As sweet as pie: how friendships power the hospitality sector
To thrive in the high-pressure world of fine dining, you need skill, drive – and great relationships. That’s the key finding from BRITA’s Perfect Pairings research, backed up by the experience of five-star chefs such as Nokx Majozi.
Nokx’s career has taken her from South Africa to the UK, where she’s now head pie-maker at The Pie Room, the luxury dining room at the Rosewood London. Here, Nokx serves up a slice of wisdom, saying “it’s not hospitality without friends.”
Nobody’s saying that working in the hospitality industry is easy as pie. Nokx trained in her home country before going to the USA, where she was snapped up to create South African cuisine at Disney.
She then spent four years honing her skills in the kitchen at the exclusive Holborn Dining Room, Rosewood London, before bringing her global culinary nous to the great icon of British cuisine, the pie.
But while the hours are long and the demands high, nearly three-quarters of workers say you’re more likely to make friends in the hospitality sector than other industries, according to our research.
Nokx explains: “There’s a lot of opportunities where you can experience different cultures and meet a lot of people around the world.”
She adds: “One of my most memorable friendships was with an apprentice from Switzerland. She always asked me if I was ok – in a fast-paced environment this is really important.”
Rising to the top
Now, in Nokx’s day-to-day life producing mouth-watering luxury pastry dishes, “nothing is more important than having a friend at work.”
“You become a family,” she says. “You can share the ideas, talk about families, culture, trips – about everything.”
And a happy kitchen equals a happy experience for diners too. Nokx endorses BRITA’s research, which found that 70% of hospitality employees think friendships boost standards by facilitating good teamwork.
So, Nokx encourages the sector to do more to nurture connections, such as team visits to other restaurants. Her top tip? Buddy schemes to give newbies a listening ear that will help them overcome the many challenges they’ll face in their career.
And for employers investing in such plans, the proof is in the pudding.
“Friendships make me want to stay at a company longer!” says Nokx. “When I see myself growing and feel encouragement and support from my team, I feel motivated to do better.”
Recipe for success
Alongside strong teams, another key ingredient for running a top-class kitchen is to forge great external relationships. Nokx explains how her long-term suppliers look out for her and her team: checking orders, bringing them up to speed on seasonal produce and trends, and generally “helping us to do our jobs better.”
She says: “This is really important – we have a human connection rather than it being a purely transactional friendship.”
People and pies: a perfect pairing
From Disney to fine dining, Nokx has cooked up a storm around the world. And while her pies are anything but humble, she is happy to share the credit for her achievements, saying: “My job wouldn’t be possible without my friends and support network around me – it’s just not hospitality without friends.”
At BRITA Professional, we know how vital sustainable, conscious business partnerships are to the hospitality sector.
Our Managed Services offer lifts the pressure off teams by taking on responsibility for machine maintenance, training and more. That gives them more time to focus on looking after their customers – and each other. Let’s raise a glass to that!