Tom Kerridge: "We're trying to change the conversation about what a career in hospitality means"

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Tom Kerridge launches recruitment video to change the conversation about what a career in hospitality means

Related tags: Recruitment, Tom kerridge, Restaurant, Chef

Tom Kerridge says he hopes the release of a new recruitment video for his restaurant group will help show more people that hospitality can offer long-term career prospects.

The two minute video, released today (16 November), features staff members working in various roles across the Kerridge portfolio, which includes the two Michelin-starred flagship pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow; the one Michelin-starred The Coach pub, also in Marlow; Manchester restaurant The Bull & Bear; and Kerridge's Bar & Grill in London.

"We want to try and change the conversation about what a career in hospitality means," Kerridge tells BigHospitality​.

"With the video, we’re trying to get it across to people that this is an exciting industry to be in. That if you find the right space, then you can achieve loads."

The video includes several employees that have each been with Kerridge for more than a decade, with some clocking in close to 20 years with the group.

"We don’t want to soften the reality of working in the industry and say that it’s an easy life," continues Kerridge.

"Hospitality, particularly at top level, is hard work, but the rewards you can get out of it are huge. It can be a real vocation.

"Not everyone wants to just go to work, earn money and be off at the weekend; and if you want something more from life then hospitality can provide that opportunity."

Kerridge adds that he hopes the video might encourage a larger conversation within the industry about promoting hospitality as a job for life.

"As an industry, we all want to showcase it as a great place to come and work, but the one thing I do worry about is we sugar coat it all, and tell people that it’s just another job.

"The people that do well in hospitality, like in any industry, are the ones that put in 100%, and if you do that you get so much back as a life experience. That’s what hospitality offers. You can travel the world; you can be involved in exciting events; you meet famous people.

"There’s loads of that going on; it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. And I do worry that sometimes the hospitality industry, while we’re trying to show everyone that it’s a wonderful industry to be in that we go too far the other way and not express that you get out of life what you put into it and hospitality really does reward that."

A perfect storm

Kerridge describes the ongoing labour shortages within the sector as being the result of a perfect storm caused by the pandemic and Brexit. 

"It's something the sector has been facing for a long, long time," he says. 

"Some employees have moved out of industry, either in the short or long term, to explore other career options. Many, though, are workers from Europe who have returned home as a result of the pandemic and are now unable to come back.

"The biggest issue right now is Brexit, and the fact those employees are not allowed back because they’re not seen as being able to have a skilled visa. It’s leaving the industry incredibly exposed and in a very fragile position.  

"So many business in the sector are operational through overseas staff, who have a vast skillset that is the spine and backbone of the industry."

With regards to his own business, Kerridge says he is recruiting across the board. 

The Coach, in particular, has been impacted by ongoing staff shortages, and is currently open for five days rather than seven, as it would usually be. 

However, he adds that across the business, his approach to recruitment is not simply focused on filling in empty vacancies.

"We're always looking for people with the right enthusiasm across the board; it's a mindset we have always had.

"For example, we have a full roster of sous chefs at The Hand and Flowers at the moment, but if someone came forward wanting that position then we would take them on and create that role, because that can cover roles that are open further down the line.

"It’s not just a case of filling the gaps, it’s about looking at who’s coming through the door and utilising the skillset they’re bringing."

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Chef

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