Harri's Summer Series: Reward and Benefit

U.K. Summer series recap (2).png

This year, we’re excited to debut our Summer Series in the UK, a selection of events for senior hospitality professionals. Co-chaired by Harri’s Cleo Clarke, Global Vice President of Human Resources Strategy, and Tom Howes, Product & Training Manager, these events aim to bring together a diverse group of professionals  to discuss topics which help businesses build a successful employee value proposition (EVP). An EVP is defined as ‘what an organisation stands for, requires, and offers employees’*.

To really dig into how to build a successful EVP, we’ve segmented topics that must be covered in order to create a strong offer for potential and current employees.

In the first session, which took place June 27, 2018, Rachael Bolton (Head of People, ETM Group), Becky Rose (Head of People, Coppa Club / Strada), Simon Milligan (Recruitment Manager, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi), Gemma Catlin (Head of People & Development, The City Pub Company), Carol Cairnes (Head of People, D&D London), Simon Wedlock (Recruitment Manager, The City Pub Company), Andrew Meechan (Talent Manager, Third Space), Janene Pretorius (Director of People, The Ivy Collection), Jose Rubio (Head of Recruitment UK, Ole & Steen) gathered gathered bright and early at The Riding House Cafe in Central London to discuss how their reward and benefits may be the first key to a great EVP (and enjoy a delicious breakfast).

The first session opened with a recap of the current state of play in the U.K. Unemployment has continued its downward movement and is at an all-time low of 4.3%. As expected, there was an average earnings increase and government relief at this time. Unemployment has seen little movement, with weekly earnings remaining much the same over the last 3 years**. However, this year has seen changes, with the national living wage increasing by a whopping 4.7%, which equates to an extra 33p/hour (or £50/month) per employee.

These changes, coupled with the fact that labour spend is a consistently relevant topic for the hospitality industry, meant that discussing reward and its effect on employee motivation and engagement was up for discussion first. Cleo opened by asking attendees if compensation was a leading factor for employee satisfaction and engagement. Many people disagreed with this for front of house employees (e.g. waiters, sommeliers, management), suggesting from recent experience that these individuals derive satisfaction from things like creating experiences and having lovely co-workers.

Oversupply, in ever increasing consumer choice and employment options has the sector in a bind.  To stand out in this crowded space we have launched our Employee Value Proposition ‘Expect More’. We know already that our guests to expect more from us in terms of food and service, and now we want our teams to share the same high expectation from us in terms of the training and career development they can expect.
— Strahan Wilson, CFO, Cote Restaurants

On the flip side, other attendees agreed with this sentiment for kitchen/operations employees (e.g. chefs) suggesting that during recruitment conversations in particular, kitchen/operations applicants tend to be more interested in their take-home base pay and how this compares to other friends or connections in the industry, sparking one restaurant HR attendee to question how clear advertising is when concerned with salary. This generated comments from all about making a move, especially with entry-level employees, to talk about take-home wage rather than hourly rates, as this may be more useful to those prospective/promoted employees.

Based on this conversation, it seemed that many of the hospitality professionals in attendance have moved to make all positions below senior management payable at an hourly rate, thus allowing employees more control and understanding of their expected take-home pay. It was also suggested that attendees who took this route saw increases in reliability, productivity, and engagement.

Cleo, who implemented highly detailed compensation strategy and guides in past roles, shared his thoughts on how this can improve a business. Many attendees stressed the importance of having a guiding remuneration committee for any banding/grading decisions in order to provide differing perspectives.

Another hot topic discussed was the gender pay gap. The group was asked about their response to the gender pay gap reporting and their subsequent course of action. Of those using Tronc or other tip systems, many expressed that figures were difficult to generate, thus leading to a misrepresentation of their business. Some were happy to report that they had a positive difference in head offices; however, noted there were noticeable disparities between head offices and on-site staff. These disparities were most visible when talking through how compensation changes are managed. Many reflected that practices of the past (subjective pay changes) were very much “out” and more value lead clear pay for performance cultures were becoming more accepted at the front line.

Tom and the head of HR for a large group shared stories of budgeting for people metrics (i.e. recruitment/retention costs linked to bonus outcome) which received positive response. Many agreed they were in the process of or had already moved to such a system due to their counterparts in other businesses and industries showing positive progress with this methodology.

Considering the bonus and extra compensation employees may receive in our organisations, the conversation moved toward benefits; a key theme being the localisation of benefits to employees. One of the attendees from a hospitality business with wide reach and a diverse portfolio suggested that this was the only way they’d seen engagement from their teams with benefits. More generic solutions, e.g. Perkbox, seemed to be on the way out and a larger focus on unique employee useability was key.

Tom and Cleo had seen real, positive uptake on this with surveys, one way to gain insight. One attendee had a response rate close to 50% after 1 week on an all-employee survey for benefits (which for many was considered a good response). Some of the attendees had already undertaken this process and started relevant and requested benefits with their employees, including cash health plans and boosted employee discounts (some giving management up to 100% off inclusive of friends and family).

