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by | Apr 13, 2021 | Business

Looking after your team

Like most in hospitality Honest Burgers have been affected by the recent Covid-19 crisis. They could easily have gone to ground, furloughed their teams and waited for the storm to pass. But that wouldn’t have been the Honest way. 

In a bid to keep their furloughed people engaged and entertained during lockdown they ran an impressive staff engagement programme called Home Front. Activities included healthy eating talks, live seed planting demonstrations and online yoga classes. Honest co-founder Tom Barton even hosted a weekly online HIIT exercise class in full 80’s workout gear. Sessions were available to watch live and at any time after and use of the platform was entirely optional for staff, but 100% of employees engaged with their content during lockdown.

They started the Honest Craft Exchange, where their own people can be upskilled in crafts such as signwriting and can then pick up a real living wage for doing the jobs that external companies would previously have carried out. Last week, Honest have announced that all employees can roll over unused holiday and take a 4-week paid sabbatical to see their loved ones, take a break and catch up on the family time they’ve missed.

On a larger scale, Nandos have become known for their approach to recruiting, training and retaining talent, which has resulted in just 9% staff turnover – significantly under the industry average.  With a strong programme of staff rewards to recognise and retain good people, Nando’s have been offering a 4-week sabbatical for their employees who reach 5 years of service.  And burger giants McDonald’s offer their employees a 2-month paid sabbatical for every 10 years of service.

As we come out of what we hope will be the last lockdown, it would be easy to forget that our people are what make our businesses truly special. Those on the front line who are ensuring that every guest has an incredible experience, every time they visit, are the main reason your customers return time and time again.

Some of our people may have been furloughed, and some may have continued to work hard in offices and kitchens ensuring that delivery and collection can continue safely, but it’s fair to assume that everyone in hospitality has had a tough year.

Whilst we look forward to what we hope will be the busiest summer on record for most we should also be thinking about how we can show our appreciation to our teams and avoid burnout.


  • Encourage your people to take a break. Let them know that it’s ok to book time off and take a holiday when they can.
  • Allow them to carry over unused holiday days. No one wanted to take a week off during lockdown if they didn’t have anywhere to go, and you’ll find that your teams have a surplus of holidays. Allowing them the flexibility to carry this into the next year is a great way to thank them for their dedication over the last 12 months.
  • Make an allowance for extended breaks. Keep in mind that some of your people may have family and friends in other countries who they have not seen for a long time and taking a longer break will allow them a chance to reconnect.
  • Encourage their passions. Take some time to learn what your people love doing, and whether there’s a way for you to support that passion in your own business – for example a keen photographer could take photos for your social media whilst building their own portfolio, or a great artist may be able to display their work around your venue.
  • Invest in training. Whether it’s job specific, mentoring or management, upskilling your people is always a worthwhile investment into your business.

This opinion article does not necessarily represent the views of Foursquare Group as an organisation.
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