The lowdown: the recruitment restaurant

By Resturant

- Last updated on GMT

An alternative hospitality recruitment method has been used by new London restaurant Mimosa

Related tags Recruitment Mimosa Government Training Restaurant

An alternative hospitality recruitment method to traditional CVs and interviews has been put into action.

The recruitment restaurant sounds like it should be a TV programme headed up by Fred Sirieix...
It does, doesn’t it? But no, this a bone fide new initiative designed to give the hospitality recruitment process a much-needed shake up.

Tell us more
It is run by recruitment agency Step Ahead in partnership with the Westminster Works programme, a scheme funded by Westminster City Council, with help from Westminster Kingsway College and has been designed to help businesses in the hospitality hot-spot of Westminster to attract and retain new talent. Earlier this month they hosted a recruitment restaurant at the college that saw candidates take part in trial shifts recreating a live restaurant environment during a dinner service for 80 guests.

Sounds like a great idea. Was it for any company in particular?
The recruitment restaurant was run on behalf of Mimosa at The Langham hotel​, the first international outpost for Jean-François Piège’s French Riviera-inspired Paris restaurant that is taking over the space that was once home to Michel Roux Jr.’s Roux at The Landau. The dinner service was created to help the restaurant, which is due to open on 21 March, launch with a full team in place.

Who took part?
Places on the trial shifts were open to all Westminster Kingsway College students as well as those registered as part of the Westminster Works scheme. In total, 80 candidates took part in the trial shifts, and were observed and interviewed by management staff from Mimosa, and received comprehensive feedback from the guests they serve during the shift, which helped determine the final hiring decisions.

What was the result?
The event proved an overwhelming success, leading to 35 members of staff being recruited in roles from kitchen and bar staff to front of house. Successful candidates started training at Mimosa on 11 ​March.

Could this be the new way to recruit for upcoming restaurants?
Very possibly. While a CV can tell a head chef or restaurant owner a bit about a prospective candidate, there’s nothing quite like seeing them in action. This way, a new restaurant can do this even before it has finished fitting out its kitchen or dining room and, even better, can do it in one go rather than having to offer numerous trial shifts over the course of a number of weeks. “With the hospitality staffing crisis continuing to cost London businesses millions in lost revenue each year, it’s essential that we look at new ways to approach recruitment and retention in this sector,” says Jackie Bedford, CEO at Step Ahead. “One of these ways is to move away from the usual CV based application process and to allow employers to see potential staff in action, how they interact with other team members and customers and how they handle the role under pressure of a live restaurant setting.”

What if a restaurant hasn’t got a college at its disposal?
Other recruitment help is available. Late last year the Government launched a pilot scheme in Liverpool​ to help jobseekers gain an industry recognised ‘Hospitality Skills Passport’ via fast-tracked training and work experience. Participants complete qualifications and accredited training in areas such as health and safety, food safety, licensing, and conflict resolution to add to their Hospitality Skills Passport, which can be added to their CVs. The scheme has been tailored by industry experts and is endorsed by businesses including Greene King and Marriot Hotels.

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