‘The Burlington Restaurant’ at The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey, has made a pioneering shift to its chefs’ working hours by introducing a 4 day working week, in an effort to both retain and attract the crème of the industry’s talent.
This milestone marks a major shift in the hospitality industry, and represents an investment by the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, totalling around £100k per annum. To enable this, the number of chefs in the Burlington’s kitchen brigade will increase from eleven, to 15 chefs in total. The four incremental jobs are to include an Apprentice Chef position.
The revised working hours is a ‘pilot scheme’ which will apply to only the hotel’s renowned fine dining restaurant, ‘The Burlington’, at this stage. Chefs will work 48 hours a week, over four days on ‘straight shifts’, allowing them to reclaim a healthier way of living, doing the job that they love, whilst having time to enjoy life outside of work too.
A recent survey* by the UK’s largest union, Unite, cited that 51% of London chefs suffer from depression as a result of regularly working long hours, and 79% had had an accident or a near miss as a result of fatigue. Many are encouraged to opt out of the 48-hour working week directive under Working Time Regulations, and almost half reported working longer hours. This, along with poor pay has led to a drastic drop of young chefs entering the industry, at a time when more restaurants than ever are opening, leading to a shortage of chefs nationally. (*Unitelegalservices.org, published 27 April 2017)
The change in working hours at ‘The Burlington’ coincides with the restaurant’s search for a new Head Chef, to replace Paul Evans, who will leave the business later this month. The Duke has also supported other enhanced benefits, enjoyed by chefs and other staff across the whole Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, introduced in an effort to improve the working lives and well being of staff.
These benefits include improved standards of staff accommodation, an hourly rate of pay which is over and above the minimum wage, removal of ‘split shifts’, full allocation of the 5% service charge to staff, and discounts on eating out and attractions across all businesses in the group, social outings and events.
General Manager of The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Adam Dyke, commented:
“The introduction of shorter hours in The Burlington is a ground breaking move, which demonstrates our commitment to the sustainability of the hospitality industry, as well as putting the welfare of our chefs first and foremost – we wish to reward our chefs in a manner commensurate to their talents and hard work. For many years chefs have notoriously received a raw deal, working ridiculous hours for the love of the job was standard practise. Smart operators are starting to recognise that action needs to be taken to address the balance. So at ‘The Dev’, we’re acting proactively to ensure that we are seen as one of the industry leaders – as far as I know we are the first hotel in the North of England to take this step.
Our ambition for The Burlington is simply to offer the highest standard of dining that we can possibly achieve, and with a happy, healthy and motivated team working together, we can benefit from more creativity and efficiency resulting in even greater delivery for our guests.”
Ross Daniels, Chef de Partie, on learning the news commented,
“I’m overwhelmed really, it’s fantastic news and great just to feel that we have this backing, it makes you feel really valued that an employer is willing to invest in you like this. I can imagine a few of my mates in the industry wishing for the same contract as mine now. ”
The four red star Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, has recently won several awards, including The White Rose Awards, 2016, ‘Large Hotel of the Year’ and The Yorkshire Post Oliver Awards, 2016, ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’. The hotel is part of The Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, which has several properties located across the Duke of Devonshire’s estates in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, including The Devonshire Fell and two inns, also known as The Devonshire Arms, on the Chatsworth Estate.
For more information on current employment opportunities at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Bolton Abbey including positions of Head Chef, Head Pastry Chef and Chef de Parties which are currently available, please email HR on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01756 710441.