Search starts to find the most multi-lingual hospitality workplace

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United kingdom

Jean-Christophe Novelli learned English on the job after moving to the UK from France 29 years ago
Jean-Christophe Novelli learned English on the job after moving to the UK from France 29 years ago
Does your hotel, restaurant or pub boast a large number of employees for whom English is their second language and who can communicate with guests from different countries in their mother –tongue yet also converse perfectly with other guest and employees in English?

With guests from around the globe set to visit the UK later this month for the start of the London 2012 Olympics, there has never been a more important time to shout about your staff’s communication skills. 

Which is why we’ve teamed up with publishers Collins to start the search for the most multi-lingual workplace in Britain. 

If you think you have the highest number of people with different native languages who communicate with guests and each other in English working at your business, we want to know about it and help celebrate it. 

The competition, which launches in conjunction with the release of Collins ELT’s three new self-study packs - Hotel & Hospitality English, Workplace English and Workplace English 2 - is designed to highlight the value of language learning, particularly in service industries. 

Industry backing​ 

Chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Antonio Carluccio, who both learned English while working in the UK, are both backing the search. 

Novelli, who arrived in the UK 29 years ago without knowing any English, went to work in a French-speaking restaurant, but believes it was a mistake to go there first and not improve his language skills. 

“Even though it was a fantastic establishment with many accolades, I was not learning English and this was against my own goals and principles.” 

The chef went on to work in another restaurant where he was the only native French speaker, forcing him to learn English, and now he insists  that all his staff, wherever they are from, speak English to each other.

 “It is very important for all my staff to speak in English, and only English, and I do not allow employees to communicate in their native languages, as it can be rude, excluding others. I insist on everyone speaking in English for clear communication,” he said. 

How to enter​ 

To nominate your workplace for the title Most Multilingual Workplace in Britain visit, and include the following details: 

  • Name of company and location/branch 
  • Number of non-native English speakers, who are competent at English
  • Names of each speaker’s mother tongue
  • Contact details (phone number, email address)

The winner, who will receive the title, a trophy, medals and a Carluccio’s hamper,  will be announced in November 2012. 

For full terms and conditions visit

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