New Continental Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LD

Tel: 01752 276798

Need A Job Over Christmas..?

A Job That Keeps On Giving…

This time of year is particularly busy in the world of hospitality. There are Christmas Party Nights galore and lots of families visiting Plymouth for some Festive Fun!

If you are looking for a temporary job, the festive season is the perfect time to broaden your experience and perhaps take a peep at what Hotel life might look like for you.

A job in hospitality is hard work; but it’s also so rewarding. It’s a job that keeps giving long after your shift is over. Be it that you know you have made a massive difference in someones experience. You are part of a memory that will last them forever. Or you have learnt a new skill that is transferable and helps connect you to your next step. You have met someone that inspires you and creates a form of mindfulness that you had never thought of before. It’s a hard job – but a rewarding one!

Want to join us? It’s not just about tidying up your CV …

A CV is important, but so too is passion and enthusiasm says Simon Hawke, Operations Manager at the New Continental Hotel:

“Staff are so important to us here at the hotel. They are the reason customers have great experiences and keep coming back. Our staff need to provide exceptional service, guiding the guest around our business, and helping them explore and understand our menus. Although a CV is important, to be part of our amazing waiting teams you must have more! A friendly face, a lovely manner and a passionate nature is essential. “

A legion of hotels and restaurants are currently recruiting people to join them during one of their busiest period…

Some require prior experience, while other vacancies are looking for workers with a cheerful personality and a can-do approach to the role. Essentially those looking for flexible work.

Simon continues: “There are some amazing benefits to working casually in hospitality over Christmas. Many of our Managers started on a casual contract and have worked their way up; be that in Finance, HR, Marketing or the Kitchen. No experience is necessary, full hospitality training is provided, we hire the attitude and train the skills!”

Here at the New Continental Hotel, we are looking for a team who are passionate about hospitality and take pride in their customer service skills. If that’s you, then let us know you’re looking. Send your CV and a short covering note to Simon, telling him why you would like to join his happy, friendly team of Elves this Christmas!

EMAIL: simonh@newcontinental.co.uk today!

We have opportunities perfect for those looking for casual part-time work to slot around existing commitments or those looking for more hours. You need to have the ability to work flexible hours over evenings and weekends.

Simon Say’s …

Back To School…

Next week sees the first full week of school after the Summer Holidays! There is nothing like a busy summer holiday in our sector. As parents ourselves though, we also know there is nothing quite like getting back to some sort of routine too!

Plymouth is a remarkable city to visit with your family.  With so much to see and do there are no limits to the memories you can make. It’s not surprising that so many families choose our city as their destination. It makes the perfect choice for a family UK Summer break.

Little ones all packed up and back to school this week. The obligatory ‘Back To School’ photo is posted. That means the busy Summer months are almost behind us.  Up next will be Christmas! However, before then we take the chance to sit down with our Operations Manager.

We do our own little summer de-brief!

Summer In Plymouth

Summer In The City 2019…

Summer is one of our busiest seasons at the hotel. Even though we love nothing more than welcoming all of our guests, all of the year, seeing families arrive in the summer is amazing. Knowing and seeing how precious their time is together, being united without work or life, it’s truly magical. With our family rooms and suites; central location; leisure complex; great Wi-Fi  and amazing food offer, we know that we can offer the perfect family holiday. Where everyone can really enjoy every precious moment together.

We also know that the needs of travelling families are a little different, different that is from the wants, wishes and desires of those who travel without the little ones in tow!

Simon Say’s…

Today we talk to our Operations Manager, Simon. We ask him: ‘What are the main differences when you have the next generation along for the ride?

Simon is a highly experienced manager within the hotel. A role that is challenging by nature as it involves constantly developing, redesigning and aligning with the needs of all of our guests. Operations Managers have a wide variety of tasks that they’re assigned, and even they can vary depending on the day! More than just his role on site; he connects his staff with the city. Through great mentoring and leadership he is always the first person to ensure that the New Continental Hotel is a business that is well rooted in city wide events. Always the first person to but an idea into action!

Simon and his teams work tirelessly to ensure all guests have the best possible experiences. Be that through our food and beverage offer; having adequate staffing at any one time; developing strategies for an overall better service … it’s honestly endless!

It’s an Operations Manager’s job to oversee the entirety of the hotel; making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. As you can imagine, this is a constantly changing and challenging job, because our needs as guests are always changing and shifting shape.

Not only an Operations Manager, but also a devoted Dad of two, Simon understands the needs of our families all too well. Of course all guests have overlapping needs such as a desire for comfortable beds, good service, great food, happy staff … but there are some differences unique to our family travellers.

Family Travels…

What would you say is the biggest difference with a Family staying at the hotel opposed to a say a couple?

