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Best places to work 2017 7

RUDDING PARK In a nutshell A privately owned 90-bedroom country house hotel with

two golf courses and two restaurants Location Set in 300 acres near Harrogate Employees 245, plus a large casual database for events and functions Average staff turnover 38% Annual sales turnover £14.5m

Business is set to ramp up a notch when Rud- ding Park’s £9.5m spa opens in May. In the meantime, it is pushing two new incentives. The first focuses on giving middle and jun- ior managers formal managerial training. The hotel is working in partnership with a local college to support Chartered Management Institute qualifications and a tutor is based at Rudding three to four days a week. It’s proving to be a rewarding project, not just for those involved, but also the senior team who are acting as mentors and the man- aging director and HR manager who are also engaged with the programme. Feedback is good, with 66% of staff saying the company is “brilliant” at personal development and 32% saying they do it well.

The second initiative is the F&B-led Rud-

ding Passport, aimed at new staff. The step- by-step programme boosts staff knowledge of products and confidence in providing service. There’s even a reward after its success- ful completion. As it’s tailored to the individ- ual’s requirements, the aim is to use it as a development plan going forward.


THE KOH GROUP In a nutshell Founded in 2009, the chain of Koh Thai Tapas restaurants recently

underwent a management buyout Location There are 13 restaurants in Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire Employees 298 Average staff turnover 3.43% Annual sales turnover Undisclosed One of the attractions for staff at Koh is that there is a proven path to progress, even for

Adam Handling at the Frog

Rudding Park

those joining at entry level. Nobody illustrates this better than the chief operating officer who started with the company just five years ago as a waitress. Certainly, the Koh Group is hot on incen- tivising its staff. As well as managers nomi- nating their ‘spotlight’ employee, staff are encouraged to nominate each other for being ‘awesome’. The latter is done across the whole group, creating a culture of peer-to-peer recog- nition and prizes for the top performer. Staff also gain recognition for being named in guest reviews and helping to hit Trip- Advisor targets. And to keep things fun, there are a number of incentives encouraging staff to upsell and meet targets, such as Food Bingo, Koh Olympics and Fantasy Foodball, with rewards such as recognition and vouchers. As to whether it works, Koh’s extremely low staff turnover of 3.43% says it all. There is also a consistent score on the Purple Cubed survey of more than 90% who feel they are part of a team that respects each other, their manager, being in a good environment and working well with a team to produce good results.


THE FROG In a nutshell Award-winning chef Adam Handling opened his urban-chic restaurant

the Frog in 2016, and uses Asian flavours and techniques in his cooking Location The Old Truman Brewery, London E1 Employees 20 Average staff turnover 0% in the kitchen and one or two front of house since opening Annual sales turnover £1.4m

Although it’s not been open for a full year, it’s hard not to be impressed that labour turnover at the Frog is a resounding 0% in the kitchen. That degree of loyalty is compounded by the fact that all of the brigade have been working with chef-restaurateur Adam Handling for between two and 10 years. Most of the origi- nal front of house team remains too. Over the next couple of months, the Frog will be recruiting 47 new members of staff to work in both the original site and the new Frog restaurant in London’s Covent Garden, which will open later this year. The Frog’s hiring process is simple, but has proven effective in that Handling and senior management take into account personality over skill. In Handling’s view, junior members of staff can be taught skills over the course of their career, but enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and a belief in the familial environment at the restaurant is crucial from the start. Clearly the warm, sociable atmosphere makes the restaurant an attractive place to work. Some 95% surveyed reckon it’s a good environ- ment and 100% said they were proud to work there and that the company treats them well.

10 44 | The Caterer | 28 April 2017

CEME CONFERENCE CENTRE In a nutshell A purpose-built conference venue

Location Rainham, close to the City of London Employees Nine Average staff turnover 5.5% Annual sales turnover £850,000 This small conference team has achieved huge recognition – not least earning Gold Stand- ard accreditation from the Meetings Industry

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