the bottom line, with productivity and customer satisfaction taking a hit when gaps in the workforce remain. So it’s good to see that so many hospitality employers are working hard to implement new and innovative methods that not only attract and recruit talent, but to retain it too.

To celebrate these exciting initiatives, Caterer.com is delighted to announce that entries are now open for the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards. These well-established awards showcase and reward the best initiatives in hospitality recruitment, development and retention.

Previous winners include Dishoom (Learning & Development), Jumeirah Hotel Group (Rewards & Benefits), National Theatre (On-Boarding Initiative), Byron Hamburgers (Employer Brand Campaign)  and Durham University Catering Department (Leadership in Recruitment, Development and Retention).

13 Caterer.com People Awards will be presented this year, it’s free and straightforward to enter and employers can enter as many categories as they feel relevant to demonstrate their achievements. For 2017, a new award has been added, recognising the great work accomplished in promoting diversity in recruitment within our industry. Entries are welcomed from hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs and food service providers of all sizes and from all areas of the UK.

Judging takes place in July, and this year’s judges include over 40 successful and highly regarded hospitality professionals. Each category has a bespoke panel of Heads of HR, In-House Recruiters, sector specialists, 2016 award winners and industry leaders. The straightforward and transparent judging process uses clear criteria and a set scoring system, to ensure entries are considered on the strength of the initiative and results.

Caterer.com People Awards exist to reward and celebrate the fantastic work of hospitality employers across all sectors in their mission to attract the best talent, deliver outstanding experience to customers, and offer rewarding and meaningful careers to their employees.

The 2017 Caterer.com People Awards will take place at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge on October 5th 2017. Full details on how to enter can be found at caterer.com/people-awards

For all enquiries regarding our Caterer.com People Awards 2017, please contact mia.brodie@totaljobsgroup.com.


Tackling Recruitment Challenges at ScotHot 2017

Scotland’s largest food, drink, tourism and hospitality trade show, ScotHot, took place in Glasgow over March 15 & 16 2017. Nearly 200 producers and suppliers filled the SEC Exhibition Centre where key players took the opportunity to meet, network and enjoy the best that the industry has to offer.

Caterer.com proudly sponsored the Spotlight Stage and chaired two key industry discussions, including a fascinating presentation on tackling recruitment challenges within the hospitality industry. This session was hosted by Jonathan Ballie from Caterer.com Scotland who was joined by a panel of industry experts; Shona Bell, Head of People from Crieff Hydro Hotels, Gordon Macintyre, Head of Department for Hospitality from the Glasgow College and Paul Wilson, Managing Director of Xpress Recruitment.

Securing talent before the competition is vital, so Jonathan opened the presentation by discussing the results of research carried out by Caterer.com on ‘What Top Talent Wants’. Useful points that can help employers and recruiters include showcasing your employer brand, making sure candidates know what you’re about and what they’re buying into. Ensure your interview process is uncluttered, see no more than four candidates for one position. Offer a positive career development programme, make sure candidates know that there is a structured career path and implement frequent talent reviews. Importantly, invest in and deliver a meaningful on-boarding and induction programme.

The panel discussion opened with the question, why does the hospitality industry struggle to attract top talent? Shona Bell suggested that there is a basic misperception of what hospitality is all about, that not only does the industry offer food and beverage service, but there are many roles behind the scenes in departments like finance, HR, IT and marketing. She said, “The challenge is to sell the industry to people, to let them know that there are varied careers within the sector.” Paul Wilson felt that attraction to the hospitality industry wasn’t the biggest issue, the main problem is retention and how to keep the talent that we have. He also cited Brexit, and said that the industry will need to work extremely hard in the coming years to attract home grown talent, and to help “prospective candidates understand that there is longevity in a career in hospitality.” Gordon McIntyre, through his work with the City of Glasgow College, is working with schools and with businesses to get young people out into the work place and to show them the breadth of opportunity within the hospitality sector.

Jonathan went on to ask Gordon McIntyre whether the government could be doing more to promote careers within the industry. Gordon said that a lot of work is being done in the form of new apprenticeships schemes which, he feels, have been particularly successful in Scotland. Younger people are responding positively to apprenticeships rather than to other forms of further education, which can only be good for the businesses. He did stress, however, that qualifications that can be attained through training need to be given more value to help apprentices when entering the jobs market.