Generally speaking, families really do need more usable space. So they can all spread out! There is nothing worse for a family than a tight spot, with everyone getting ready on top of each other, with no room for toys or play!

Having on-site breakfast is always a bonus. You can slip out of your room, children still in PJs if they want, and have a leisurely breakfast to start the day right!

An activity within the hotel also helps. Our leisure club is perfect, we have a really nice warm pool for them to splash about in and some play equipment. This offers great and free entertainment for all the family to enjoy. It’s especially handy on those grey summer days, a great indoor activity to hide from the elements!   

What about the food offer for families?

As well as a bright breakfast room, we have Steve’s Brasserie. This is our in-house restaurant. We have a fabulously simple children’s menu with some great healthy choices as well as the classics like Chicken Nuggets. We take as much care in our children’s menu as we do our regular menus. The ingredients used is all of the same calibre, and our kitchen teams LOVE adding a little extra to the plate – a smiley pea face is a firm favourite!

What do you think makes us different to other hotels?

Our sector is fiercely competitive, more so than ever before given the current social and economic landscape. This is a big bonus for our guests.

Many hotels are all striving to offer the best experiences, best prices, best value, best service, best everything! What I think truly gives us our uniqueness, and perhaps helps us stand, is that we are  a family run business and we really  understand the needs of families.

PLYMOUTH…Britain’s Ocean City

With summer being busier, and rates slightly higher during this time of year, when would you advice families who want to travel to visit Plymouth?

 Like with any hotel, booking with them direct is always the best option. Checking their websites for special offers is always a great way to start. Not only to save money, but gain really tangible added value too.

Plymouth is a remarkable city, not only due to the sensational vista but also the rich history, cultural offer, amazing events and of course the sensational people that are so proud and passionate. Visiting Plymouth at any time of the year will offer a platform to grow great memories from.

Special Offers…

If Simon hasn’t got your fingers clicking on Plymouth yet, for your next holiday destination, maybe this will! We work tirelessly to ensure that we are offering great value all of the time. That is why our Offers page is constantly updated…

Christmas 2019…

Christmas is a great time to explore the city; especially with little ones. Here at the hotel we really want people to benefit from the offering that Plymouth has during this time of year; not only the beautiful lights and the amazing Christmas Market, but also the activities and events, mostly free, that are scheduled during this time of year.

Our Winter Break offer gives guests the opportunity to enjoy not only a winter break in Plymouth but also 15% OFF their entire stay! Guests can choose any of our rooms between 28th October  and the 23rd December and use the promotional code WB19 to get 15% off.

The Christmas Shopper promotion is also a great way to have more money for shopping with 20% Off your stay! Book any nights between Monday 16th and Friday 20th December and enjoy the festivities that Britain’s Ocean City offer. The promotional code for this is XMAS19

If you are thinking about planning ahead, then our Early Bird Offer will help you spring into 2020.  Book any rooms and any nights throughout January 2020 and receive 20% OFF your stay. Although this is a non-refundable and non-transferable rate, once booked and looking forward to your stay in Plymouth there wouldn’t be a reason to not check-in!

 

A VERY Special Christmas…

Christmas At The New Continental Hotel 2019…

This year marks a very special Christmas here at the New Continental Hotel; besides the fact it’s Christmas and we love that time of year, we are celebrating our 35th Christmas!

To celebrate, our dedicated chefs have created another amazing mouth wateringly festive Christmas Menu for you to indulge in!

Starters are always a treat! With so many options it’s hard to choose. We love the Butternut Squash soup with Parmesan crisps, or the juicy oven backed ratatouille vol-au-vents with a puff pastry shell. Perhaps even the pate with apricot and ginger chutney – all deliciously indulgent!

For mains, we can’t fail to mention the amazing vegetarian alternative to a beef Wellington. This incredible Beetroot Wellington, with its earthy celeriac and beetroot filling, makes a show-stopping main course for any feast. Served with a chestnut jus and all the festive trimmings, it’s the perfect choice for food lovers, not just vegetarians!

Of course we have the tempting and traditional Turkey, but what about the Baked Cod? We love this tender and flaky white fish dish, oven baked to perfection with a juicy tomato and pesto finish. Delicious!

Desserts are always a dreamy affair! Christmas Puddings, Chocolate Brownie, Cheese Boards … and that’s naming just a few of the festive delights! With plenty of Gluten Free and Vegan options, no one will miss out on a sweet treat of savoury finish.

With a menu worth braving Plymouth’s wintry weather for, and prices that will please, Christmas at the New Continental Hotel 2019 is the perfect way to end the year!

