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Caterer.com People Awards 2018: what makes a winning entry?

We talk to 2017 Learning & Development Award winners; Brewhouse & Kitchen.

The 2018 Caterer.com People Awards recognise the bravest and the best in hospitality recruitment, retention and development.  The awards are now open for entries and the deadline is 25th June.

There are 13 categories including Learning & Development Programme. If you have an L&D programme to be proud of, now’s the time to get the recognition you deserve! Enter here.

Winning formula

In 2017, our Caterer.com People Award for Learning & Development went to Brewhouse & Kitchen, the ground-breaking restaurant and brewery. We spoke to Hayley Connor, People & Development Manager, who told us about the company’s origins, their L&D programme and the joys of winning the award.

“We were so proud to be shortlisted against some of the biggest names in our industry, and to take this award back to the team was awesome,” beamed Hayley. “It really gives us something to shout about, and has inspired us to raise our game for next year and become even better at what we do.”

Revolutionary concept

Brewhouse and Kitchen was founded in Portsmouth 2012. The concept was inspired by the craft beer revolution and the Brewpub trend in the United States. “We really wanted to create an authentic beer experience at Brewhouse and Kitchen, linking back to our friends across the pond but also championing beer from around the world,” Hayley Connor said. Each of B&K’s Brewpubs has its own brewer, and brews a minimum of six core beers, a brewer’s choice and four seasonal beers; in total nearly 300 different beers, one of the largest portfolios of any brewer in the world.

Crafting future leaders through L & D

Learning & Development is a major part of Brewhouse and Kitchen’s employee offering. “To us learning and development is all about craft and becoming the master of your trade,” Hayley explained. “We want to inspire those entering our industry to love and master their product knowledge whether that it’s beer, food, wine or spirits. We want our servers to understand service is so much more than process. It’s about emotional intelligence. We want our chefs to know they are extremely skilled and to build their confidence. We want our managers to grow into the future leaders of our industry through personalised leadership development. No matter what position they are in, there will always be something new to learn and most importantly they will be proud of their new industry-leading knowledge and use it to inspire others.”

Brand-hearted and guest focused training

Over the past two years B&K have been developing beer specialists, who they describe as ‘The Keepers of Beer Knowledge’ in their Brewpubs. Their mastery beer training program not only teaches the practicalities of brewing but also serves to inspire trainees. “Specialists grew so passionate that they wanted a route into brewing,” Hayley said, “that’s why we developed our Brewers Academy, to give our team members a clear progression into the Brewhouse. It also helps us to develop and retain a future brewing team that are truly brand-hearted and also guest focused individuals.”

The Brewhouse & Kitchen training programme lasts between 12-16 months and Hayley was keen to mention that the programme was also opened up externally. “We have a lot of talented home brewers knocking at our door wanting a way to get into the brewing industry. This year we have four apprentices. They will spend the next 12 months visiting hop farms and malters learning about raw ingredients. They’ll secure week long placements with large scale brewers and will learn and master cellar management, HACCP, recipe development, brewing sciences and plant maintenance throughout the program.” Every month, apprentices attend a classroom session and are expected to brew at least twice a week with their head brewer. They get involved in collaborations, and run their own beer festivals. “It is a fun packed and challenging program,” says Hayley. “At the end they are practically observed and sit the IBDs General Certificate of Brewing.”

Embracing the Apprenticeship Levy

Brewhouse & Kitchen have thoroughly embraced The Apprenticeship Levy since its introduction last year. “The levy really made us think about the strategy behind our apprenticeship programmes,” says Hayley. “We recently launched our Up! Management development program and we’ve just launched our “Yes Chef” level 2 commis chef apprenticeship which will give people progression to our “Plate Up” sous chef development programme. To us, the levy is money well spent, and we’re thankful for the new standards.” B&K are currently chairing the Brewer Apprenticeship Trailblazer initiative and their Brewers Academy has just become an accredited apprenticeship programme. “We are also making full use of the government funds,” Hayley added. “We want to put as many people as possible through our structured apprenticeship programmes.”

Hayley admits that even though the reaction and feedback from trainees has been positive, there’s still room for growth. “Being such a young business our teams have recognised that we are still developing our L&D offering, but appreciate how far we have come in a short period of time.”

With several strong entries in the Learning & Development category the 2017 Caterer.com People Awards, it was a tough decision for the judges to choose a winner. They were looking for employers that offered structured and effective programmes, with well communicated and implemented initiatives that increased employee skills and engagement. Brewhouse & Kitchen excelled in these areas and we congratulate them on their inspiring approach!

Enter now.

The closing date for this year’s Caterer.com People Awards is June 25th.The awards dinner will take place on October 1st at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London.

To find out more and to enter visit www.caterer.com/people-awards