Hand Picked Hotels has become the latest hospitality company to take steps to tackle the industry’s recruitment crisis by introducing a four-day working week for their chefs.
The privately owned company of 20 country house hotels said that it had introduced the initiative in order “to support a greater work-life balance for kitchen teams and attract more skilled professionals to the industry”.
Launched as part of a wider series of recruitment and retention programmes driven by the group’s new director of food and beverage, Graeme Nesbitt, the four-days-on/three-days-off initiative is being trailed at Ettington Park hotel (pictured) in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Nesbitt, who joined Hand Picked Hotels in April 2018 from his previous role as general manager at Lygon Arms hotel in Broadway, Worcestershire, said: “The hotel and hospitality industry has long been vocal about the growing shortage of skilled, trained chefs and the gap is widening – it is still very much a case of supply outstripping demand and as an industry we have to work harder to turn heads.
“At Hand Picked Hotels, we are committed to exploring ways to challenge the perception that a healthier attitude to balancing commitments at work and at home can’t be achieved for chefs, and our new four-day working week underlines that.”
Nesbitt explained that having spent the early years of his career as a chef working in the kitchens at Gleneagles in Auchterarder and in London at the Dorchester and Claridge’s hotels, that the kitchen is one of the most rewarding areas of the business to develop skills and knowledge.
“With a portfolio of award-winning restaurants where quality and consistency is paramount, chef and kitchen team retention is just as critical as attracting talent in the first place – it must go hand in hand.”
Other training and development programmes at Hand Picked Hotels which it is hoped will help with the retention of staff include a new digital training platform, a Restaurant School to train front of house teams in essential skills and a Chef Academy.
Business that have previously introduced four day working weeks for their chefs include the two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Baines in Nottingham and the Devonshire Arms hotel in Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire.