Time is ticking…says Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association…the time for action is now

May 7th 2015 may seem a long way off but the reality is this; in campaigning and lobbying terms, the countdown has begun towards the next general election.  By the time of our Hospitality & Tourism Summit in June 2014, each of the key political parties be making the finishing touches to their manifesto.

Hospitality and tourism was not featured in any of the manifestos at the last general election.  Now, though, we have a shot at inclusion.

Thanks to key BHA-led initiatives like the Olympics and led by the BHA, key initiatives such as the Olympics and the Big Hospitality Conversation – an initiative which demonstrates our industry’s passion and commitment for helping to tackle youth unemployment across every region of the UK and firmly setting our industry on the UK plc’s agenda for growth – our political capital has never been higher.

Our mission is to ensure that the UK hospitality and tourism industry receives recognition as best in the world.  To help us achieve this it is vital that we continue to focus on recruiting and growing the best talent, capitalising and building on the successes of the Big Hospitality Conversation.

Over the past three years our industry profile has grown thanks to the efforts of the industry. 2014, too, has got off to a fast pace.  Despite all this, the hospitality and tourism industry now have just four short months to make a significant impact.

First and foremost we need to work as one; pooling our expertise, resources and ideas to future-proof our industry.  Embracing and capitalising on innovation and technology will support this mission and the young people who form the backbone of our industry will be key to this process.

Over the coming months our mission will and must be to make our goals a reality.  We have a unique and unprecedented opportunity to make our voice heard.  We must take action now…

  • Inspire the next generation:  join the Big Hospitality Conversation, the biggest job creation drive the industry has ever known – and work with us to achieve the ambitious target of creating 300,000 new jobs by 2020
  • Continue to work collectively and as one voice:  one fine example of action-in-progress is the Campaign for Tourism.  This industry-led and politically-motivated campaign aims to ensure tourism is positively referenced in the campaign manifestos of all three political parties for the general election.  The Campaign for Tourism is supported by many of the 250,000 tourism businesses across the UK, with the BHA at the forefront.  If you haven’t already, sign up now!
  • Adopt your MP:  lobby your local MP; encourage them to find out more about our industry by spending a day with you and your workforce

Time is ticking and the time for action is now.  This is a key moment for the hospitality and tourism industry.  By working collectively and making our collective voice heard, we have the opportunity to make a difference not only for now, but for future generations www.bha.org.uk

Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality 2014

Established. Respected. Free

We are delighted to announce that the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards will be open for entries from the first week of April 2014.

The Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, now in their fourth successful year, are the only established and recognised employer awards in the hospitality industry and are free to enter.

Respected by hospitality employers and employees as a truly credible mark of a great employer in the industry, the awards have grown each year to involve hundreds of employers and thousands of employees annually. The awards represent great employers from all sectors and are judged only on the views of their employees. Entry is free and simple via an online employee engagement survey and each employer who completes their entry will receive a free engagement report giving details of their employee responses across a range of key engagement areas.

The Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2014 results include a Top 50 Best Employers in Hospitality ranking and a series of category winners, recognising not just the best employer overall but the best in each sector and in each employer grouping too. This makes these awards genuinely representative of the industry as a whole and acknowledges the full range of best employers within it.

This year we have stepped up the quality even further by partnering with respected employee engagement experts People Insight, who have developed a wonderfully agile, relevant and impactful employee survey for the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2014. This new, bespoke survey contains refined questioning which gains deep, detailed insight into your employee engagement levels and at the same time keeps the survey short and simple to complete. A bonus for any employer, especially those with a large number of employees to survey! We are delighted that People Insight’s involvement with the awards has led to a far more accessible and meaningful entry process for employers and employees alike.

People Insight come with great provenance in the sector and count an impressive list of industry employers amongst their clients, including Marston’s Inns & Taverns, Itsu, Firmdale Hotels Group, Virgin Active, Pitcher & Piano and LivingWell Health Clubs.

Tom Debenham, Managing Director of People Insight said of their involvement “We know that the best employers in any sector are the ones that engage their staff, develop their potential, and motivate them to give of their best. Nowhere is this more important than in the hospitality sector, where employee skills, attentiveness and attitude are so central to the customer experience.”

“People Insight are therefore delighted to support the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality 2014, help showcase great hospitality employers in terms of their approach to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.”