We Ask The Head Chef…

Christmas in Plymouth

 

 

We sat down with the Head Chef, Rob Dunne between his busy service to find out about his Christmas foodie favourites…

 

 

Which dish from the Christmas menu 2019 are you most excited about?

“I think one of my favourite starters this year is probably the Potted Smoked Trout. This in part is due to the fact that it’s home smoked. We are also using local crab and fennel, coupled with a fresh and crisp pickled cucumber salad. I think the combination of flavours, the trout which is smoked and the pickled cucumber together is just a lovely combination.

The Christmas Day Nut Loaf will be a real show stopper! We have experimented with our initial recipe and feel that the one we have all agreed on is a winner. Everyone devoured it in the tasting! It feels really indulgent and earthy, but fresh at the same time.

First of all, choosing a dessert is tricky! I’m a big fan of all things sweet! Yet because I have to pick just one, it’s got to be the Chocolate Brownie paired with the salted caramel ice-cream. You can’t beat the warm velvety chocolate with its sweet notes mixed with the cold, salty caramel ice-cream. I’m a huge fan!”

If you haven’t made you Christmas dining and party plans yet, then call us today. We still have some availability and we would LOVE for you to join in the festivities of  Christmas 2019 – AND our 35th Christmas Celebration!

Call today to check our current availability or to make a booking |  01752 276783

Benefits Of Swimming…

For just a second, as you read these words, picture yourself beside the sea. Watching the waves gently break upon the sand; feeling the warm breeze whilst gazing to the horizon.

Or perhaps imagine yourself sat by a heated indoor pool. The warm air around you enveloping you safely, mesmerised by the light dancing across the pool surface. Then, think about the calming feeling of the water around you, lifting you, holding you up as you swim.

Do you feel relaxed? Us too!

There’s something very therapeutic about being in, or being near the water. So, we ask Adam, our Club Continental Manager, what the science might be behind the tranquil calm that we feel when faced with the turquoise wonder…

Here’s what he had to say about it…

I am a huge fan of knowing why our body and minds do what they do. Although no scientist or expert, I am fascinated!

Simply form a personal perspective, taking some time out to go for a swim or be near the water gives me some much needed time out of my crazy daily schedule!  Plus, it gives me space to rejuvenate and refresh; so that I have a more positive outlook on the day – or the week ahead.

I tap into a sense of comfort…

I find it clears my mind and helps me think more rationally. Daily stresses can be overwhelming, so finding what works for you, to help you escape for a moment will be the best thing you have ever done for yourself. What’s more, you deserve it!

A swim helps me stay cool, calm and collected so that I can perform at my best; whether in a sporting competition, in everyday life or at work.

Swim England Say…

In 2017 Swim England commissioned major new research into the health benefits of swimming. The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report is an independent study that fully explores the impact of swimming on physical, mental and social well-being. It’s an amazing research document that gave me a great insight into the ‘why’s’ behind the swimming benefits I feel.

Like all exercise, swimming releases endorphins in your brain. These are natural feel-good hormones that increase positivity and bring about a sense of well-being and happiness. More than this though, the report found evidence that regular swimmers live longer. It helps older people stay mentally and physically fit, and participation in swimming lessons can help children to develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker.

Starve The Stress…

People have always said that swimming reduces stress, that it calms us. The new research suggests that swimming might actually help to promote the growth of new brain cells in parts of the brain which break down during chronic (long-term) stress.  So, stepping us even closer to providing the scientific evidence that explains why swimming could enhance our ability to manage and cope better with stress.

With or without the science, what we do know for sure is that swimming is a particularly good way, for the majority of us, to relax our body, soothe our mind and reduce anxiety.

Making Friends…

Swimming is a form of exercise you can do by yourself, which is great because you can go when you want and you don’t have to rely on anyone else. Yet Club Continental offers you the space to be alone, but the opportunity to be among friends. The Club is a great place to meet new people, having a little minute chat whilst in-between lengths is a great way to connect, helping knock down any feelings of isolation, that many feel in their normal every day.

Oh So Blue…

Although I have never come across any concrete scientific proof that being in blue spaces improves or enhances mental well-being, I’m pretty sure it does!  The colour blue is calming and is abundant throughout the natural world. When the sky is blue I always feel happier!  You might also have heard of the term ‘biophilia’ – this means the ‘love of nature’ and refers to our inbuilt desire to be near and connected with nature!

Whether you rely on the science or just your own sense of well-being after being by or in the water; swimming really is a great way for EVERYONE to stay physically and mentally fit. Club Continental is open 7 days a week; and you don’t need to be a member! Pop in and see either me or a member of my team to find out more.

Working Out Single Use Plastic…

Single Use Plastic …

Over the last months, plastics have been a hotter topic than ever before;  sparked primarily by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. People and businesses around the world have been moving quickly; trying to help reduce the amounts of plastics they use.

