Pub chain taps vicar to boost ’empathy’ Business

An upscale pub chain has turned to God in a bid to stop staff leaving as hospitality businesses struggle with fierce competition for talent.

The Cubitt House group, which owns pubs including the Thomas Cubbitt in Belgravia and the Orange in Pimlico, has brought in a vicar from a local church to run empathy courses for employees so the business is a place pleasant work.

Meanwhile, restaurant chain Blacklock is giving workers “paternity leave” if they get a new puppy as well as flights around the world for those with long service records.

The hospitality industry is locked in an arms race amid severe staff shortages as it prepares for the first summer since reopening post-Covid.

Other businesses are offering birthday prosecco, gym discounts and high-end takeaways, while star-studded chain Galvin Restaurants is preparing to put poached staff on paid gardening leave to that he cannot enter his premises and drag his colleagues with them.

Seb Fogg, Managing Director of Cubitt House Group, said: “There is a big myth about staff shortages. There are thousands of people who want to work but may not have experience in our industry.

“What we need to do as operators is get them in, look after them and train them well. If they’re happy and willing to work, that’s all we need.

“We have … brought into the business a Belgravia-based vicar from one of the local churches who will work to instill empathy among our staff.”

Gordon Ker, the founder of the Blacklock chophouse chain, said the company offers free foot massages in addition to time off for staff who get a dog, as well as birthday gifts for those who stay for a certain number years, including an airplane around the world. ticket or a fully paid four-week sabbatical.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said the industry was short of 250,000 to 300,000 workers after the Covid crisis ended.

David Moore, owner of Michelin-starred London restaurant Pied a Terre, said his company was set to relaunch annual bonuses to all staff who have been with the business for more than a year.

Many workers left for other industries during the shutdowns and never returned, while those who did are now demanding better wages and conditions. A restaurant boss said staff who made £26,000 before Covid came back demanding £38,000 and saying they wouldn’t be working weekends or Friday nights.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-17 14:00:00

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