This article is part of our Brexit Survival Guide: Practical Tips for Hospitality Businesses series, and is written by Rupert Power, the founder of Sophie’s Steakhouse and Bar.
Initially, Brexit caused quite a bit of uncertainty for our staff. Our non-management staff are about 70% EU citizens and about 30% of our managerial staff are EU citizens, so Brexit was a big issue for our employees.
Since Brexit first passed, a lot of the worry has died down amongst our staff, and some of that certainly had to do with our attitude as a business, which was basically, ”carry on as normal”, which has put our staff at ease.
Beyond that, our recipe for post-Brexit success has been: 1) create an intimate business culture that centers around our core values, 2) hire the right kind of employees that will thrive in our business culture, and 3) develop those people and give them tangible management skills. That’s helped us stay competitive in the London hiring market, retain the right kind of talent and open up more locations— staffed by employees we know and trust.
Our business culture is focused on our core values: passion, honesty, patience and staying in control of the situation. That allows us to build a strong sense of identity and a feeling of what it means to work at Sophie’s.
The second part of our recipe for post-Brexit success is hiring people with the right attitude that will naturally be successful in the business. If you hire people with an eagerness to learn, a good character— a good soul— you can trust they’ll rise to the challenges they’ll be presented with. I’m a big believer in trusting employees to find the right answers. So instead of saying, “Do this, do that”, I say “Think about that. Have you tried this and have you got that?” And we can do that because we’ve hired the right kind of people.
The third point we really push, is having myself and Sophie around enough to personally coach and develop those skill sets over time. We focus a lot of our efforts into giving our staff tangible management skills. We recently opened up another location, and having trusted employees with the right skills made all the difference to our success.