6 ways to hire and retain quality staff for your hospitality business

Hiring the right people and keeping them motivated to do well is an essential element of a successful hospitality business. Here are our top innovative tips, from experts, for bringing in the talent you need and to retain your new staff.

The early stage of the relationship is key, so get the onboarding right

“When you find the right person, onboarding them and looking after them is as important as the [recruitment] process, and it’s so often missed. It’s like, ‘Ah fantastic, you’re here, let’s get you on the stove’, rather than taking the time to say, ‘This is who we are as a company, these are the people you’re going to be working with, this is how we’re going to look after you.’ You spent all that time trying to find someone, treat them amazingly well. The early stage of that relationship is key.” 

Ben Purton, executive chef and founder 

Thyme and Plaice


Make room for people to grow 

“We often have six month plans of where we see people today and where we think they’ll be in six months. We create positions for people who need that extra promotion, even if they don’t exist, because it helps us retain them. And it helps them feel rewarded and they see that we care and we can identify that they’re doing well.”

Amanda Fuller, Group Executive Chef

Sam Prince Hospitality Group



Focus on a person’s mentality, not their skills

“For me it's really important to hire the right people, not the right skill. The skill is something that can be taught but the person, their mentality, you come with that. It's very hard to change the way someone thinks.” 

Adrian Vigus Brown, Executive Chef 

Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts Riverbank London



Give valuable rewards

“If any of the staff are mentioned in comments online, or if a certain amount of specials are sold, they get a reward. We do employee of the quarter, which is voted for by all of the staff. There is a winner from the kitchen and a winner from front of house. They generally go to a Michelin-starred restaurant or a restaurant that’s popular at the moment, with two managers, and have a nice lunch.”

Anna Williams, Senior Sous and Head of Pastry 




Streamline your menu

"I think the rotation of your employees throughout the different areas of your kitchen is key. It gives them the knowledge and the skill set to better their careers. And also cutting that menu down from maybe 50 items, down to maybe 15, something more manageable so that it gives you the opportunity to hone in on those skills and crafts and offerings to make for a better customer dining experience."

Kimberly Brock Brown, Chef and National President 

American Culinary Federation


Get everyone involved to create ore ownership

"Prioritize work life balance for everyone; including yourself. I also find that taking a team approach to the menu helps keep everyone engaged. Senior team members get to be creative and learn menu development alongside junior team members who may not always get to see that process. Developing the menu together helps create more ownership and consistency within the team as well, which ultimately leads to staff retention and a smoother running kitchen.”

Bri Campbell, Head Chef

Restaurant May



These methods  are easy to implement in your own  kitchen, but can have a big impact on your team members. Making them feel valued, respected and happy to keep contributing to the success of your hospitality business. 

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