Pub companies inundated with job applications
A number of nationwide pub operators have told The Morning Advertiser (MA) that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and ensuing redundancies have led to a spike in job applications at their sites.
Brewpub operator Brewhouse & Kitchen, for example, received hundreds of applications for a trio of managerial vacancies after Boris Johnson called last orders in pubs on 20 March.
“We held off for about a month towards the end of April and we were deluged with applicants,” chief executive Kris Gumbrell told The MA.
“For one of our sites we had over 200 applications for the role and had to shortlist it down to 70, the calibre was very very high.”
On top of this, a spokesperson for Birmingham-based operator Mitchells & Butlers added: “In July we noticed, on average, a fourfold increase in applications for advertised front of house roles.
“For example, a bar staff role for All Bar One in Liverpool attracted over 500 applications. We’ve also seen similar significant increases in applications for our management and back of house roles.”
A spokesperson from Hawthorn Leisure added that both the volume and the standard of applications for recently advertised head office jobs had been extremely high. “We saw a big spike in applications from prospective pub partners and managers when pubs reopened, however that has since returned to a more normal level,” they explained.
“Overall in our head office, our headcount is up. We continue to grow and have made six new hires since the beginning of the pandemic. We made one redundancy due to an operational strategy change.”
The reveal of these figures follows news that a south London pub operator recently received 484 applications for two £9-an-hour bar jobs – including interest from former air stewards, restaurant managers and shop workers made redundant amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Robinsons reshuffles board
Stockport-based brewer and pub operator Robinsons has announced a raft changes to its board.
In a letter to the company’s employees, chairman Peter Robinson announced that prior to his brother David passing away, he and Dennis Robinson had decided to retire after more than 180 years of combined service.
Robinson also confirmed that Neil Robinson-Stanier, Veronica Robinson and Paul Robinson would be stepping down from the board as part of a strategic restructure.
Outlining the structure of the new board, the retiring chairman revealed that Philip Moody will become the company’s non-executive chairman.
“Philip has been working with the board as an advisor for the last three years and has retired as a senior partner with Smith & Williamson to enable him to accept this position,” Robinson explained.
“The board believes that Philip’s extensive experience advising family businesses, his leadership responsibilities over his career, and his numerous non-executive and chairman positions held over the last thirty years, make him ideally placed to lead our family business to ensure its independence and longevity for the future.”
He added that Tony Smith will become finance director after joining the business in February following financial directorship roles at the Co-Op and also at Well Pharmacy.
Furthermore, Sara Robinson will be joining the board as a director in addition to her current role as company secretary.
“We are extremely grateful to all of the family members who are retiring from the board for their support and dedication to the development of the business,” Robinsons’ joint managing directors, Oliver and William Robinson, commented.
“We look forward to working with Philip, Sara and Tony alongside existing non-executive directors Stephen Oliver and John Edwards as we continue to develop and grow our independent family business”.
102 jobs saved after Leeds venues rescued from administration
A spokesperson from APN Group has confirmed that 102 jobs at Leeds’ Viaduct Showbar and Bar Fibre have been saved after the operator was rescued from administration.
The Morning Advertiser previously reported that Leeds-based APN – owner of Viaduct Showbar, Bar Fibre and Club Mission – had appointed Molly Monks and Darren Brookes of Milner Boardman & Partners as joint administrators after its three venues went into administration on 31 July.
"Due to extraordinary circumstances related to Covid-19, Bar Fibre Limited, Viaduct Leisure Limited and Mission (Leeds) Limited sadly all went into administration on 31 July 2020,” the spokesperson explained.
“Fortunately, we are pleased to have been able to save 102 jobs at Bar Fibre Ltd and Viaduct Leisure Ltd. Unfortunately, Mission couldn't be saved.
“The night-time industry sector has suffered the most through the pandemic, with social-distancing measures being an anathema to the nightlife industry.
“We hope the Government extends support for the sector into 2021 to ensure it's long term survival".
Lixir Drinks appoints former Pernod Ricard UK director
Tonic and mixer maker Lixir Drinks - launched in 2018 by bartending duo Matt Mahatme and Jordan Palmer - has appointed former Pernod Ricard UK commercial director Chris Ellis as a non-executive Director.
“I’m hugely excited to be joining the Lixir board at a time where the business is set for explosive growth,” Ellis said after leaving the global wine and spirits leader earlier this Summer.
“Jordan and Matt are a terrific partnership and have taken the Lixir brand from scratch to become the hottest player in the category in less than two years”.
Ellis will join non-executive directors Barry Chevallier Guild, former chairman of Aspall Cyder, Peter McDonald and James Watson, joint CEOs at Mosaic Pub & Dining, on Lixir’s board.
“Myself and Matt are thrilled to have Chris on board,” Lixr Drinks’ co-founder Jordan Palmer added. “We have fared well as a company during the recent pandemic and Chris is joining us at a really exciting stage.
“It’s a privilege that he recognises the opportunity in our business, and he brings a great level of expertise to the fold”.
A-Level results 'shambles' shows need for high quality apprenticeships, says B&K boss
The chaotic release of A-Level results further highlights the need to develop high calibre hospitality apprenticeships as an alternative to higher education, Brewhouse & Kitchen’s Kris Gumbrell has told The MA.
The Government has been forced into a chastening U-turn after the release of A-Level results graded using an Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) algorithm on 13 August saw 40% of results downgraded.
While education secretary Gavin Williamson said he is "incredibly sorry for the distress" caused to pupils, the university applications process has now been plunged into chaos with many having already reached new intake capacity and applicants who were awarded higher grades by Ofqual’s algorithm being allowed to keep them.
For Gumbrell, the situation makes it all the more important that the hospitality provides a viable alternative to higher education and a firm launchpad for school leavers looking to kick start careers through apprenticeships.
"Obviously what young people are going through right now is grossly unfair,” Gumbrell told The MA. “There's no excuse for what's happening right now towards young people, it's an absolutely shocking shambles and your heart goes out to all these kids who are going through this.
"For me, it just highlights again the need for us to continue to develop high quality apprenticeships within our trade. We need more apprenticeships above level two and level three."
Diversity issues ‘must be tackled on a company-by-company basis’
The founder of BAME in Hospitality, and its recently launched Elevate Mentorship scheme, believes there is no ‘single solution’ for sectors lacking diversity in leadership and that individual companies must step up.
Senior procurement leader at restaurant operator Corbin & King, who has previously worked for the likes of Shake Shack and Gordon Ramsay, Lorraine Copes founded BAME in Hospitality in late 2019 to address the sector’s lack of diversity in managerial and leadership positions.
The organisation sets out to address the lack of black, Asian and other minority professionals in the sector, and has recently announced that its Elevate Mentorship Scheme will launch in autumn.
While BAME in Hospitality is calling for mentors from diverse backgrounds and mentees from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds across the hospitality sector to get in touch, Copes explains that since founding the organisation there has been “no involvement to-date” from the pub sector.
“I have observed far more diverse workforces within contract catering, casual dining and fine dining than I ever did within the pub sector,” she tells The MA. “It is important to recognise that there is no single solution to a sector, this must be tackled on a company-by-company basis.”