Are you a best employer in hospitality? Make sure you enter and find out! Look out for announcements here in the group as we move towards launch.

If you have any questions please contact kathy.dyball@caterer.com

Follow us on Twitter and join in the conversation #BestEmployers2014

Future Talent – A Post by Ian Burke, Website Director, Caterer.com

You can’t ignore it…even if it is only just audible, the low hum of economic optimism is in the air. If the gloom really is lifting, then hospitality employers will face fresh challenges as the job market starts to shift in earnest. Woe betide any employer who isn’t already preparing the ground to cope with staffing demands when things really start to move.  Are you planning ahead?

Perhaps now more than ever, customers expect not just a good service, but a great experience. Good enough simply isn’t good enough anymore. Outstanding hospitality businesses work hard to attract and retain staff who can deliver on that expectation. They tend to be the best employers in the industry too and candidates know it.

There has and always will be a painful skills shortage in the sector, but successful hospitality employers understand that the talent is absolutely out there for those who think carefully about how to engage with it. As the economy starts to warm up slowly, employers need to move fast to position themselves as the best in the business.

At Caterer.com, we work closely with all sizes of hospitality business to assist them in recruiting quality candidates, enabling them to communicate the right messages through their campaigns with us. Without fail, the employers with the most effective recruitment campaigns are those who have done the groundwork, really thinking about what makes them the best employers they can be.

Inside their company, these employers encourage a pipeline of young managers within the business through development schemes. They invest time (if not budget!) in meaningful training. They have considered what makes the best talent stay with them …or leave.

Looking outside their organisation, these businesses think about their employer brand and know what makes them a great place to work, clearly showcasing this in their advertising and communications. They define what makes their top employees tick and then target their advertising at similar candidates. They understand what their future talent wants from an employer and they work hard to provide it.

The great employers in the business think creatively about where their future talent will come from. Students, women returners and those currently working in other sectors are just some of the groups they consider. They are often involved with the many wonderful organisations that reach out to these audiences on behalf of the industry.

As we look ahead through 2014 and beyond, we can be certain of one thing; the demand for great staff will be higher than ever. Large or small, the most successful hospitality businesses will have positioned themselves well to recruit and retain the top talent in the industry, not just this year, but way into the future.  Now is the time to plan and take action. Where’s your future talent coming from?

Caterer.com are holding an employer event on Future Talent on 3rd April 2014 in London. If you are a hospitality employer and would like to find out more about this free to attend event please contact Fabian.caton@caterer.com


The Red Lion Great Sausage Roll Off is back for 2014

After the success of the inaugural event last January, Claire Morgan & Angus McKean of The Red Lion, Barnes are hosting their second “Great Sausage Roll Off” on January 28. The contest is a simple one, an invitation to chefs from London and beyond to create the ultimate sausage roll.

Once again, the competition will be expertly compered by good friend and local of The Red Lion, beer and food writer Melissa Cole. Last year’s competition saw some chefs using rather ambitious flavour combinations and others using luxury ingredients such as truffles, lobster and even mackerel.
The more outlandish creations were given the thumbs-down by judges Kate Spicer of The Sunday Times, MasterChef judge and writer Charles Campion and chef and restaurateur Johnny Mountain. To the shame of the English chefs competing, the trophy for this most British of delicacies was carried off by a Frenchman.

This year the competition boasts MasterChef winners both amongst the competitors and the judges, with returning head judge Charles Campion being joined by celebrity MasterChef winner Lisa Faulkner. Tim Anderson, the 2011 MasterChef winner who is now running Japanese restaurant NanBan, will be one of the contestants vying to wrench the trophy from the hands of its current holder, The Masons Arms in Battersea.

Completing the line up of expert judges are National Chef of the year Hayden Groves and food blogger Danny Kingston aka Food Urchin.

Other confirmed entrants are prestigious pubs such as The Wykenham Arms in Winchester , The Bull in Highgate, Chef Paul Merrett’s The Victoria in East Sheen, The Malt House in Fulham, The newly opened Running Horse in Mayfair, The Cricketers in Hartley Wintney and Salt Yard’s Famous Opera Tavern to name a few.

Angus McKean commented: “Everyone loves a sausage roll – and last year’s selection was a combination of delicious, interesting and, quite frankly, just odd.  I’m hoping for more of the same this year.

