British Trust Hotels
One of the largest privately-owned hotel groups in the UK, British Trust Hotels was started by the fourth Earl Grey, Albert Henry George, more than 100 years ago. His aim - to improve on standards offered by the average British inn, to offer value for money and to distribute a percentage of profits to charity - remains the mission today.
Where: Twenty-one hotels are dotted all around Scotland, plus three in the North of England.
Why work there: As a privately-owned company, this firm prides itself on direct lines of communication between team and senior management. The company promotes from within, demonstrated through a number of recent internal appointments to general-manager level.
Training schemes: The company trains and develops through NVQs at levels 2 to 4, and has a continuous management development programme for general managers. Six hotels have achieved Investors in People accreditation.
Contact: Andrena Wilson, human resources manager
British Trust Hotels, 1 Queen Charlotte Lane, Edinburgh EH6 6BL Tel: 0131-554 7173
Freedom of the Glen Hotels
Freedom of the Glen hotels is a group of four family-run hotels which have won awards for training and service.
Where: Hotels are situated around the scenic Highlands of Scotland.
Why work there: The company has Investors in People accreditation and five stars under the British Hospitality Association's Excellence Through People scheme and Employer's Courtesy Charter. Workers get decent benefits, with trips and events laid on. Although hotel experience is desirable, a friendly personality and interest in people is considered to be more important .
Training schemes: A variety of in-house and off-site training schemes are in place.
Contact: Ruth Sime, human resources manager
The famous five-star Gleneagles resort hotel sits in 850 acres amid breathtaking countryside. The hotel has long attracted the rich and famous, and is also popular with golfers and equestrians. The hotel is owned by global drinks giant Diageo.
Where: In the Perthshire countryside.
Why work there: There is an unusually high staff retention rate. The hotel has world renown and there is a great feeling of camaraderie among staff. A spirit of openness means that guests are even allowed behind the back-of-house area. There are employee forums for everybody to come up with ideas. Perks include cheap golfing membership.
Training schemes: Gleneagles is strong on training, with every new member of staff undergoing 300 hours of training in the first year of service. There is a dedicated food and beverage trainer on site, and staff can take part in an e-learning forum. The hotel has its own in-house training awards scheme which leads to nationally recognised qualifications.
Contact: Judy Donald, resources manager
From humble beginnings 13 years ago, the Macdonald chain has grown from two hotels in Aberdeenshire, to more than 100. In 2001 the group purchased Heritage Hotels in a joint venture with Bank of Scotland. Properties range from baronial castles and historic country houses to chic city hotels. Each has an individual character.
Where: In Scotland there are 13 mainly four- and five-star Macdonald Hotels, three CountryTown Hotels (the economy brand) and four timeshare resorts. The group has hotels throughout the UK.
Why work there: The company aims to be different and welcomes difference and character in its people and hotels. Facilities are designed to attract a wide clientele.
Training schemes: A comprehensive training programme includes the company's own Commitment to Excellence in-house initiative, designed to help staff feel confident, valued and respected. The programme came about from research into employees' and guests' experiences. Topics covered include: branding the customer experience; how to handle situations and challenges; and how to create a whole-team approach. There is also a management training programme available.
Contact: Adele Crothall, resourcing manager
The Town House Company
This privately owned Scottish company has four individually styled four- and five-star boutique hotels. These include Channings and the Bonham, which was voted by Condé Nast Traveler one of the coolest hotels in the world. The brand philosophy for everyone to have a refreshing and memorable experience extends to staff as well as guests.
Where: All located around Edinburgh city centre.
Why work there: The company was recently accredited with an Investors in People award. Staff are made to feel they are "part of a family" and are encouraged to provide the company with feedback.
Training schemes: Training is focused on the individual. Employees are encouraged to expand their skills through a variety of advanced training programmes.