Here at Club Continental things are no different. Adam (the Club Continental Manager) and his team have been busily working hard to ensure that they are doing what they can so that they don’t add to the shocking statistics. They do not want to add to the amount of single use plastic waste that ends up in our oceans.

Today, we take 10 minutes out of Adams busy schedule to hear why he feels so passionately about the cause… 

We’re removing all single-use plastic from Club Continental…

As participants in the leisure and fitness industry, we have a responsibility to work with other sectors to tackle this problem head on.  No one starts their day thinking that they want to add to the plastic crisis. Yet, we are all living in a rapid social climate, trying to fit so much in to our day, so because of this we look for convenience. Sometimes it’s just easier to rely on others to help us make the better choices.

Here at Club Continental we know our members want to help make a difference. Plastic has a real and direct impact on our health; the environment and all of our futures. It’s something that I feel we as a gym need to help address.

Over the last 30 years I have witnessed single use plastics becoming the norm within the gym environment.  I hope that our new initiative (to be launched on the 1st September 2019) will inspire others in the industry to audit and overhaul, where possible, their own green policies in a similar way.

Things are changing…

What’s amazing is many within the sports arenas and sectors already have made significant change. We saw Wimbledon this year making a massive step. Many Premier League clubs are urging their players to use their influence to empower and mobilise their supporters to consider their environmental impact. Plus many gyms around the world are totally eradicating single use plastic from their vending machines, protein and shake bars and changing rooms.

To me it makes absolute sense for organisations to adjust their policies and strategies to support their members, staff and guests to tackle the issue. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to see that together, we ARE and we WILL make a difference.

From September 1st we will be removing all single use plastic from Club Continental. The main area of change that our members and guests will see this happen is by the removal of the plastic cups used with our water fountain.

I am enormously proud of the effort my team puts into helping people achieve their goals; they are all mindful and considerate – whilst motivating and supportive. So, when I mentioned my concerns after calculating the annual plastic cup consumption for the Club, they all supported me. When you realise that each plastic cup has a lifespan of around 35 seconds; you know things simply have to change!

Nest Steps…

Our next step as a Club is to deliver other sustainability initiatives – such as energy and water reduction. I know that I will have the support of our members and friends. I know this because I am sure they will want to help make tomorrow better than today on all counts.

Adam and his team are in the process of created an amazing resource for anyone that wants to help them on their quest. Like Club Continental on Facebook to access this awesome PDF that will be coming soon!

 

Your Wedding – Your Choices…

The World Of Weddings & How It Is Changing…

BY | Elinor Eaton, Development Manager

Although I have never been married myself; I have had the privilege of attending a lot of weddings in my life! So, upon reading the research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts.

Let’s unfold together the latest changes in the way those that choose marry, choose to do so…

I love a wedding!

Not only are they full of beautiful outfits and great food; weddings are also full of so much love and laughter. And of course the odd happy tear or two! They are also full of amazing imagination and creations, helping couples express their love for each other; but also their unique personalities.

No two weddings I have ever attended have ever been the same. Odd when you think about it! Weddings in its simplest terms are two people in love joining together for a future of happiness.

Yet they are all so very different!

Like every person is different!  Yet all made up of two eyes, a nose and a mouth, we are still unique beings. And isn’t that wonderful? How dull life would be if we all looked the same – and how sad it would be if every wedding was a replica.

When you see peoples personalities expressed on their wedding day, their love for each other makes even more sense. It’s like looking into their love scrapbook, seeing the pieces that unite and bond them. It’s truly breathtaking.

The venue a couple chooses also says so much about who they are as a couple and what matters to them. When I was younger and dreaming of my wedding day, I would often think of myself walking barefoot down an aisle, scattered with grape veins in a vineyard in France, strolling to the gentle tunes of Sade at dusk. Sometimes my fairy tale would take me to a morning on a sunny beach, wearing diamante flip flops and linen, saying ‘I do’ to the sound of the waves gently stroking the sand.

And interesting, I wasn’t alone!

Many others were also conjuring up the idea that they too were going to step away from a more traditional wedding.

Researchers from the ONS have provided an interesting insight into what those inaugural dreams of a less traditional take have done to the current landscape for the wedding sector.

They have reported that the UK has seen a record low in religious ceremonies. They say that only 25% are choosing this more traditional day and the rest of the couples are having a more social event.

The New Continental Hotel…

This echoes our annual report for the New Continental Hotel during the years 2018/2019. We have seen an increase in civil weddings and a rapid decrease in couples joining us for a celebration after their religious ceremony. Just 2% of our couples in 2018/2019 chose a church wedding.

