We try not to run things like the usual hospitality operation – an industry which, unfortunately, has earned a reputation as being not always the best in terms of how employees are treated.
When somebody wants to work with us, we meet with them and go through the role and our expectations in terms of what we are looking for. We would then invite them in for a trial – this all sounds very serious but it has a sincere objective behind it: to make sure they are the right fit for us and to make sure we are the right fit for them. It’s a two-way street after all!
The decision to recruit a new member of staff is taken primarily by the team that any new recruit would be joining. The chefs select a new chef, the baristas select a new barista. We do this as we appreciate that everything we do happens in a team environment – we are fortunate that our crew care so much about what they do and therefore they need to have a say in who will be joining them.
Training and Development
We have a training and development programme in place when people start with us to give a new employee all the support they need to do the best job they can, from the get go.
We meet with our individual staff one-on-one routinely to check in with them, give them feedback and support as needed, and to hear what they have to say about their working lives with us.
We will also work with each person on our team to try and ensure they get what they want out of their time with us. Some of our team have started as kitchen porters and then moved on to cooking with us or serving with us. Some of our service staff have been trained by us to be baristas and moved into our coffee section. We promote high performers to give them more responsibility. We have been lucky enough to have grown as a business, and we absolutely want that same opportunity for everyone who works for us.
Creativity & Participation in the Business
We want our team to participate in the development and direction of our business. We hold team meetings at least every 2 months – where the team discuss what’s going well, what needs improvement, what changes need to be made, what additional resources are required and what ideas people have regarding new additions to the food menu, the drinks menu, our retail range, etc. It is very much a collaboration.
Responsibility & Involvement
We don’t believe in micro-managing. We try and hand over as much responsibility as possible to our staff to make the right decisions for their work. We want people who care about what they are doing and take pride in what we achieve together. We often give people projects to develop – be it a new retail product, a new menu idea or a new way of organising things we do currently. The chefs develop the menu together and it is very important to us that everyone working with us sees their creativity becoming part of what we do.
The Roster and the Hours
We realise our team have lives beyond our cafes and we do our best to ensure that work does not impact negatively on their personal lives.
Hence, we do the roster monthly – this means our team know exactly what their lives will be like for weeks ahead. We try and achieve a fair mix of weekends on and weekends off – and, in general, our ambition is that out of every 4 weeks worked, there is at least one full weekend off and one half weekend off. We try our very best to give people their days off together. And when things come up, we work with our staff if they need to change their days or swap shifts.
We don’t work people into the ground! Our full time staff work a very normal week – between 35-40 hours per week. Even our chefs typically don’t do much more than a 40 hour week. As people’s circumstances change, we work with them – if they need more hours, less hours, extended time off, etc.
We try and be organised as best we can. We aim for a very low stress work environment and we detest chaos.
We share the tips across the board fairly as everyone is responsible for a customer enjoying their experience with us and not exclusively just the service staff.
We ensure people are paid fairly and are paid fully, for bank holidays and holidays. We’ve worked ourselves in places that did not do this for us, a practice that is all too common and absolutely illegal..
Hell’s Kitchen? Heaven Forbid!
Everyone is treated with respect regardless of their role – our kitchen porters are treated with the same high degree of respect as our chefs, and our managers.
We are not one of those shouty-sweary-stressy places that are all too common in the catering industry.
We try and have a fun environment- we want everyone to focus on their work and doing a good job but that does not mean it has to be a workplace devoid of fun. We socialise a lot together, have parties perhaps too frequently and often organise cinema nights, sports nights and a trip to the local.
We are not perfect but we do try our best to make it a very positive place to work. It really matters to us on a personal level; we know it matters to each member of our team and it actually matters critically to our customers and the business overall.
We have written the above to help us with our recruitment, so anyone looking to work with us can learn a little about what we do and what we are about. It is also a statement of our commitment to our team and our business.
It is not intended as a self-congratulatory statement – it is a sincere account of what we feel is so important to us as an employer, a place of work and a business.
After over 3 years, we still have our very first employee working with us. Along with over 50 other staff now on our team! It has been a fantastic journey where we have learned a lot about what it means to be an employer – in that context, it is a journey of self-improvement on an on-going basis.
We do recruit routinely for our growing team and we typically advertise on twitter and facebook.
Right now, we are looking for experienced cooks and chefs to join us for adventures. If you are interested in learning more or know anyone who might be interested, get in touch with a cover letter and cv to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send us your cv if you would like to work with us.