It is the first year that casual-dining chain TGI Friday’s and steak specialists Hawksmoor have made the list, which is derived from a Sunday Times survey of over 246,000 employee opinion polls and an evaluation of each organisation’s key statistics, processes and policies.
Will Becket, who co-founded the four-strong, London-based Hawksmoor chain in 2006, said: "We try incredibly hard to be a great place to work and to help people build careers in an industry often known for short-term employment, high staff turnover and low pay.
“The reality is different - this is an amazing industry to work in and we're unbelievably proud to be the highest ranked hospitality company in the list. There's still plenty more we can do and hopefully we can keep improving."
Further down the list, Manchester-based restaurant, bar and pub firm Living Ventures, which employs just over 1000 people, moved up from 28th, while Connect Catering (14) and Inventive Leisure (25) both rose from 36th and 26th place respectively.
The biggest mover on the list was Red Carnation Hotels, which operates 14 properties and has 848 employees. The group jumped an impressive 47 places from 71 in 2012 to 26 this year. It was also the only privately-owned, family-run business to make the top 100.
Red Carnation’s managing director Jonathan Raggett said: “Being a family-run hotel collection, our employees are at the heart of our whole operation. Every effort is made; from our wonderful human resources team through to all our dedicated managers, to deliver the best trainingand development for the entire staff, ensuring career progress and objectives are being met and most importantly that they are happy and feel fulfilled in their respective roles.
“Our staff’s satisfaction is what ensures we live up to and embody our guest philosophy of ‘no request too large, no detail too small,’ and their happiness and motivation is paramount. So, it is with great pride that we have been acknowledged not only by the Sunday Times but also by our loyal staff.”
Aside from TGI Friday’s and Hawksmoor, other new hospitality and catering entries to the 2013 Sunday Times 100 Best Companies list include Latin American chain Las Iguanas (79), the rapidly expanding gourmet burger group Byron (92) and Plymouth-based contract caterer TnS Catering Management (94).
Fellow caterer Bartlett Mitchell was also a new entry, placing 74th. HR director Ingrid Newbould explained the firm’s decision to enter the list this year. “Our entry this year has really been focussed on developing teamwork, our flexible working programmes and the interesting benefits packages that we offer our team members,” she said.
“It struck a chord with both the assessors and our employees and we’re delighted to have increased our position as a result. However, the Best Companies scheme is about so much more than recognition – it also helps us to see what issues we need to work more on.
“We plan to enter again next year and as well as continuing to do more of the same great activities that have helped us achieve this recognition, we’re also going to get increasingly creative in training and developing our team. A Best Companies listing is quite a motivator to achieve even more every year.”
Completing the hospitality and contract catering businesses on this year's list were the Savoy (39), Alan Yau's casual-dining Thai chain Busaba Eathai (54), and the Belfast-based pub group Botanic Inns (78).
Best Small Companies
Only two hospitality operators made The Sunday Times' 100 Best Small Companies to Work For list. Hawksmoor placed 36, while the four-star, 230-bedroom Cavendish hotel in Mayfair came in at number 63.
General manager Neil Braude says: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded this title for the fourth year running. To be the only hotel listed in the Top 100 Best Small Companies is a real testament to the sheer passion and hard work the team put in.
“The key to our success is investing in our people, communication and empowering our employees. And happy employees deliver great service to guests.”
The full Sunday Times 100 Best Companies list was topped once again by commercial radio business UKRD Group, while second place was a new entry in the form of savings service the ‘Save Britain Money’ group.