People first: take care of your team and they’ll take care of everything else

“It’s pretty simple: you are nothing without your team.” – Chef Gilles Perrin, Culinary Director of Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai

Looking after your team matters.

In this industry, we spend many, many hours at work: it makes a big difference when you work somewhere that makes you feel valued and respected.

Running a restaurant, margins may be tight. But it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, or time, to show your staff that they’re important to you. And doing so will pay off, in their loyalty and the length of time they work for you.

We asked some chefs and industry experts what they do to make their team feel valued:

Provide time to enjoy life outside of work

“All Stolen Bike employees are given seven weeks' paid annual leave. School holiday childcare takes a huge chunk out of parents’ wages. For me, seven weeks feels fair; otherwise employees are working just to cover care for their children.” – Ryan Gregorash, Managing Director and Head Chef, Stolen Bike Catering

Develop skills for life

“Being able to communicate in a shared language is critical - no matter what that language is. When you invest in teaching your team a shared language, the positive impact goes beyond individual employees to your culture, and to your guests.” – Rachael Nemeth, Co-founder and CEO, ESL Works

Offer opportunities to learn - and have fun!

“We have a daily culinary training calendar, so every day the team is learning something new. We throw a ‘battle of the chefs’ in it, which is really fun and gets everyone involved, from dishwasher to cook. Each person receives a mystery basket to create a meal from, and half way through we throw in a surprise ingredient to use. It fosters creativity and teamwork - and keeps everyone on their toes!” – Joe Tripodi, Director of Food and Beverage, Buck Hill Falls

Finally, you could try something a little more unconventional and offer your team a financial reason to do their best at work every day...

“All of our staff are paid a living wage and they all participate in profit-sharing. After all the bills and necessary savings have been covered, the staff get a share of the profits based on the hours worked. We know that not everyone can wait until the end of the year for a bonus so we pay this out in a staggered way at the end of each quarter.” Juliet, Somerville

What ideas have you tried or are considering? We’d love to know - email us at or tell us on social media using #FairKitchens.