“I’m very proud of our food in the Red Lion and it’s an inspiring experience to allow other chefs on to my turf to fight it out for Britain’s most superb sausage roll.”

What promises to be a very enjoyable evening will start at 7pm and spectators will be able to sample some sausage rolls from each competing chef as they emerge from the kitchen. There’s no need for tickets – just turn up to grab a spot.

For more information contact, georgina.wald@fullers.co.uk – 02089962198 or allie.hunter@fullers.co.uk – 02089962175 and follow the conversation on Twitter #RollOff

The Princes Trust deliver great hospitality programmes

The Prince’s Trust is delivering a Get into Hospitality programme in Central Bedfordshire, as well as a Get into Cooking programme in Padstow. This programme will recruit people between the ages of 16- 25 who are passionate about developing a career within the industry. They receive two weeks training where they learn all about the hospitality sector whilst developing key skills, such as, communication, team working, confidence building and other key skills that support them in the role.

The programme offers employers-

  • Support recruiting the right young people. We have a recruitment team who spend a lot of time working with employers to identify young people who may lack the confidence to go straight into employment. The programme develops them so they are work ready.
  • They complete relevant qualifications to support them in the role.
  • They receive six months follow up support.
  • Off the back of coming onto our programme the employer has a committed member of staff who is keen to prove themselves.
  • If you can offer two week work placements you can ‘try before you buy.’

It would be great to hear from employers who can offer work placement opportunities, there is no commitment to offer the young people employment but if they do well it would be great if the organisations could keep them in mind for future positions.

For further information on the Get into Hospitality programme please contact Aimee on 07717 686 491- aimee.stein@princes-trust.org.uk

For further information on the Get into Cooking programme please contact Shelly on 01752 521051 – shelly.rodgers@princes-trust.org.uk

British cooking revolution celebrated with launch of prestigious ‘Chef Stagiaire award’

An inspiring new experience launching in January 2014, the Chef Stagiaire Award seeks to uncover the cream of the new wave of young chef talent currently emerging as the British cooking revolution continues apace. Entrants are all aiming to win the ultimate experience of Stages in some of the finest kitchens in the world.

Twenty of the most innovative entrants will battle it out in the Chef Stagiaire Award, each one taking part in a 1 week Stage at one of twenty of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in the UK [details below]

2 finalists will emerge who will go head to head in the final Stage at 2 Michelin star ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’ at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London, where Executive Chef of The Fat Duck Group, Ashley Palmer Watts, will judge them both on technique, attitude and ability throughout the 1 week Stage.

The winner will undertake an unforgettable prize of an all expenses paid, 2 week trip to work with the pioneering  Dominique Crenn, the first female American Chef to be awarded 2 Michelin stars, at her ‘Atelier Crenn’ restaurant in San Francisco before flying on to the immense Six Senses ‘Zighy Bay Resort’ in Oman, voted Best Restaurant in the Middle East 2012, for a further 2 weeks of creative cooking as well as enjoying the opulent accommodation.

An elite team of widely celebrated British Judges will form the panel to assess the initial paper applications which shortlist the entrants down to the final 20;

•             James Mackenzie of The Pipe & Glass, Yorkshire [1 Michelin Star]

•             Richard Turner of Turners, Birmingham [1 Michelin Star]

•             Robert Kirby, Chef Director of Lexington Catering, London [Cateys Chef of the Year 2013]

For more information click here or alternatively you can call 0800 012 6949 or email awards@chefstagiaire.com


Caterer.com are proud to support the British Hospitality & Tourism Summit

Caterer.com are proud to support the British Hospitality & Tourism Summit, which takes place on Thursday 5th June 2014 at the Novotel London West.

The British Hospitality & Tourism Summit has established itself as the premier agenda-setting diary date for senior Hospitality & Tourism professionals. The Summit in 2013 was the biggest yet and strengthened our industry’s call to government and partners – to unite British Hospitality & Tourism leaders, across the entire UK. The Summit unites the British Hospitality & Tourism industry bringing together senior leaders from all leading organisations including airlines, hotels, restaurants, entertainments, sports, energy, tourism and hospitality.

The Summit in 2014 will build upon the progress already made and demonstrate that Hospitality & Tourism touches upon every UK industry.

