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Cateys 2018: Education and Training Award – Tim Foster

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Cateys 2018: Education and Training Award – Tim Foster

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The training approach of Yummy’s co-founder Tim Foster channels the memorable HR mantra of entrepreneur Richard Branson: “Train people so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

The judges were blown away by Yummy’s training platform, Putting People First, a seven-stage programme designed to take anyone from potwasher to owner or operator in under three years. Entirely designed by Yummy, it’s constantly updated to fit the changing business and combines an online learning platform with on-the-job training that is managed in-house.

Every month the whole business is invited to attend two-day bespoke sessions, which address topics such as social media training and time management. Progress is recorded online and Yummy passports issued to track individuals’ development.

In November 2017 the Putting People First platform was made available free online, allowing the entire hospitality sector to share best practice and generating praise for Foster as “selfless”, “generous” and “far-sighted”. To date, the workbooks have been downloaded by more than 4,300 companies and individuals – from worldwide organisations and big-name hotels to smaller casual dining groups and independent operators.

The results at Yummy speak for themselves. In the past 12 months its staff retention hit an impressive 79%, compared with 43% the previous year. More than 80% of current staff (144 of 179 employees) were recommended to Yummy by existing staff.

Since he founded Yummy in 2008, Foster knew that if the business was going to succeed, it would need to invest in a reputable training scheme with an online platform that would allow innovation and the creation of new courses to be driven by the team. The online academy is now accessible through an app; it offers video learning, group sharing and message boards.

Yummy’s Somers Town Coffee House works with the New Horizon Youth Centre, which is its neighbour in Euston in London. Yummy offers homeless teenagers at the centre a shelter for two weeks to get them off the streets and kits them out with fresh clothes. They are then trained at Yummy’s academy for two weeks and, if they can demonstrate basic skills and turn up to work on time, they are employed full time. Around 50 homeless teenagers have been taken off the streets and employed by Yummy directly or by others as a result.

Yummy is a leader in education and is so confident in its ability to nurture and retain staff that it shares its training programmes with the rest of the industry. It not only benefits and meets the needs of young people wanting to see progress in their careers, but it also gives opportunity to those who have nothing.

What the judges said

“Totally in tune with the business, with initiatives that have achieved results. There is a wonderful sense of fun about being ‘awesome’, with high staff retention and the majority of staff coming through recommendations. The company created bespoke training programmes and shared them with the industry.”
John Cousins

“Tim has displayed an innovative and fresh approach to training. It is a truly selfless act to offer the platform free to all users. Tim’s support for ‘kids’ and helping them into employment and training is phenomenal.”
Kulsum Hussin


The shortlist

Tim Foster Yummy Pub Co

Gordon McIntyre City of Glasgow College

Kellie Rixon Rixon Associates

Leon Seraphin Beyond Food Foundation

The judges

David Cochrane Chief executive, HIT Scotland

John Cousins Director, Food and Beverage Training Company

Alberto Crisci Founder, the Clink

David Foskett Principal associate, David Foskett Associates

Kulsum Hussin Founder, Welcome Skills

David McKown Head of training and quality, University of Sheffield

Julia Sibley Chief executive, Savoy Educational Trust

Sara Jayne Stanes Chief executive, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

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