Company culture: how we can stand out from the pack

Standing out: Little Door & Co managing director and co-founder Kamran Dehdashti (left) with director and co-founder Jamie Hazeel
Standing out: Little Door & Co managing director and co-founder Kamran Dehdashti (left) with director and co-founder Jamie Hazeel

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Property Social responsibility Training Cocktails Food Little Door & Co

In the current economic climate, many hospitality businesses are finding the conditions tougher than ever – margins are being squeezed across the board, and revenue is less reliable and consistent than before.

There is certainty still a considerable appetite for going out but all indications show people are changing their habits.

The observation we’ve shared many times in the past months, is that people are being more selective. As our customer base feels the pinch, they go out less often and treat it as more of a special occasion when they do.

As such, they expect more – more value for their money. However, it’s our belief that the emphasis is on value, not money. People are looking for added value and great experiences without breaking the bank – not for bargain basement evenings at slashed prices.

This means that for businesses like ours, ensuring we are delivering the best we can is an imperative more than ever before.

We’ve got to be the venues that people think of when they’re making a night out count. This has given us a very clear directive to unify the company around: “Stand out from the Pack”. This is a generalised objective that can cover multiple parts of our offering; from the concept to the design; from the location to our F&B.

However, we’ve chosen to focus on one particular point that we believe underpins it all: hospitality. We create venues that feel like coming into people’s home: it’s the essence of hospitality – the name of our industry – and the beating heart of everything we do.

True to our concept

If we can deliver the best possible quality of service for our guests – if they can truly feel like they’re being welcomed into someone’s home – that’ll really make us stand out from the pack. And in a way that is true to our concept.

But how do we achieve this? Our simple theory is that we double down on our company culture. It’s an often-touted theory in our business that happy customers start with happy staff. Keeping in mind our concept, this is especially true.

How can we make people feel like they’re being welcomed into someone’s home if the people working in our venues don’t leave and breathe that message?

We want our teams to treat our venues as their home – and take the same joy in them that they would in their own homes. We want them to host with that level of ownership and pride. We want them to go above and beyond to make sure everyone has a good time – and for our customers to be able to feel that every time they walk through the door.

We have set about writing down the key values of our company that stem from these ideas and sharing them with our team. We have summarised all of them with one tagline that is becoming gospel within our company.

It’s a simple toast “To home, to family”. However, it summarises so much of what we stand for. In our mind, “home” and “family” are two sides of the same coin. When we truly make our venues homes, brilliant hospitality can happen. When the whole company operates as an extended family – and everyone treats each other with an extra level of care and dedication, this allows the magic to happen.

Going the extra mile

If people feel that sense of home and family, they go the extra mile for the brand and their workplace. They treat their teams with care and love, and this is passed directly onto their customers.

Even when a shift isn’t perfect or a new recruit is still in training, we can still deliver excellent hospitality. Our uniqueness becomes bulletproof because if they show that trademark care and kindness, they will still be appreciated by customers.

Smiley, happy staff leads to smiley, happy customers! It’s a simple message – but it’s a beautiful and powerful one.

Beyond communicating to our teams, we’re rolling out a whole host of culture-based projects that accompany these concepts.

As we’ve grown as a company beyond the 100-employee mark, we’ve had to put in place systems and processes for things that happened organically as a smaller organisation.

As such, we’re instigating regular socials, company days and trainings. We’re finding ways within the venue to celebrate our teams and weave their identities into the decoration – making sure they are everyone’s homes. We are making sure there is a clear culture of progression and development within the company – and brilliant ways of honouring people’s achievements and milestones.

We are enormously proud of this work and truly believe it will continue to highlight our uniqueness as a business. It’s how we stand out from the pack.

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