26 May 2022

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Career in hospitality? What sort of person does it take? There’s the Tom Kerridge way!
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Career in hospitality? What sort of person does it take? There’s the Tom Kerridge way!

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Serving behind a bar is not a simple job – it needs real skill to do it properly

Hospitality. What does it mean? How do we all see it? What is certain is that it requires some very specific attributes to go into it successfully.

We all like to go out to restaurants and pubs or bars and coffee shops; it is generally where we get our “social fix”. We can meet with friends and make new friends and eat and drink in ways which we probably do not do at home.

But of course there is another side to the coin. While some of us like to go into a nice restaurant and sample nice food or perhaps a special bottle of wine or beer, someone has to be there to provide it for us. What is more is that we expect whatever is provided to be of good if not top quality when it is delivered to us at the table.

In France the word “restauration” stands for a profession – the profession of being a restaurateur. It is a word which just does not exist in English – we do not have a restauration profession named as such. The French take a pride in this profession and they do a lot of training to become proficient at it.

That is not to say that British people who work in pubs and restaurants do not have training, but let’s face it, the level of training is not the same and the level of pride in what you can achieve is not as high either.

So what makes a good hospitality worker, whether the boss or the lad who carries the suitcases to the bedrooms, or who does the washing up? The answer is you have to have an inner desire to please others and treat them like kings and queens – your customers for whom nothing is too much trouble. I expect we have all been to hotels or other hospitality venues and have been greeted by miserable personnel; they do not smile, they do not jump to it when you approach or beckon, they make no real effort to make you, the customer, feel valued. And this is great shame because there are far too many people like that and drawing the short straw to be served by one of them can be a miserable experience!

But today there is a new initiative in getting people into the hospitality business. Well known chef Tom Kerridge has brought out a short video showcasing some of his properties but a lot of his staff who tell how they work together. It all moves a bit fast but is quite entertaining and you can find it here:

The purpose of the video is to seek new staff and it is a novel and interesting way of doing so. What Kerridge is looking for are skilled staff who are prepared to work hard and who have something valuable to bring into the business.

It seems that the UK is currently really short of experienced hospitality staff and this is put down to Brexit and all the foreigners who have gone home and cannot come back because they are not considered to belong to a skilled profession. It is really very unfortunate because what these people bring into the hospitality trade is something quite delightful.

However hospitality could be in for something of a rough ride as there is a growing belief that prices are going to increase significantly in 2022, not least with VAT going back to its original level of 20%. Restaurants are not going to absorb the increase, are they? They have got past rents and accrued costs and debts to get sorted out and it will be the customer eventually who has to pay, along with the increase in minimum wage and inflation generally.

The staff shortage may resolve itself if a lot more businesses go out of business.

Adrian Leopard     16-11-21

Photo Simon Karemann

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Adrian Leopard & Company is the trading name of Alderney Offshore Ltd, a company registered in Alderney, Channel Islands number 1220.

Address P O Box 1027, Alderney GY9 3AS

Registered Office Seldomin, Longis Road, Alderney GY9 3YB.

Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

Telephone enquiries may be made on 08449-4-08449 or 01684-230360.

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