There are over 100,000 hospitality job vacancies in the UK right now . There is an all-out war for talent. Hungry punters are out in droves but the majority of restaurant & bar businesses are being forced to cap their trading potential due to massive staff shortages.

Catchy punchlines and posters like this are awesome for a laugh and certainly get clicks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t solve the recruitment issues facing the King, the Clown and everybody in-between .

Brexit aside, storm clouds have been brewing over the sector’s attractiveness as a career option for years. Hospitality jobs are often seen as that ‘thing’ you do while you work out what the hell you really want to do with your life. 

Many brands lean into this as it allows for more flexibility in managing their biggest cost line. But this is where the crux of the issue lies. Treating your workforce as your biggest cost and not your biggest asset doesn’t exactly promote an appealing career path.

Whether you have 1 location or 100; follow these 5 tips to ensure your people feel like your greatest asset and not your biggest cost


1. Be mission driven

There are a hell of a lot of easier ways to get the bag than opening/running a bar or restaurant. Chances are you got into this game because you have a real passion for the energy, the buzz and the experiences you can create. Bring your WHY to the top of the agenda and the front of your daily conversations.

Great people have passion, they want to work with passionate people and for organisations who strive to accomplish something more than how many covers they can turn in a night.

From Day 1 at Mad Egg our mission was to create ‘Remarkable Experiences’ – sounds like a typical wishy washy corporate statement but bear with me.

It started out as a method to communicate our key differentiators to our team. Our USP (beyond a market leading product) is the awesome experiences we create for each customer. At a £10 price point, we felt that if we could offer the same attention to detail, engagement and communication as a £100 per head joint, it would blow our customers away.

The mission statement then grew to mean much more, it extended to the experiences we could create for our own people. No matter how long or short their tenure with us, we make sure they have a remarkable experience and are given the opportunity to grow, develop and have a sh*t ton of fun .

If you can clearly articulate your purpose and truly live it, you will attract passionate, high performers who will further instil a mission driven culture back into your business.  


2. Create a clear path for career progression

Purpose is a great motivator but progression is the key to retention.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Café of 20 or a Chain of 2,000 people; invest the time to create a realistic and transparent path for employee progression.

From Kitchen Porter -> General Manager -> Central Operations. What is expected at each level? How can a team member get there (and in how long)? What salaries and benefits can they expect as they level up? How will you support their journey if they throw their hat in the ring for a promotion?

A clear career development path is paramount to recruiting and maintaining a high performing team. The next generation of leaders are entering your business today. Give them the time, training and support to grow and they’ll pay it back tenfold.


3. Offer a market leading compensation package

Benchmark the pay rates and benefits offered by your category leaders. Where possible, match those paving the way.

If you can’t afford benefits like private health insurance or pension contribution then bolster your offering with cultural wins like an extended holiday pool, set/flexible schedules and guaranteed time off (i.e. Christmas/Boxing Day).

Promoting (and actually living) a culture that favours a work / life balance is not common in hospitality. It will give you a recruitment edge and is a sure-fire way to reduce LTO and burnout.

You don’t need to break the bank to compete but you do need to put your people first. 


4. Champion your champions

Bring success stories front and centre. Internal progression wins like; the newly promoted GM who started as a Kitchen Porter or the Area Manager who started as FOH staff show tangible growth opportunities.

Recognise and celebrate those people who embody your values and your mission on the regular; the Servers who get shoutouts from customers in reviews and the Chefs voted as team member of the month by their peers.

Each of these stories should be chronicled and public facing – on your website, on your social media profiles and on internal comms/newsletters.

Putting your people to the front of your brand’s image is a powerful way to let prospects know where your priorities lie.


5. Don’t over complicate it

‘Hospitality exists when you believe that the other person is on your side’. – Danny Meyer, Founder of Union Square Hospitality Group (Shake Shack) .

This quote is . It encapsulates what great hospitality and great business in general is all about.

Don’t over complicate things. When your customer genuinely feels like your objective is to make them have a positive experience – that your #1 priority is the satisfaction they are getting from your product or service, then you have nailed it.

Danny’s quote holds a strong internal message too. Show your people you’re on their side. That they are your business’ greatest asset not the biggest cost. 

If your actions as an employer demonstrate to your people that you have their backs and genuinely care for them; you will be rewarded with a passionate team, a strong culture and being top of the list for the next wave of hospitality heroes entering the industry ‍ ‍ .

Hopefully you take some inspiration from this post! As always feedback is always welcome. Drop us a line at to let us know your thoughts or to talk to one of us about how Nory can help you build a more engaged workforce.