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Best places to work 2017


If the HR team could single out just one of their great initiatives, however, it would be the two-and-a-half year management programme that aims to equip junior managers with the tools to embrace long-term careers within the company. This has helped with succession planning, reduced the need for ad hoc train- ing, helped promote brand consistency and reduced external recruitment costs. In addition, recruitment costs have dras- tically reduced by 90% and the trickle-down effect from employees learning to manage and in turn make their team feel recognised and rewarded has reduced staff turnover to 25%.


16


THE TROUT HOTEL In a nutshell Privately owned four-star 49-bedroom hotel, refurbished in 2010


Location Cockermouth, Cumbria Employees 73 Average staff turnover 5.4% (full time), 29% (including part-time) Annual sales turnover £3.5m year end July 2015 (last full year of operating)


The owners run this business with the mantra that a healthy work-life balance is maintained by sensible shift patterns and by sticking to contracted hours. Staff are offered flexibility even at Christmas, while any co-working cou- ples can take their annual leave and days off together. If that’s not enough, everyone gets biannual bonuses linked to net profit. However, the management ethos was put to the test when in December 2015 the Trout was flooded during Storm Desmond and was forced to close for seven months. Happily, the jobs of most employees were safeguarded. To keep people motivated, the owners offered staff placements with a sister business and during the closure everyone benefited from training and development together with site visits. The team was involved in every step of the restoration and had significant input when it came to planning specific areas within the business. Insiders say this inclusive attitude has generated a sense of ownership among staff. The business, in turn, benefited from retaining loyal employees. However, some 23 part-time staff did leave, which accounts for a higher than normal staff turnover percentage. It’s evident that the hotel’s style of manage- ment and the consideration it has for its peo- ple has established a cohesive and committed team, with 95% saying they want to do a really good job. This year, their commitment was recognised in a gold award from VisitEngland and a rosette from the AA.


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GIBBON BRIDGE In a nutshell A 30-bedroom privately owned hotel


Location The Forest of Bowland, Lancashire Employees 34-38 (seasonal) Average staff turnover 6% Annual sales turnover £1.7m As a family-run business, the focus at Gibbon Bridge has always been on work-life balance, fair pay and career progression for staff. The


46 | The Caterer | 28 April 2017


The Gibbon Bridge hotel team


company strategy for a successful working environment has been to create a community. Thought, for instance, has been given to the staff living accommodation, which is located in the beautiful grounds around a picturesque pond in a peaceful part of the estate. Owner Janet Simpson has also just invested in a fibre SIP line to upgrade the staff Wi-Fi connection. Other amenities include gym facilities and bikes, while three meals a day and laundry facilities are available at a mini- mal charge, even when staff are on days off. As the Purple Cubed survey reveals, the result is a loyal and happy team. Gibbon Bridge scored a performance rating of 90% on being a company that treats its people well and 85% on creating a team that respects each other. One member of staff sums it up: “I have worked here for 34 years. Janet is inspirational as a boss and wouldn’t ask you to do anything that she wouldn’t do herself. She is fair, hard- working and has created a great environment to work in that we all feel proud of.”


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THE KITCHIN GROUP In a nutshell Tom and Michaela Kitchin opened the Kitchin restaurant


in 2006, scooping a Michelin star in 2007. In 2010, the Kitchin and chef-proprietor Dominic Jack launched Castle Terrace restaurant, which also won a Michelin star a year after opening.


More recently they have opened the Scran & Scallie gastropub. Location Edinburgh Employees 113 Average staff turnover Undisclosed Annual sales turnover Undisclosed


The Kitchin Group’s listing here is partly down to husband and wife team Tom and Michaela Kitchin, who are described as hands-on propri- etors. Their passion and ambition are reflected throughout the strong team, with 88% of staff surveyed saying the leaders are inspirational and 85% saying they are motivated to do a good job. This is certainly a slick operation, demand- ing trust and loyalty from a close-knit team. Guests, for instance, can watch Tom and his brigade through a glass window in the Kitch- in’s dining room. As well as leaving no room for disharmony, the team need to be able at all times to display their professionalism. That’s because in line with Tom’s nature- to-plate philosophy, all the meat and fish is bought in whole and the butchering and filleting is done in-house daily


“One team; one dream,” is a telling com- ment from an insider.


19 Roberto Pajares


THE AMPERSAND HOTEL In a nutshell Privately owned, chic 111-bedroom hotel, opened in 2012


Location Harrington Road, London SW7 Employees 65-70 Average staff turnover 3-4% Annual sales turnover £9m


This super-stylish five-star boutique hotel has remained vibrant and exciting since it opened five years ago. To maintain the momentum, general manager Roberto Pajares is driving an “own and deliver” culture among employees. “This puts guest satisfaction at our heart by giving staff the freedom to make decisions and gets things done,” says Pajaras. “It’s what our customers say about us that really counts.” There is certainly a strong emphasis on cre- ating a positive work environment, with 83%


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