A competitive salary alone is not enough to retain top talent. We recognise that employees want a clear career path and support in reaching their potential. In response we have invested heavily in L&D. Amongst others we have launched 3 new D&D London Diplomas , developed an online appraisal system and trebled the number of training courses and workshops on offer.
— Carol Cairnes, Head of People, D&D London

Excitingly, there was one attendee who had worked closely with their tech team to develop an internal application where employees could communicate, receive discounts, and earn points for use at their sites. This has dramatically decreased their benefit overall spend and brought employee focus across all departments and locations back to the business and the great food, beverage, and accommodation on offer.

Key Takeaways for Hospitality Employers

From this session, it was clear that there is real engagement across the industry on becoming more attractive for potential candidates and more beneficial for current employees. From a wonderful morning of scrumptious breakfast and intriguing deep conversation, there are some serious questions you should be asking yourself to create the reward and benefit element of your employee value proposition:

  • Changes to NLW & Unemployment Statistics:

    • Are your front-line managers aware of these changes and what their response plan will be?

  • Less Generic, More Tailored:

    • Are you considering differentiated offers in reward and/or benefit for customer-facing and kitchen/operational employees which will meet their needs?

    • Have you considered changing your advertising from a standard hourly/salary to a take-home wage?

  • Ownership:

    • Where do your people costs sit?

    • Are your front-line managers truly aware of the cost to their business?

  • Commitment & Cooperation:

    • Have you considered the use of committees or focus groups to understand your employee’s needs and give collective buy-in to actions you take?





*CIPD, 2017

**ONS, 2018





Top 10 Hospitality Candidate Interview Questions

Restaurant interview questions.jpeg

For hospitality professionals, conducting candidate interviews is part of the job, whether you're an owner/operator, a hiring manager, or an HR professional.

At times, it can feel like you're preparing as much as the candidates!

That's why we're sharing our top interview questions that you should ask your next hospitality candidate. 

Keep scrolling to read them all, and let us know in the comments what your go-to interview question is! 

Why do you enjoy working in the hospitality industry? Kicking things off with this simple, lighthearted question is not only a great way to get a candidate into a relaxed and positive state of mind, but it also serves to help you align your company's core values with a candidate's personal values.

What do you know about our brand, and why do you want to work here? To a certain extent, each team member will serve as the face of your brand. Having an affinity for your brand helps to ensure they will come across as genuine and passionate, leading to better customer service. 

What hours are you available to work? Expectations for hours worked should be laid out in your job description, but it’s always a good idea to double check. You’ll want someone whose schedule works with the hours needed, and who will be reliable in order to keep your business operations running smoothly. 

How do you deal with conflict amongst coworkers? In a fast-paced environment with many variables, having mature employees is crucial. You could even ask for an example of an incident when a candidate had a conflict with another coworker, and how it was resolved. You'll want to look for proactive behaviors, and recognize red flags (i.e. if they dragged other people into their drama or seem to be holding a grudge). This question should also give you a good idea of how the candidate handles stressful situations and different personalities, both of which they are bound to encounter at your place of business. 

What does [your brand's motto / your brand's name] mean to you? Ensure that the candidate is able to serve not only as an employee but an ambassador or representative of your brand. It's important that they understand the type of values and service you are trying to promote. 

What are your interests outside of work? It's no secret that the life of a hospitality professional is fast-paced! It's important for people in all roles to have a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout (you can read more on the topic of burnout here). Plus, people with diverse hobbies and experiences can lead to higher customer engagement and satisfaction. 

What is your favorite/least favorite customer service experience? The way a candidate talks about both positive and negative experiences can be very revealing. Whether positive or negative, look for them to remain balanced and in control when talking about each experience. In both instances, look for them to own their behavior. If it was a favorite experience, perhaps it was because they provided above and beyond service. If it was negative, look for clues into how they handled (and hopefully resolved) the situation. 

What does teamwork mean to you? Restaurants are basically second families. Getting a sense for someone’s work ethic shows how they’ll fit in on your team. The ideal candidate knows their role and how it fits into the larger organization, but is not above jumping in to help with other tasks. 

Situational Questions: Put a customer in a common experience they are bound to encounter in the role. Doing so will help demonstrate how they act under pressure. How would you handle a guest’s request for special service (birthday, etc.)? How would you handle a guest who is angry or unsatisfied? Speaking calmly, openly, and wisely about a solution to a situation - or at least talking through their approach - can be a good indicator that they're equipped to handle it in real life.

Are there any people you refuse to serve? Unfortunately, the restaurant industry has major issues with bias. It’s important to make sure everyone feels welcome at your restaurant and that your staff is accommodating. 

Are you a hospitality professional looking to improve your interview process? We want to help!

