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6 min read

Unlocking the ability to attract and engage new talent pools

The scarcity of hospitality candidates is expected to persist for the foreseeable future, so it is crucial for companies to showcase their successes, the value of their business and to fully utilise all of this as an effective tool to engage the new talent pools they need.

Image of chefs having a conversation back of house

The negative perception of the hospitality industry has emerged as a significant obstacle that has played a key role in the hospitality talent shortage.

We catch up with Katie Fox, Recruitment Manager at Brunning and Price who shares her experiences and provides insights on how to help tackle the hospitality industry’s challenges and areas employers can not only attract new talent pools but can contribute to retaining your existing team too.

The core hiring challenges for the hospitality industry

Brunning & Price (B&P), a pub and restaurant group consisting of 80 venues and employing over 3,000 individuals, sets itself apart by adopting a progressive approach to staff recruitment, retention, training, and welfare and utilises its B&P is actively working to challenge and overcome negative perceptions of the hospitality industry.

“We are aware that a lot of people in and outside of the industry think of hospitality as a place just for a short-term job. We’re trying to change that image and show it’s a place for a career with an abundance of opportunities.” says Katie Fox, Head of Recruitment at B&P.

“We want to challenge the wider stigma and show that it’s an amazing industry to be part of. It’s rewarding in so many ways, from making friendships to gaining qualifications, and ultimately making going to work not feel like work.”

Engagement and wellbeing initiatives to attract new talent pools and retain your current team

B&P has actively prioritised the engagement and well-being of its entire workforce. Last year, they appointed an Employee Engagement and Reward Manager with the specific goal of better understanding the needs of their staff and providing the necessary support, which internally and externally sends a strong message that they are an organisation committed to looking out for the welfare and satisfaction of their employees.

They have now trained more than 70 wellbeing ambassadors in mental health awareness and this year will be focusing on back of house support, ensuring Head Chefs and Sous Chefs have had the appropriate training and awareness to help support their mental and physical health.

The B&P ambassadors are from across the business who help support their wider teams with employee engagement and wellbeing. The group is developing the role to include other training sessions and, along with the managers, teams will soon have access to the whole suite of training.

In addition, B&P provides free counselling services through an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This comprehensive program also grants access to a wide range of well-being resources available through the Online Wellbeing Portal. By offering these supportive resources, B&P ensures that its employees have access to the necessary tools and assistance to prioritise their mental and emotional well-being.

Creating a culture of appreciation through rewards and recognition

When it comes to rewards and recognition, B&P prides itself on ensuring their team receive well-deserved rewards for their invaluable contributions. This includes initiatives like staff discounts which is available for those in their Head Office and across all their pubs, and further recognition is provided for long length of service, which in the ongoing increase in the cost of living is of great value for their team.

And the rewards do not stop there. As well as B&B discounts, their reward and recognition system also extends to offering discounts across a diverse range of retail providers, further enhancing the perks available to their dedicated team.

As part of their commitment to rewarding their team, B&P actively encourages and values feedback from their team members. This feedback mechanism ensures that the company remains attentive to their employees needs and can adapt its approach accordingly. An excellent example of this is their response to an annual survey conducted last summer. In direct response to the feedback received, B&P implemented measures to enhance flexibility and choice for their employees. Additionally, they have placed a renewed emphasis on the importance of breaks, allowing their team to take time away when needed.

By actively listening and responding to feedback, B&P shows its dedication to creating a supportive and accommodating work environment. This approach is far reaching as if their employees are happy at work its likely their family will notice and their customers too and therefore creating a word of mouth comms channel encouraging others to want to join B&P.

The power of prioritising your employees

B&P make looking after their employees a top priority. They know that without them, B&P wouldn’t be the success that it is today and their efforts to ensure their team are happy is evident in their video, which illustrates the true working life at B&P.

From apprenticeship to Head Chef

Tom Puttock who joined the group as an apprentice, progressed to Head Chef at of one of its flagship pubs, and who now has his own apprentice. Impressively, he has worked across 32 of the group’s pubs and has been part of the opening team for 14 of them.

Brunning and Price top performing managers

Top performing managers, discuss what they love about their roles, the level of autonomy they have, and how their careers have progressed.


Katie Fox reflects on the videos saying:

“As a sector we have a responsibility to shout about what we do and what better way to do it other than putting our fantastic people in the spotlight and hearing their real-life stories.”

Planning to grow your talent pipeline

By specifically showcasing the success of the opportunities, journeys and awards won by employees your business can continue to create and build honest relationships with wider communities as well as valuing your current workforce.

The hospitality industry is constantly adapting and evolving and some of the challenges shared across all industries but to maintain a competitive edge, and to continue to attract new talent, inspiring candidates to want to be a part of the industry, showcasing what we do have to offer, and highlight the vast opportunities available could be by far the biggest thing the hospitality can do to engage and attract new talent pools.

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