This event aims to provide delegates with a wider business understanding, along with engaging and informing hospitality professionals by sharing and discussing key issues which the industry is facing. To attend the Summit there is a fee of £500 for Non BHA members. If you are a BHA member you will receive a £250 discount.

Register now to secure your place!

Caterer Breakfast Forums – A post by Roy Walker, National Account Manager, Caterer.com

This week saw another round of my Caterer Breakfast Forums where key figures involved in hospitality recruitment meet to discuss the challenges faced by employers in relation to attraction, recruitment, training and retention of hospitality employees. These are held in an informal environment in small groups with up to 8 people at each Forum so the attendees can shape the conversation applying the topics to their businesses and get to know piers in the industry at a personal level. My most recent sessions were on 3rd and 4th December at Dean Street Townhouse – where they do a great breakfast!

These particular sessions focussed on a recovering economy with a hospitality industry expanding exponentially resulting in an inevitable shrinking talent pool. How are hospitality employers going to overcome an increasing skill shortage in the market in 2014? Over the two days representatives from Carluccio’s, Zizzi, Nobu, Cote Restaurants, D&D London, The Restaurant Group, Caprice Holdings, Bill’s Restaurants, Elior UK, Byron, KFC and Greene King attended.

Many topics were discussed including Apprenticeships and how hospitality can give back to society by simply being a means to a job for young people and on the other hand how Apprenticeships can be the start of a career path to those actively passionate about hospitality. With 60% of hospitality candidates saying that career progression is the number 1 reason for applying for jobs; to become an employer of choice businesses must use training and structured progression plans as a means of attracting talent and retaining talent. A big topic was how individual employers could be more open to “wildcard” candidates who may not be the “ideal candidate” on paper but have the soft skills to succeed – recruiting for culture and training for skill. On a more general level hospitality as a whole needs to do more to attract talent into our industry to make it appealing as a serious career – not just a part time job ¬–  by getting into schools, colleges and universities more. We like to keep it real at these events too though – it’s not just about the wider industry challenges; attendees share thoughts about everyday issues such as ATS systems, overtime pay, incentives and much more.

The Caterer.com Breakfast Forums will return in 2014. If you would like to get involved please let me know.

Follow me on Twitter: @Roy_caterer and follow the conversation #CatererBreakfast


South West Chef of the Year 2013 winners are announced at 10th Anniversary Presentation Dinner

The 2013 winners of South West Chef of the Year competition were announced on Monday 28th October at the 10th anniversary presentation dinner hosted and sponsored by Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Nathan Cornwell from Lucknam Park, Bath, has been crowned the prestigious title of overall South West Chef of the Year 2013 after also winning the Young Professional Class.  Andy Chan from Thornbury Castle, Bristol, was awarded the crown in the Professional Class, beating five other hopefuls to the finish line in a year which saw the highest number of entrants and of an exceptional standard.

Finalists were invited to Exeter College where they were provided with a mystery box of ingredients and given a specified time to prepare two dishes using its contents.  Nathan Cornwell prepared roast loin of venison, squash purée, Savoy greens, red wine shallots, blackberries and girolles, followed by milk chocolate panna cotta, poached pears, chocolate powder and caramelised walnuts.  Andy Chan cooked pan-fried Sea Bass, sautée girolles, roasted celeriac and vanilla velouté, followed by dark chocolate millefeuille, raspberries, hazelnuts and honeycomb which saw them crowned winners of the 2013 classes.

The winners of two further classes were also announced at the presentation dinner.  The Junior class for aspiring young chefs aged 11-16 was won by Maia English of The King’s School, Ottery St Mary Devon who prepared caramelized Brixham scallops with celeriac purée and crispy pancetta; and the winner of the South West’s Best Dish class for home cooks was Steve Ashworth of Taunton, Somerset, who cooked chicken and potato pie with kale, cider braised carrots and beetroot.

Four further awards were presented on the night:
Best Use of Regional Produce – awarded to Beverley Milner Simonds, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset

Best Menu – awarded to Nathan Cornwell, Lucknam Park, Bath

Best Presentation – awarded to Harriet Pecover, Jack in the Green, Rockbeare

Best Dish – awarded to Camilla Waite, Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow
for the dessert she prepared at the final of chocolate moelleux, hazelnut crumble and orange

The dinner served at the Presentation Dinner was prepared by three eminent guest chefs all previous winners of the competition: Matthew Downing (Sous Chef at Magdalen Chapter, Exeter), Tom Scade (Head Chef at Tides Restaurant, Rock) and John Walton (Head Chef at Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow).