A member of the audience asked the panel if industry could be doing more to work in conjunction with government and education to boost recruitment. Shona Bell thought there could definitely be more opportunities for this to happen. She feels that there is a disconnect between what educational institutes feel are the tools needed to do the job and what the industry actually demands. Businesses are in a perfect position to illustrate this. Gordon McIntyre added that in Glasgow and Edinburgh there are programmes in place where colleges are working with hotel companies, helping hospitality students along their career path and this has been a very successful initiative.

Wrapping up the discussion, a question from the floor raised the issue of senior members of the workforce and the challenges they face. Shona Bell said that according to recent research, which focused on the workforce of 2025, a third of the working population will be over 55 and industry leaders need to be thinking more flexibly and creatively to adapt to people who have very different needs. “Management and development training in the industry is a bit ‘one size fits all’”, she said. “Leaders need to understand how to be more ‘chameleon-like’ in their approach. HR should provide the tools, but businesses need to address this issue.” Gordon McIntyre said that he has seen an increase in the number of mature learners enrolling in college courses, either because of a change in circumstance or to gain more flexibility with work choices, and these are people with skills the sector should be trying to capture.

Our panel of experts give their views on hospitality recruitment challenges in our exclusive videos:

Shona Bell, Head of People from Crieff Hydro Hotels

Gordon Macintyre, Head of Department for Hospitality from the Glasgow College

Paul Wilson, Managing Director of Xpress Recruitment

ScotHot 2017 was presented by Fresh Montgomery. We would like to thank our panel of industry experts for their time and their contribution to a valuable and fascinating discussion.


Getting the most out of the Apprenticeship Levy

Aimed at adding 3 million apprenticeships by 2020,  the Apprenticeship Levy came into effect  on 6th April . In an industry facing major staffing issues and skills shortages this is an opportunity to attract new talent. According to People1st.co.uk the benefits of apprenticeships are, “80% of companies who invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention. Apprentices deliver an average of £10k per annum in productivity gains. 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive.”

The government is encouraging not just apprentices but employers.  Backing will be provided for external training, and to set up internal training aimed at progressing staff within the company.

HM Revenue and Customs are stressing the importance of this. According to the policy paper Apprenticeship Levy (4 February 2016), the “levy will help to deliver new apprenticeships and it will support quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system. Employers who are committed to training will be able to get back more than they put in by training sufficient numbers of apprentices.”

Quick overview – what is the Apprenticeship Levy?

  • The Levy is applicable if you have annual pay bills of more than £3 million, and is charged at 0.5% of the annual pay bill
  • It gives employers an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their payment, with payments scheduled to start in May 2017.
  •  The new funding for apprenticeships, termed “co-investing”, will require 10% of the cost to come from employers with the remaining 90% coming from government.
  •  A 10% top up will be added to funds spent on apprenticeship training.
  • Control of apprenticeship funding will be put in the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service, an online apprenticeship service account.
  • Funds will expire 24 months after they enter the apprenticeship service account, giving a grace period to set up training.
  • For simplicity, the Levy will be paid and monitored through employer’s normal payroll processes.
  • Payments through the Apprenticeship Levy will be deductible as expenses for Corporation Tax.
  • The apprenticeships themselves are being reformed and employers are being given the opportunity to have input into the apprenticeship standards. The Department for Education’s Guidance for employers about being apprenticeship training providers (February 2017) says “. It enables you to directly design and deliver the content of the off the job training which your own apprentices will receive, giving you the ability to make sure it includes everything you think it should.”

So, how to make the most of the new legislation?

  • Offer potential apprentices a clearly laid out path towards skill development and a career
  • Engage with training providers near you – you can now negotiate with them to shape the training they provide and what you pay for
  • Consider becoming a training provider – by tailoring courses to your own needs as an employer, you produce the staff you desire, while offering an “earn as you learn” career path. This can become an important part of the overall branding of your organisation, corporate image and culture. In turn leading to filling skill gaps at all levels, and improving staff retention.
  • Make the most of the 24 months for which the Levy funding is available – it allows you time to pick and choose the best path to follow, or to combine them
  • There is already a skill gap in the industry, which looks set to grow with the impact of “Brexit”, so it’s more important than ever to attract the talent you need. Target advertising to make applicants aware of the opportunities on offer with you
  • Focus your recruitment, offering a simple application process with a quick response. Make sure it’s all accessible via multi device platforms
  • There’s going to be a lot of competition for good apprentices. Use your branding, images and video to help candidates discover more about your company culture, and ensuring that you stand out in the market.

With rising costs in formal education, more young people are investigating apprenticeship as an alternative, and with the legislation and levy now underway, this is the perfect time to kick start your investment in apprenticeships.

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