Why the Hospitality Industry needs more mentors!
By Amit Joshi, Restaurateur
The fantastic, fun, and fascinating worlds of restaurants and bars are facing a maelstrom of challenges at the moment, but therein I believe lie many new opportunities. One of these opportunities both for individuals and those already involved in restaurants and bars, are mentoring programmes.
Among the myriad of threats buffeting the bar and restaurant industry, are higher business rates, the rising cost of produce, increasingly expensive property (especially in London) and the striking lack of people entering the industry. With the market for bars and restaurants increasingly crowded, the competition for talented employees has never been greater. These factors mean that for many businesses in hospitality, finances are strained. When this happens, many businesses (in my opinion incorrectly) cut money spent on the training and growth of the people within their organisation.
Having worked in hospitality now for more than 25 years, I’ve survived through numerous challenges in my time and learnt significant lessons.
My conclusion, is that people are at the heart of any good business, and investment in their future is key to the success of any organisation.
I think that mentoring programmes are going to become vital for the restaurant industry. They are important not only for the businesses but also for the staff, mangers, and owners of the future. For the individual, it is an opportunity to get a ‘lay of the land’ and speak to someone who can give them an insight into what to expect. This can range from pay at differing levels and hours that can be worked, to an understanding and deeper clarity on which direction they want to go in.
Is the life of a chef right for them or would they really be more suited to a front of house role? Do they really want to go through the stress of owning their own business or would they rather work for a large corporation? A mentor can also potentially unlock the connections to their dream role. If the mentee is truly passionate and dedicated, then introductions can be made to the mentor’s network, which could lead to a position for the mentee.
For the businesses and mentors involved in the programme I think that the experience can be equally rewarding. The mentor gets to meet talented individuals who are looking to work in their industry. They get to understand what entrants are looking for on a personal level as well as a professional level. The mentor also learns what stops people entering their businesses and what they can do to attract potential employees. Put simply, it is an amazing insight into the recruitment needs and dynamics of an up and coming generation of individuals into an industry.
For me personally, the chance to be a mentor is incredibly exciting! I have been lucky enough to have had some success and I really want to convince people that hospitality is a fantastic industry in which to be involved. It can be hard work, and I wouldn`t recommend it to someone starting out without a passion for people. However it can be incredibly rewarding, and if you have strong attention to detail it can also be lucrative.
There is no argument that things are going to be harder in the short term, but if you can be bold and true to your beliefs, your staff and the customers you serve, you can be successful. In the meantime, the more of us working at senior levels within the industry who can start mentoring, the more quickly we can drive more new talent to enter our wonderful sector.
Amit Joshi is Founder of The Jones Family Project https://jonesfamilyproject.co.uk and a Mentor for Connect Mentors