Case Study: Training at The Red Lion & Sun

November 26, 2019
Clock Icon 5 min read

The Challenge:

  • Finding time and cover to facilitate face-to-face training days

The Objective:

  • Find an alternative to face-to-face training wherever possible that is a minimal drain on resources

The Solution:

  • An online training provider with accessible and flexible courses

A Background to The Red Lion & Sun

Heath Ball has enjoyed an extensive career on the pub and bar scene, which has seen him work across the globe – from his roots in New Zealand all the way to the US – before settling in London. There, he opened his first pub in Shoreditch before bringing his experience to The Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, which recently won the John Smith’s Great British Pub accolade in 2018.

I caught up with Heath to find out what exactly goes into developing an award-winning pub, essential tips for smooth running and, of course, where the role of training fits in…

How Does Online Training Help The Red Lion & Sun?

Heath informs me that, prior to online training, organising face-to-face centres for training was incredibly challenging.

Online training is a godsend. I’m a small business so I can easily ask my staff: have they done manual handling, have they done allergens, have they got the correct level of food hygiene training that they need for their role? If they haven’t, it’s a simple case of them completing the training at home in a matter of hours and I reimburse them for their time. It makes my life so much easier.

Why Did You Choose High Speed Training In Particular?

I’ve found High Speed Training’s courses to be the most in depth which is really important when you’re dealing with compliance.

The conversation turns to EHO inspections, which Heath assures me he and the team at The Red Lion & Sun are unphased by. By committing to training, investing in staff and demonstrating knowledge your business will be EHO ready as standard.

Hospitality is a sector where you can’t hide, and nor should you want to when you’re providing the public with food and a place to let go and enjoy themselves.

How Important is Compliance to The Red Lion & Sun?

Heath informs me that preparation and attention to detail is the key to a long standing, award-winning business with compliance at the very core.

I invest heavily in compliance. I’ve had comments before from industry peers asking if I take it too far, but can you? As a result of how seriously I take compliance, I am incredibly confident in what we do. For me, it’s not worth being non compliant as it can damage your business, hurt people and totally void your insurance policy if anything goes wrong.

What Can You Learn From Heath and The Red Lion & Sun?

  1. Not being compliant isn’t worth it. In the hospitality industry, the repercussions of getting health and safety wrong can be life changing. It’s better to thoroughly assess your needs and then plan accordingly for any training you or your staff need early on.
  2. You don’t have to fear EHO inspections. EHO inspections essentially exist to make sure your business is operating as it should on a daily basis. If you have the right training and knowledge, combined with the ability to apply it, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Heath’s Words on Industry Challenges

Our discussion turns toward the general challenges the industry is currently facing. Heath doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge the current staffing issues, which are widely documented across the hospitality industry. Heath suggests this is a sign of the times, pointing to social media platforms for encouraging the current generation to have different career objectives that are not necessarily aligned with hospitality roles.

Perhaps most interestingly, Heath suggests that the problem concerning the uptake of hospitality careers in the UK is due to a nation-wide attitudinal problem.

If a son or daughter tells their family they want to work in a pub, it’s not encouraged. But everywhere else in the world, it is. In China and Japan they do prestigious Sommelier courses which are incredibly intense, yet very well respected. There is an intricacy to a fine wine that people don’t appreciate. Courses such as these courses give their students the ability to even tell you the name of the producer. No one seems to be that committed in the UK.

Attitude is a huge factor as to whether or not people enter the hospitality industry and businesses are increasingly unsure of what to do in this current climate. To find out more about this, High Speed Training recently commissioned independent research, surveying 1000+ members of the public and 250 hospitality professionals to look at attitudes in the industry, recruitment and retention issues and the impact of Brexit. We discovered which European country has the friendliest hospitality and, as a nation, how we can do more to champion careers in the field. Our findings may surprise you: Preserving the Art of Hospitality in Post-Brexit Britain.