This doesn’t mean that weddings and marriages are less meaningful or spiritual now; it simply means that couples are choosing to express themselves and their love for one another in other ways. More and more venues have a premise licenses, there are 20 approved wedding venues in Plymouth alone.  Also, not only is the choice plentiful more couples with differing cultures and religions are coming together, and so looking for something that will fit both their beliefs, dreams and desires.

For some couples, the religious ceremonies that are conducted at churches, in front of those closest and dearest and in the eyes of God will be the perfect setting for their futures to start. In the same way that those who chose a less religious day,  equally as magical and sacred, choose a civil ceremony so that they have more freedom to personalise readings

What we have now more than perhaps ever before is more freedom and choice. Personalising these special days to reflect personalities and love for each other.

Mid-Week Weddings…

Here at the New Continental Hotel we have seen a huge increase in our mid-week wedding packages.  Telling us that not only are couples choosing their way and their venue – but their day too. No longer thinking it must be a Saturday but working on a day that ticks all of your boxes as you tie the knot and start your lives together as a married couple.

Love, although different for everyone, needs its own ways and roots, and with the choices we now have, love can really bloom.

Congratulations if you have found your one and you are planning your forever together. If you’re thinking of a wedding day all under one elegant roof, then talk to our amazing Wedding Coordinators today and let them show you how our hotel can be yours for the day.

A Simple Act Makes A Huge Difference…

Helping A Stranger…

Being kind is not a new phenomenon. Kindness has become a definite movement and it’s heartening to see more and more people reaching out, being nice and taking the time to make a difference. No matter how big,  OR how small.

Working in hospitality, we are surrounded by ‘good’ people every day. To work in this sector you have to have many natural aptitudes; and kindness is definitely one of them.

What that doesn’t mean is that you become complaisant to kindness. When you see people taking the time to go above and beyond, taking a genuine interest, it still fills you with a warm glow.

Kindness In Hospitality…

Hospitality in my eyes, has its very own gene pool of staff. Just as we need in life to produce a happy society – with human communities made up of an array of characters and human bands – hospitality needs that too!

Take the New Continental Hotel; we have THE full mix of amazing staff to make the perfect Conti blend!

We have the strong and silent; the fast and curious; the nurturing and empathetic; the clever and witty; the quiet and shy; the patient and determined; the funny and generous…with the common thread throughout being kind and passionate.

From The Top Down…

From our Directors and leaders through to team members, we have a perfect and eclectic mix of characters; all who are kind and all who are generous with their time in order to help each other, our guests and our community alike.

Something that placed a clear lens over this beautiful mix happened at the end of June; and it happened thanks to a perfect stranger.

Meeting The Perfect Stranger…

They were not guests staying at the hotel, but they came into the foyer clutching a beautiful black & white photograph. Greeted by our receptionist they told of their tale, an enchanting narrative that captured our receptionist and instinctively she wanted to help.

Within minutes, the Director, our Development Manager and  receptionist were busy trying to fill in the blanks with their local knowledge and of course Google!

Meet Henny Korver | New Friend and Dutch Journalist…

The gentleman was a Dutch journalist called Henny Korver. He had visited Plymouth several times when younger in the 70’s. He came to document the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (STAR) from Plymouth to the USA.  Inaugurated in 1960 and celebrating 60 years in 2020.

During Henny’s stay all those years ago, he frequently visited a pub in Millbay Docks. With so many happy memories and friends that welcomed him – he had never forgotten their kind hospitality and friendship and wanted to go back. He wanted to revisit the city that captured his heart and take a stroll down memory lane.

But all Henny had was his memories and a photo; he couldn’t remember exactly where it was – or what it was even called.  

The idea that he might be reunited with the places he held so dear seemed impossible. Plymouth is a city that’s regeneration and changes caused Henny disorientation. With only a few hours left in Plymouth to find what he was looking for, and nearing the end of his search, he felt like he may not find his little piece of Plymouth.

Then he found us!

Resembling the image captured on the photo he came in to ask, on the off chance,  if this might have been the hotel that he had stayed in during the 70’s. Then perhaps he could trace his steps back and find his memories.  Sadly we weren’t the hotel, but we were keen to help!

So, using Google and our own memories of Plymouth we set Henny off with a route and a potential place, ringed in red on our hotel map!

We all hoped that Henny would find his little piece of Plymouth – but never thought we would find out. That was until we received an email from Henny Korver & Eline Verburg from their home in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.

They Did It! 

In the email they shared their thanks and told us how this part of their trip, visiting Plymouth, was a real highlight of their holiday. And that Henny indeed found what he was looking for.

Although there is no ‘hard’ evidence to suggest that we are all hard-wired for kindness, here at the New Continental Hotel it’s safe to say that helping people enjoy their time in our city IS what we are hard-wired to do! Helping people and offering kindness leaves us all thinking and feeling ‘I’m so glad we did that’.

