BaxterStorey creates industry’s first in-house service academy

BaxterStorey has launched a new training initiative that it claims is a “first of its kind” for the catering industry.

The contract caterer has created the Service Academy, which is designed to ensure hospitality staff across its business are equipped with the skills and confidence to provide a service to rival that of a five-star hotel.

Building on its existing learning and development initiatives, including the Chef Academy and Barista Academy, the in-house offering gives BaxterStorey the opportunity to create a bespoke programme which exceeds industry standards.

Modules are focused on developing both soft and technical skills through workshop modules including hotel visit, afternoon tea and lunch experiences as well as food and wine masterclasses.

Noel Mahony, co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, said: “Our clients now look at hospitality service from a new perspective, with many bringing hospitality in-house but demand an offer to reflect that of a five-star hotel, or Michelin-star restaurant.

“The BaxterStorey Service Academy ensures our people are equipped to provide the very highest levels of service, matching the skillsets of those offering top-level service outside the contract catering industry.”

With those graduating from the course being awarded globally recognised qualifications, BaxterStorey is the first foodservice business in the UK to be accredited as an Approved Programme Provider (APP) of Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications, with Gabrielle Le Roux, programme developer at BaxterStorey becoming the first in-house APP educator in the foodservice industry.

Apprentices and other team members within the business will have the opportunity to achieve Level 1 in Wines and Level 2 in Wines and Spirits.

In addition to the one-year apprenticeship programme, colleagues will have access to a number of courses to help fine-tune their service skills. These include foundations of coffee and tea brewing, presentation and communication skills and service black and whites.

Alastair Storey, chairman and CEO of WSH, the parent company of BaxterStorey, said: “We are blessed to have very good chefs in the UK and I think there is a great deal of enthusiasm for people to get into the culinary world, but we must never forget the person at the point of service who make an enormous difference.

“The skills that these people have – the ability to talk about the product, the ability to talk about the wines, and the ability to interpret the mood of the room, a table or a customer and react appropriately – these are critical skills. You can have the finest food in the world, but if you let the front-of-house down it doesn’t work and that is why training is so important.”

BaxterStorey provides bespoke hospitality services through restaurants, café bars, deli operations and executive dining rooms for a wide range of customers. It employs more than 8,500 people at over 600 locations.

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