South West Chef of the Year is renowned for recognising the skill and dedication of professional chefs, up and coming young chefs and amateur cooks. Over the years, the competition has highlighted the very high standards that exist in the hospitality industry in the South West, helping raise the bar for all involved and improve the profitability and sustainability of an industry that is so significant for the region’s economy.

In addition to their skills and experience, the competition enables competitors to demonstrate their understanding of and commitment to the diverse array of high quality ingredients produced in the South West of England whilst simultaneously raising awareness of its diversity and accessibility.

Despite the decision to bring more competitors to the finals, the judges – some of the finest chefs in the South West) still found the task of narrowing entries down an extremely difficult one.  The standard of entries and the menus submitted grows each year as competitors vie for the prestigious and widely recognised title ‘South West Chef of the Year’. Led by Michael Caines MBE, the judging panel also included a number of other top chefs: Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Mark Hix, Chris and James Tanner, Simon Hulstone, among others.

“We were so impressed with the creativity exhibited by entrants this year in putting together their menus and recipes,” commented Michael Caines MBE. “Entrants put a great deal of thought into their dishes, demonstrating their skill and dedication to creating interesting and balanced menus based on the wonderful array of produce available to them here in the South West. We look forward to see what next year brings!”

Click here for further details.
Follow us on Twitter @SWChefComp

Working collectively as an industry can help to deliver more jobs, says Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association….she explains the logic

In the period between 2010-2012, the British hospitality industry accounted for 27.7% of total UK net jobs growth.  This, let’s remember, was a period of recession, yet in spite of this, the hospitality and tourism industry employs 10% of the UK workforce, equating to over 2.7 million people.  Indeed, Britain’s fourth largest industry, hospitality delivers £53 billion annually to the economy in Gross Value Added (wages and profits).

The secret of our success? Working collectively as an industry; sharing a voice and working towards a common goal.  By acting as a community, key players in the hospitality and tourism sector are making our voice heard, making an impact in government, to other industry sectors, to families planning their holiday and business people looking for a great restaurant or a simple bite to eat.

The newly-launched Campaign for Tourism is a fine example of our industry working together, and demonstrates the impact of a collective voice.

The aim of the campaign is to ensure MPs in all political parties are aware of the huge importance our industry plays in the economy.

The politically-focused Campaign for Tourism, led by the British Hospitality Association, includes 33 representative bodies from all aspects of the tourism industry including the Tourism Alliance and attractions, historic houses, heritage sites, B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, palaces, language schools and destinations.  To launch the Campaign, letters were distributed far and wide, aiming to trigger debate and set out key areas for policy change.    Already letters of support are being received from key political parties.

As the leading agenda-setter of the hospitality and tourism industry, the BHA acts on behalf of a 40,000 strong community of members and we are firm believers in the power of collective action.

Another example of our powerful and vibrant community in action is The Big Hospitality Conversation, the industry’s biggest job creation drive to offer opportunities to unemployed young people in the UK.  New job pledges are made at regional Big Hospitality Conversation events which take place across the UK.  In the past twelve months over 1,200 industry representatives have attended these events.  With support from large leisure and hospitality organisations as well as independent ones, plus support from the Prince’s Trust Business in the Community, these events provide the opportunity to translate a real economic challenge – youth unemployment – into a business challenge.  In a further collaboration, the BHA has partnered with Barclay’s to support our goal of creating 60,000 new jobs in the sector by 2015.  Together, our organisations will use collective power and flagship employability campaigns to help young people get ready for work and find quality apprenticeships and job opportunities.

These are just a snapshot of some of the work being carried out by the BHA on behalf of our industry, members and those working in the catering community but there is always room for new members and new ideas; room for those who interact with hospitality on a daily basis to collaborate for change.  We must always strive for more.  These examples demonstrate that by working together, by pooling our skills, resources and opportunities and focusing on the next generation, the hospitality and tourism industry can and will ultimately achieve the status and recognition it deserves in the UK from the government and all major political parties but ultimately creating jobs for the next generation and beyond.

For further information on becoming a member of our community click here.

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