Perspective of a head chef
I have always tried to be approachable and always be available to support my team. As a head chef, I have to recognise the need to invest in my team. Even though I am now head chef, I never thought too much about positions in the kitchen. The idea of a strict hierarchy for me is very old fashioned. I never use the word “staff” — everyone is a team member, and I always try to lead my team by example.
Retention is a major issue facing the industry. I often wish that every company would create a fulltime role or a plan dedicated to “people”.
Everybody should try to make sure the team are included right from the beginning. That is so important because in hospitality people can be thrown in at the deep end without any guidance, only instructions.
I have worked alongside amazing young talent and watched a lot of them leaving the industry because they didn’t see hospitality as a valid career choice. Management teams have a crucial role in showing young people why hospitality can be a rewarding career — which should be sold not as dream but as part of an efficient plan.
Giving employees incentives to stay, offer additional training and a career pathway.
Team members can become mentors and trainers within a company training model and gain the skills to create their own training sessions. We should work hard to ensure our young employees are taken care of and given clear goals. We should be able to open doors of opportunity. It is so important that young people understand what goes on across the business as a whole from purchasing to table.
As well as leading by example, the industry has to recognise that technology has much to offer — if it is focused and simple to use. As a retention platform “Thrive” creates an opportunity for dialogue and connection in a more relaxed way for employees to find out how they could move within the business, learn and share their skills and approach mentors, giving feedback and creating a communication channel that is often missing. It doesn’t replace the inclusion I am passionate about; it supports and facilitates that inclusion. Thrive could be the starting point of a massive change in hospitality, braking barriers and building relationships. Ultimately everyone in the team can feel part of a family, a plan in which they are involved.