Simple acts such as holding a door open for someone, can really change someone’s day, smiling or simple human interaction makes the day a little better. Here at the New Continental Hotel, we lead by example and have Directors that empower and enable kindness and generosity because they give it so full heartedly themselves.

It’s been called the Virtuous Circle, whereby one good deed begets another and little by little we make the world a better place to live. A ripple effect occurs and little by little people become happier.

For us, receiving the email and photos from Henny & Eline was exactly what we needed to remind us that kindness takes just moments – but the happiness it gives lasts a lifetime.

To the two that were strangers and who are now friends…

From all of us here in Britain’s Ocean City to you in The Netherlands, and with the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race uniting us – we hope to welcome you back soon to make new memories in Plymouth.

A Real Kitchen Nightmare…?

Left | Rob Dunne – Head Chef at the New Continental Hotel

Right | Paul Doidge – Executive Chef at the New Continental Group 

Chef’s Talk…

We hear chefs talk about the pleasure of the palate; about the passion in their prep; the joy that comes from the cry of  ‘service’ and the indescribable pride when someone loves what they do.

But what happens when kitchen talk takes a new direction? 

The ‘food boom’ should be a joyous occasion for chefs. People eating out and knowing their ‘mustard’ when it comes to great ingredients. Knowing their mind when it comes to food choices. No longer are we as customers ordering the same meals; we are exploring and trying new things and being led by chefs creating amazing menus.

So what could chefs possibly be unhappy about…?

Paul Doidge, our Executive Chef at the New Continental Group is one of the many industry leaders who share very real concerns about ‘ The great chef shortage’; and is working hard to try and solve the fundamental challenge for all hospitality businesses.

So, when we talk about a shortage of chefs with him, he had plenty to say about the matter …

The current landscape…

In my 22 years of cheffing, I am not sure that we have seen such a golden age for dining out. People are not just eating out for a special occasion anymore; they are making the most of spending time together and enjoying great food whilst they make amazing memories.

Yet when I talk about this ‘golden age’ I am filled with sadness and fear; why, because never before have I felt such a woe when I talk about such a happy time for my sector.  On the one hand I am obviously elated, on the other hand troubled.

Knowing that people are loving what we do, the passion and energy that we install in every dish is not going unnoticed and customers are becoming more discerning. With an abundance of choice; they are choosing our settings and that is a sensational feeling. On the other hand there is a deep sadness, due to the shortage of chefs and waiting staff in our sector.

The shape of things to come…

In March 2017, we were all captivated upon reading the KPMG report for the British Hospitality Association; it stated everything that we were feeling…worried was the general consensus!  Although 10 years from now; the figures suggesting that by 2029 the industry could have a deficit of more than a million workers is in no way good to hear!

We are already feeling the high levels of vacancies. In fact it was said by KPMG that we actually have the highest levels compared to any other sector. And although like in many sectors there is scope to make improvements on productivity, this isn’t sustainable and chefs will burn out. Nor are we (chefs) willing to sacrifice the finished product by cutting corners – we all know that making life ‘easy’ is not what chefs do!

Potential Pitfalls…

I really can understand why this happens, but what we don’t want to see for our sector is that all the experienced, senior chefs leave the kitchens for the high pay of an agency. Where they become heroes, due to their knowledge, and who can fit in any kitchen confidently and capably. They parachute in and save the day, filling holes and roles to keep chains going and then migrating once again with their knowledge and experience to their next position. These are highly skilled individuals, who don’t only have pure passion running through their veins, and a love for their craft, but also so much knowledge and ability.

What That Could Mean…

If this were to happen, and we were to lose them from our kitchens, younger chefs wouldn’t have the relationships they need to have with a senior, experienced chef. They would not have access to a constant vessel to learn from. We all started with a mentor, someone we looked up to and aspired to be one day; my fear is if we were to lose these ‘mentors’ we would lose the inspiration.

What you then might also have is the commis and CPD level chefs in their mid-career, who see the benefit of agency work and agency hours, being able to take their level of knowledge and make contacts and build their portfolio. This would then create a desperate shortage when recruiting these important, young and ambitious mid-level chefs within the smaller, independent restaurants and settings. Chefs that we rely on in small kitchens.

On one hand, good, experienced Chefs are in a very powerful position at the moment; when you have a skills shortage of any kind, when demand outstrips supply, you have a monopoly.  Agency work, or relief cover, becomes an amazing (and tantalising) opportunity to broaden your portfolio whilst earning really good money. But is that sustainable for our sector? With no new, young talent being incubated and captured by the fury and fire of a passionate brigade.

