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Careers with us

We are often asked how we get such nice staff in our pubs, and the secret is that we employ nice people. Each of our pubs enjoys a high degree of independence, so it is important that we recruit people who think like us and who enjoy the same things that we do.

Over the two companies, we currently employ over 2,000 full and part time staff in our pubs, almost equally divided between men and women. Of these, we have over 170 managers at different stages of development and experience, over 350 chefs, some 150 cleaning staff and maintenance crew, and about 35 head office staff of various persuasions.

We try as much as we can to have a mix of age groups in our pubs: although a lot of young people work for us during university holidays, we actively try to recruit people from all age groups to help balance things: in many of our pubs, you'll find mums working alongside their daughters, and there are any number of family dynasties around and about.

One of the great things about working in our pubs is that you can follow a proper full-time professional career, you can work part-time, or you can work casually when it suits you - we need all types, and many of our staff have started working for us casually, and then gone on to build full-time careers with us.

People also change careers within the company – Jo Meakin, having begun as a part-timer, soon progressed to Assistant Manager, then to Deputy, then onto head office as HR Manager before becoming Operations Director. It is not unusual these days for chefs to switch tack and go front of house - a number of our pub managers and deputy managers have kitchen backgrounds.

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Management careers

You don't have to have run a pub before, but you do need to genuinely like people and enjoy looking after them, and have the flair to operate your own substantial business. It might surprise you, but the great majority of the management crew in our pubs first came through the doors as our customers. Having enjoyed the experience, realisation dawned that they might as well be paid for being there, so they took the plunge and joined us...

In general, because pubs are fundamentally social places,we've found that the right personality is more important than the right experience. Running one of our pubs is a multi-facetted career, and everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses, but we imagine you’ll have a love of food and cooking, and hopefully you’ll enjoy cask ales and are no stranger to a glass of wine.

Most importantly, you’ll want to put together a happy and effective crew, and create a working environment where people enjoy coming to work. Of course, entrepreneurial business skills are useful as you’ll be negotiating with a multitude of different suppliers, and generally ensuring the business stacks up effectively – but we’re always on hand to help or advise as the need arises.

Most important of all of these, though, is that you’ll need to be a great host who takes real pleasure in looking after people and making them happy.

It's very satisfying making a pub busy and being an important part of your local community. Each pub has a number of managers at different stages of their careers, and the pay's not bad, with a deputy manager earning from £23,000 to £30,000 a year and a manager earning between £35,000 and £55,000 a year. We offer many benefits including accommodation for managers, a contributory pension scheme, life assurance, decent holidays, ongoing training - and the pleasure of working with some interesting and fun people in a pub you can be proud of.

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Chef careers

We recruit and bring on kitchen crew at every level, from trainees to fully-qualified senior chefs. Each of our pubs has a kitchen team of between five and ten chefs, so there are many opportunities to get on throughout the company - including going 'front of house' if you have the feel for it. Our chefs play an important part in the overall running of the pubs: each pub writes its own menus, chooses its own suppliers and negotiates its own deals, so a large part of the success of each pub is down to the kitchen team.

We see our junior chefs as our head chefs of the future and if you are looking for a career in catering, or you are already working towards a qualification, we'd like to hear from you. We have excellent links with local colleges, and we sponsor a number of students through college on day release each year.

Our chefs earn from £18,000 to £45,000 and over, depending on their skills, experience and level of responsibility, as well as a contributory pension scheme, life assurance, decent holidays and ongoing training - and we are really keen to encourage a pleasant working atmosphere in our kitchens so people enjoy coming to work.

See our job vacancies page for chef jobs

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Casual staff

Casual and part-time staff are very important to us - in fact we couldn't operate without them. We're very flexible and try to work around people's commitments - mums and dads on school runs; students looking for evening and weekend work; retired people who want to meet new friends...however you run your life, if you enjoy pubs and like looking after people, we're pretty much sure you'll enjoy working for us, and we try to organise things to enable you to do so. Click here for part-time jobs

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The recruitment process for managers

Generally, but not always, the first interaction you will have will be a short chat on the phone with someone from our HR team. If that goes ok, you’ll be invited over to the office for a meeting. These are always a very relaxed, sharing-a-cup-of-coffee-on-the-sofa sort of affair, where we want to get to know the real you behind the interviewee.

The next step is to get you into one of our pubs for a couple of shifts, to see how you fit in with the crew, what you’re like with customers, whether you’re a natural, and what you’re like in a busy environment. We’ll get feedback from those around you, and will no doubt someone will drop in to have a look at you in action.

If it all goes well, and you want to take things further (because after all this is as much about you appraising us, as us appraising you), if it suits you, you may be offered a ‘roving’ position, which means you are not placed in a specific pub, but will rove around as many of pubs as possible, gaining knowledge and insights as you go. The character of each pub is determined by the operational style of the manager in charge, and this touring process will give you the chance to get to know the different characters around the place, get to grips with our culture, and see how our systems work.

From there on, it all depends on individuals and applying for opportunities as they arise. This recruitment process may seem a tad drawn out, but we are very careful to keep our culture intact, and getting the right people in the first place is vital.

With the financial clout of The Restaurant Group behind us, we intend to open some five new pubs a year, which means we will be needing up to fifteen or twenty new senior front-of-house people each year, so there will be plenty of opportunities.

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The recruitment process for senior chefs

Generally, but not always, the first interaction you will have will be a short chat on the phone with someone from our HR team, or one of the exec chefs. If that goes ok, you’ll be invited over to the office for a meeting. These are always a very relaxed, sharing-a-cup-of-coffee-on-the-sofa sort of affair, where we want to get to know the real you behind the interviewee.

The next step is to get you into one of our pubs for a couple of shifts, one of which will hopefully be a busy session, to see how you fit in with the crew, to ascertain your skill levels, and to see what you’re like in a busy environment. We’ll get feedback from those around you, and if it all goes well,and you want to take things further (because after all this is as much about you appraising us, as us appraising you), you will be made an offer.

We also have a number of ‘roving chef’ positions, which means you are not placed in a specific pub, but will rove around pubs was needed, gaining knowledge and insights as you go. Each kitchen and each menu is different and this touring process will give you the chance to get to know the different characters around the place, get to grips with our style of food, and get to know our pubs.

From there on, it all depends on individuals and applying for opportunities as they arise. This recruitment process may seem a tad drawn out, but we are very careful to keep our culture intact, and getting the right people in the first place is vital.

With the financial clout of The Restaurant Group behind us, we intend to open some five new pubs a year, which means we will be needing maybe thirty or forty chefs a year - so there will be plenty of opportunities.

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If you are interested in working with us, have a look at the vacancies page here or drop an email with your details to andrea.kearon@homecountiespubs.co.uk, or contact Andrea Kearon by phone or letter.

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A short film about life as a pub manager

Our sister company, Brunning and Price, have made a short film about a day in the life of a pub manager. Life is very similar behind the pumps here at Home Counties Pubs so we thought it summed things up nicely.


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