Contact: Jim Sinclair, training and development manager
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
G1 Group is Scotland's largest privately-owned restaurant, bar and club group. So far, there are 21 outlets, with another four due to open by the end of the year. An eclectic portfolio of stylish but value-for-money restaurants includes Glasgow's Corinthian, with piano, cocktail and private members' bars, the flamboyant Arta tapas bar and the chic Gong eaterie, also in Glasgow.
Where: Head office is Glasgow, where the company started, and venues are across Scotland.
Why work there: This is a fast-growing company employing more than 1,000 people. Every function is in-house, from the door stewards to the graphics department. Existing staff may become involved in the whole process of creating new venues. Students are offered flexible working.
Training schemes: A variety of training programmes is offered according to the position. Front-of-bar staff, for example, get full product training, including drinks, wine and service knowledge.
Contact: Susan Wood, human resources
Harlequin Restaurant Group
Owned by entrepreneurs Charan Gill and Gurmail Dhillon, the Harlequin chain of Indian restaurants, which started life in the early 1980s, is moving away from the traditional curry-house style to more contemporary restaurants. Its brand, Ashoka Shak, serves modern menus such as Indian-style tapas. The restaurant count stands at 14, with a further 30 due to be rolled out over the next three years.
Where: Glasgow and the whole of Scotland.
Why work there: Staff come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, and insiders say they feel supported by the company. Those after a career with a fun element may wish to hold out for a position in a planned new brand: Harlequin Curry Karaoke Clubs.
Training schemes: In-house training takes place during the first six to eight weeks of employment. On-the-job education is also encouraged, with more junior staff shadowing senior workers. External training includes elementary health and safety and customer care training.
Contact: Teresa Doherty, operations manager
Montpeliers kicked off with a pub-bistro in the early 1990s and has since evolved as the name behind some of Edinburgh's most innovative eating, drinking and late-night club venues. These include the flagship venue, which reportedly counts Prince William as a customer. Also of note is the newest enterprise, Rick's, a contemporary restaurant and bar with its own guest rooms.
Why work there: Montpeliers venues are high-profile locally. Staff tend to be young, and there is a fun and lively atmosphere. Events, parties and activities are laid on for workers. About 300 staff work at six venues. Two new venues are planned within the next two years and then the brand is to be expanded across Scotland.
Training schemes: The company's own training centre runs programmes for all staff covering customer care, cocktail mixing, waiting skills and management skills, plus there are wine and Champagne courses. Chefs can train for SVQ food preparation and cookery levels 1, 2 and 3.
Contact: Helen Robertson, food development director
This growing Scottish brand has clients in the worlds of finance, IT, management consultancy, leisure and technology. Alba Catering prides itself on using traditional cooking methods and hiring chefs with real flair. It aims to create bespoke catering and hospitality solutions to match clients' requirements.
Where: Alba has 13 contracts in central Scotland.
Why work there: People with entrepreneurial leanings, a passion for food and tons of enthusiasm will have a chance to make a difference.
Training schemes: Staff are encouraged, and financed, to gain nationally recognised qualifications. Managers can gain experience and training in all aspects of operating and developing a business.
Contact: Simon Harrison, director of operations
Edinburgh Catering Services
Although part of the city council, Edinburgh Catering Services is excited about new opportunities following new legislation allowing it to take catering contracts from the buoyant private sector. The department, which caters for council departments at 160 sites, including education, social work and health, is well placed to work for private clients - it currently provides catering for functions at the beautiful City Chambers building.
Where: At 160 sites around Edinburgh. These include education and social work departments and the Lothian Health Board.
Why work there: Working for the council means decent employment practices, including pension schemes, plus a commitment to education and development. Employees have flexible working hours ranging from just two a week to full time.
Training schemes: Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland courses are available to staff in subjects including health and safety, interview skills, delegation and motivation, and counter presentation and merchandising,
Contact: Jane Lethbridge, personnel administrator
Edinburgh Catering Services, 33 Fleming House, Kinnaird Park, Newcraig Hall, Edinburgh E15 3RD Tel: 0131-669 5767