So, where does that leave young people who are inspired by a craft that takes time and patience as well as mentors that need to be present?

Earning & learning…

You always have to look for the solutions. Here at the New Continental Group, we have decided to start sowing seeds for our sector now, 10 years isn’t that far away before the 2029 scary prophecy. We want to make a statement within our sector and ensure that we are working in the direction that we think the future of our craft needs.

City College Plymouth…

Within our Group we have some of the best Head Chefs; with diverse experience, all with their own set of mastery and of course oodles of passion. All lending themselves to being what I class as exceptional mentors. So now, teaming up with City College Plymouth we have an apprentice in every kitchen! There are a number of other amazing settings that offer apprenticeships,  Plymouth is a city that is fortunate enough to have a plethora of platforms and springboards that connect people to both a profession they can be proud of; but also a future that is rewarding and bright.

The Future…

Now, we have four bright sparks all working with sensational Head Chefs who are happy in their roles and rooted firmly in their kitchen! The apprentices are growing, learning and increasing their passion for a profession that they can be proud of for many years to come.

Not only learning all the important elements of being a great chef and learning about great products; but also what it means to be part of a strong team; managing sections and working in a passionate environment.

Our apprentices are phenomenal; with natural aptitudes and a desire to soak up the kitchens in which they work. With this formula and the help of City College Plymouth, attracting and retaining passionate and enthusiastic chefs is going to mean that we have a pool of talent that knows what kitchen life can be for the chefs of the future; and Plymouth will very much be at the heart of it.

 

A Roma Bar Chat | This Time About Being CYBER Safe

The Roma Bar – It’s All About The Chit Chat!

Elinor Eaton, Development Manager for the New Continental Hotel and Strathmore House Apartments shares her Roma Bar Chit Chat!

It’s a current landscape that is vastly different from the one we knew twenty years ago, when many of us were already in our professional field.

Twenty years ago, for many businesses it was all about the shop front. You would put adverts in the local paper and join networking groups nearby and hope, with all your might, that people would need what you sold. Some extended their markets by sending sales people out on the road, with samples and a notebook of prices. They would be armed with Carbon Paper at the ready for orders; then they would whisk them back to the office, pack up the items and deliver them to their customers.

Twenty years doesn’t feel like that long ago; but the change we have seen, some gradual some instantaneous, is vast. Innovations, new ways of thinking and new needs, met with the inception of the Internet has created a very new platform for business.

A business became no longer dependent on its local customer base for its survival; nor so much on an individual member of staffs knowledge of a product or service. Things were at our fingertips and very different to our old norm!

The internet quickly became a vast and beautiful entity that allowed us all unprecedented access to information, the likes of which we had never seen before, or even been able to imagine!

A FAX was a magical thing; EMAILS just blew minds!

Roll on twenty years and we have never before had as much access to knowledge as we do today, and that’s all thanks to the internet. Yet with this creation, for many of us, has come with it a huge amount of uncertainty and some fear. It empowers and enable us to work smarter; but we have to be smarter too…in areas that still sometimes feels like something from a science fiction novel!

I felt like I was at a pretty ‘ok’ level of understanding and knowledge when it came to cyber-safety. As a hotel we work with a local company called Acronyms who support us on all levels of IT, including our Wi-Fi and guests safety.  Yet last week, when I sat in on a very interesting chat in the Roma Bar, I realised that although we all use the internet now for work and in our every days, and we all have very different levels of understanding when it comes to our safety.

I was sat with a lady and  gentleman who shared similar roles; out on the road having meetings and making sales – but they had very different backgrounds.

My Meeting With Jess & Richard…

Although I was due to finish work for the day and was on my way out, for 30 minutes we spoke at length about the ‘trials and tribulations of a road warrior in 2019’.

Interestingly the gentleman, Richard, had worked his way up from warehouse to road, and Jess straight from University.

They sat sharing a drink (and our Enterprise grade Wi-Fi) whilst both tapping away,  their finger tips recording their days events onto their screens.

This is not a new scene here at the New Continental Hotel. We have an amazing collection of sensational business people who share our hotel and facilities each week; but last week what I was struck by was a unity between these two people, despite very different beginnings, thoughts and skill sets.

Cyber-Security…

As they asked me to join them, the conversation started with the Business landscape and obstacles in Plymouth. Then moved on to what I saw the future looking like both socially and economically. This then sharply moved on to a conversation that has intrigued me for some time now – cyber-security when out and about.

Our guests, be they here for leisure or business, are the most important thing to us, and their safety (in all respects) matters greatly. We are all told daily, with startling headlines and victims reports that for many ‘criminals’ – travellers and their online identities are at risk.

