This week, The Caterer has a cover interview with restaurant royalty, Jeremy King, who together with business partner Chris Corbin founded Corbin & King, operator of restaurants and hotels including the Wolseley, newly opened Bellanger, and the Beaumont hotel.
As you'd expect from someone who has been at the top of his game since opening Le Caprice in 1981, King has plenty of wisdom to share.
Here are 10 gems on subjects ranging from how to treat customers, to keeping up with new technology, and his attitude to the term "human resources".
1) "The moment staff see someone walking through the door of a restaurant or a hotel as a source of income, the business is really doomed. You have to look at people looking through the door as an opportunity to give someone a good time."
2) "Time and time again I've been questioned by staff, asking if we really need to take on new technology, why everything can't stay normal. I remember putting up a big sign saying ‘change is normal'."
3) "When greeting people, any gratuitous questions should be cut out. Too much of our business these days is about going through the motions."
4) "You can go into a big hotel in January and get a room for £350, which would cost you £750 in May and £950 in June. Our guests return because they know what they will pay. The strength of our industry is on loyalty."
5) "As far as restaurants are concerned, we have maintained a very simple ethos of opening establishments that we'd like to go to and hope that people will enjoy. We treat people as we would like to be treated."
6) [On PR and social media] "I like to use the word narrowcast, rather than broadcast. It's getting to the people who you actually want to come to your restaurant, rather than telling the whole world. What I'd want the papers to say is that ‘so and so were seen at the Wolseley having breakfast'. Other people, curious intellects, will say ‘what's the Wolseley?' and they'll find out."
7) "Restaurateurs roll up their sleeves, they get their hands dirty, they are seen in their restaurants every day."
8) "The phrase ‘human resources' makes me think of Soylent Green, the film about humans being fed to humans in order to keep them going, so we call it ‘personnel and development'."
9) "The biggest plight of our industry is that decisions are made from the boardroom rather than from the floor. It is an easy decision to cut 10% on the floor, looking that staff member in the eye, who you are going to cut as part of that 10%, it's a very different thing."
10) "The ability to advance through the restaurant business now makes it a fantastic career. Would have I allowed my child into the industry in the 1980s? Probably not. Now, definitely."
Jeremy King: operators should pursue excellence rather than profit >>
Paul Brackley leaves Beaumont hotel as general manager >>
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