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Updated: Jun 22


This brilliant quote from W. Somerset Maugham is so true. I've been around long enough to have seen the difference between winning and losing. One of the wisest men I've met shared a very simple mantra... ‘Surround yourself with winners, not losers’. Seems too obvious and yet too many businesses hire the wrong people. It doesn't matter the seniority of the position, be it an Operations Director, General Manager or cleaner, once you compromise you're as good as finished at least for the next month, period or quarter or until they fail probation (or will they!). Many businesses don't even honour or manage the probationary period so a bad hire continues to take a wage, poison the culture and destroy what reputation you have left. 

Some of the biggest names in the industry get the recruitment process wrong. They leave inexperienced management to make the most important and costly decision to chance. Sure they’re experienced in running a restaurant, hotel or bar but do they have the expertise and wisdom to look a candidate in the whites of the eyes and ask the right questions? I’m not sure they do.

You wouldn't hire just anyone to look after your children, so why let just anyone look after your business, your guests and your teams? 

What's more when you make a bad recruitment decision, everyone notices and everyone suffers. It can even prompt your brightest talent to consider moving on.

So how does it happen? Hiring managers, MDs and founders don't always ask the right questions, recognise the character behind the rehearsed answers or consider and assess their compatibility with the team. Some don’t even get the right references. It was Steve Jobs who used to carry out the ‘beer test’ with all potential key new hires. (Instead of the rigid, formal process of hiring, he’d assess whether the person he was interviewing was someone he’d go for a beer with and conduct the interview over a drink. Obviously they had the skill set; but how did they interact with other humans? Were they authentic? Would they make or break the team? You get the gist).

Let me be clear an interview should be the best interview that candidate has ever had. That’s needs to be every business leader’s objective and they should invest in making this a reality.

That means providing comprehensive training and adopting a simple yet effective process for their teams to follow. And then there’s the small matter of an exceptional induction and industry leading training (more about that next time).

Of course it's not easy, if it was I wouldn't be writing this post and teaching people how to do it for a living. But I can tell you the most successful brands are uncompromising on selecting the right talent. They wait until they've satisfied their obsession for detail, competence and heard only good things about the candidate. 

Culture can only be created by damn fine people who believe in a cause, a team that constantly strive to be better, those in search of perfection, understanding they may never achieve it but are prepared to do whatever it takes to get close.

How did giraffe become a breeding ground for so much talent? Russel Joffe was a great talent scout. The evidence? giraffe's finest are now running some of the best restaurant’s groups in the UK. How did Loungers become one the most admired and successful brands in the last 20 years? Alex Reilly and Jake Bishop surrounded themselves with talent, administered an uncompromising dedication to culture with a ton of training & development to boot.

This is not exclusively for established brands, I'm proud to be involved in a number of independents that have exceptional people, culture and consistency in service, food and hospitality.

There's no big secret, just uncompromising recruitment, plenty of training and never settling. The reward or should I say the applause for their efforts...

High retention, a healthy EBITDA and founders that love spending time in their business.

It's funny thing, if you only settle for the very best you very often get it.

"10 Hospitality, elevating brand and guest experience through training, culture and motivation.” 


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