Faced with a continuing staffing crisis, hospitality group operators are developing innovative ways to gain and retain valuable team members. While Merivale has announced it’s new apprenticeship school for chefs, Parlour Group founder Brody Petersen has implemented a management diploma for senior staff.

After opening the group’s fourth venue Stanton & Co at the end of 2017, Petersen looked at his growth strategy and realised the way forward was not simply through opening venue after venue, but through equipping the right people with the right skills.

“My vision for the whole group is to grow and build a hospitality company with unique venues,” Petersen tells Hospitality. “I can have this big goal of wanting to grow, but I can’t do without people and customers. This year, I’m focusing on people.”

The result is the Parlour Group management diploma, which Petersen developed in collaboration with hospitality industry training provider Allara Learning.

“We had a relationship with Allara so we’re doing this new, on-board induction program with them,” says Petersen. “I’ve created a Parlour Group leadership diploma, based on the four attributes I wanted all of my management team to have.”

The four attributes — delivering results, people management, financial accountability and customer service — are taught over 14 three-hour sessions, with time allocated fortnightly to implement what’s been learned.

So far, 20 of Parlour Group’s senior employees, including venue managers, restaurant managers, bar managers, head chefs and sous chefs, have started the diploma.

“We want to develop them because we want to hold on to them,” says Petersen. “I want to roll this out every year. As we grow, you’ll have to do this course to get into management.”

The program took about six months to develop, but according to Petersen the process of developing a bespoke training program is well and truly worth it. “I was able to look at my business needs and tailor a program to how I want my managers to behave and what I want them to know. And it’s all based on hospitality and restaurants. Everything they’ll be doing in this course, will be put back into the business.

“I think all directors of hospitality groups our size or bigger will be doing this [in the future]. Definitely.”

The plan is to have a suite of four stable and financially sustainable venues, making way for Petersen to put more energy into expanding the business.

“It’s about getting my team ready for growth, hopefully next year. As we grow, you’ll have to do this course to get into management.”

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