Your online presence is a cookie jar for those who know how to access it” and “Your lack of knowledge is a playpen for the technical criminal

Although we all know that even for the most seasoned of IT literate beings, just being present and online can provide a rich source of gratification, profit or power to someone who wishes to abuse it.

One Persons Wisdom Shared; Is Another Persons Gain…

Jess had studied at The University of Nottingham and although professed she was no expert, seemed to know a great deal about cyber defences and keeping her and her business safe.  Although not her Mastermind specialist subject; listening to her talk and seeing how intent Richard was at listening to what she had to share – I knew others may feel the same.

What was clear from our conversation was that holiday makers and business travellers were at risk just as much, if not more so than those people at home. In part because it was easier for their cyber defences to be on the back burner; off their minds as they head for a ‘jolly holiday’ or because, if they were business travellers, they had reports to write and return and tight deadlines!

Richard asked Jess a great questions:

When you are a business traveller you need to be connected, so how do you stay safe or at least SAFER when you are?

Cyber Hygiene!

‘Cyber hygiene’ as Jess put it was the first thing she mentioned; not only making sure your software is updated, but also changing your passwords before you travel. Each week she changes her passwords to complex words or phrases that are hard to guess. Jess also said she adds two-factor authentication. As this adds an extra layer of protection from hackers on her travels for work.

What was interesting was that she felt a responsibility not only to her own safety but her employers too. Quite rightly we talked about the responsibility we all have now to keep our companies safe.

We are living in an age where certain information is far more sensitive than money – and we wouldn’t carry around any amount of our companies cash without the correct security practises in place!

Social Platforms!

Richard didn’t have personal social media accounts. But another key element that came from the conversation was about the use of social media when you are on the road. As a hotel setting with love seeing people check-in and upload their photos, and we know that for many businesses they share posts, check-in and thank customers and new contacts for time and such like.  Jess said that although she does do this, she always waits until after her trip to share information through social media, that way she has the control.

Access!

Most employees now will have a VPN. This securely allow themselves to access data on a network and upload information, save and store safely. Even if you do have this; Jess also said that it’s always worth disabling your automatic connection to Wi-Fi networks – on all your devices when travelling. This prevents you accidentally joining public Wi-Fi without having a chance to check the network.

Jess said she never uses public Wi-Fi anymore, or any that doesn’t require a password.   Turning off your Bluetooth when you aren’t using it also came up.  Hackers can connect to a device and quickly download user data through this connection.  Like an open window, they can then access personal information and send messages or join infected networks.

All so scary!

Our conversations ended and we said our goodbyes. Yet the conversation left me thinking a few things – and not all about cyber safety!

Times change; things move on and we all adapt – but the constant is that strangers are just friends we haven’t made yet! No matter what our backgrounds or our journeys we all have things we can share. It was far from a one sided conversation. Richard gave Jess and I great advice that only comes with wisdom baked over time.

If you make the time to listen, even just for 30 minutes you can learn so much. And, if you take the time to switch off your Bluetooth you can be a little safer too!

These points will no doubt seem very basic to many. Yet my hope is that if just one person disables their automatic connection to Wi-Fi or turns off their Bluetooth (like Richard did!) it was well worth sharing our Roma Bar chit-chat! 

Like A Lazy Sunday Lie-In? No Need To Feel Guilty…

Summer Sunday lie-Ins At The New Continental Hotel…

We simply couldn’t wait for National Sleep In Day on the 26th October! The day the clocks go back and we all get an extra hour in bed.

So we thought to ourselves: “How can we give our guests an extra special treat this summer?” 

We introduce to you: Our Lazy Sunday Summer Lie-Ins!

Every Sunday this summer we will be serving Breakfast until 10.30 am.

Being in bed for half an hour longer isn’t just about a quantum of sleep. It also means that there is no rush to your table. No need to hurry your enjoyment when eating your freshly cooked to order Breakfast!

“There’s nothing quite like the occasional weekend lie-in after a long week at work, but especially a lie-in when you’re on holiday!

I’m a good morning person when I have to be – with the help of coffee! But there are times when I like to enjoy the fact that I don’t have to struggle to stir when the alarm goes off!

The Lazy Sunday Lie-In is great news for people like me, people who enjoy a leisurely wake up and the occasional hit of the snooze button!”

Says Elinor Eaton, the Development Manager at the New Continental Hotel and Strathmore House Apartments.

If like Elinor you like a little lie-in at the weekend; don’t feel guilty or alone!

There has been some research that suggests that people who sleep in on the weekends are actually healthier than their early bird counterparts! So, this Sunday enjoy your guilt-free lie in – remember if the experts say it’s good for you, then it must be!

What’s more, we have some amazing offers. So, not only can you have a lie-in, you can have a great nights sleep for less! 

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