We offer premium interview tools for teams of all sizes. With Harri's next-generation ATS, you can build a better candidate experience and retain more people by quickly moving them through the hiring funnel. Our powerful suite of interview tools enables you to  ask relevant questions specific to your business needs, and gain greater insights into potential candidates' personalities and skills through photos and videos uploaded to their profile.

The entire interview process is fully managed on Harri, making it super easy and user-friendly for employers and candidates alike. Invite, schedule, and keep track of interview dates and times with prospective candidates, all on one platform. Keep record of members’ attendance rates and mark no shows from a digital dashboard. Record notes on your mobile device during interviews, and collaborate on them with team members. 

We also offer tools designed for customers with centralized interview scheduling or multiple hiring managers in mind, like Advanced Interview Scheduler. It includes enhanced capabilities like custom interview duration and location, the ability to assign and schedule specific hiring managers by role, direct applicant interview messaging interface, upgraded open day functionality, and Google Calendar sync. 

Interested in learning more? Reach out to info@harri.com today for a free demo. 

How Restaurants Can Protect Their Data

Data protection.jpeg

As technology has advanced - which is a huge win for restaurants and hotels - the risk of attacks has also unfortunately increased. 

Let's be real: As a hospitality business professional, you know a lot about things like labor costs, operations, customer service, and managing teams - but tech and data security is probably not one of your strong suits.

Unfortunately, this makes you extra susceptible to cyber attacks. Hackers are looking for vulnerable people and easy access. 

No one wants to deal with a potential threat - but it’s better to be prepared than risk eroding trust amongst your employees and customers. Even if you haven’t been the victim of a cyber attack or theft, your patrons may choose not to do business with you if they feel that you’re not taking appropriate steps to ensure their information is secure. 

So - how high are the stakes? After a data breach, not only could jobs be at risk, but you’ll pay in high legal costs, lost sales, and eroded customer trust. The worst-case scenario is that you'd go out of business altogether, which is the unfortunate reality of many establishments that experience a data breach.

And it's only getting worse: According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 2017 outpaced every previous year in terms of number of breaches reported: 1,579. That's a staggering loss of 78 million consumer records.

Here are a few simple ways you can protect your business and your customers: 

1 - Payment Card Industry Compliance. Becoming PCI compliant is the first step you should take to becoming more secure and less susceptible to cyber-attacks. So, how does one become PCI compliant? It is obtained by following a set of standards to ensure that all companies accept, process, store, or transmit CC info maintain a secure environment. In other words, being PCI compliant gives your business an extra level of above-and-beyond security wherever possible so your customers can feel safe with every swipe of their card. 

2 - Invest in a Modern POS. Modern point-of-sale systems allow for immediate encryption for credit card information upon swiping, so everything is transferred securely. This gives you more control over the protection of your customer’s data from the very first point of contact. Since the sensitive information (their payment) is encrypted, hackers can’t install malware - software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems - on your company’s network. Since hackers look for a trail to follow in order to steal information, they won’t find any - so there’s nothing for them to access. 

3 - Keep It In the Cloud. Speaking of modern POS systems, they also offer another benefit, which is that they are far more secure than legacy systems. What does it mean to be stored in the cloud? Simply put, all data is stored off-site - meaning customer credit card data is instantly, securely transferred to the next step in your payment process. On top of that, modern POS systems are just easier to use and offer more convenient features than legacy systems. If you haven’t upgraded, this is an easy win for your business (did you know Harri integrates directly with most major POS companies, like Toast?). Still need convincing? Legacy systems work by storing information on-site - i.e. the back office of your restaurant. Yikes! This makes thousands of customers’ data especially vulnerable to theft. You wouldn’t just leave a pile of money on your desk, would you? Make sure your customers’ data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, and upgrade to a modern POS. 

4 - Stay One Step Ahead of Hackers. Always strive to stay one step ahead of people who may want access to your data for the wrong reasons. No, we’re not suggesting you become an information technology guru overnight - let someone else do the work for you! By upgrading to a modern POS, you’ll typically receive technical support and regularly-scheduled software upgrades. One of the main responsibilities of a software engineer on one of these teams is to anticipate issues and recognize weak areas that have the potential to cause security breaches. Then, they resolve the issue via regular software updates. 

5 - Keep Your Passwords Protected. This almost goes without saying, but in your back office, do not let everyone use the same username and password, and restrict who is allowed access to it. Also - make sure these passwords are updated at least every 6 months (this is a great tip for your personal passwords, too!) 

6 - Don't Allow Remote Desktop Connections. Occasionally a situation may arise where an employee requests a remote desktop connection. Think hard before you allow them to do this, as it can allow firewall breaches. If you’re not sure where your weak spots are in your firewall, consult an expert to patch them and make recommendations on how often the firewall should be reevaluated. 

In this day and age, no industry is safe from cyber-attacks, so it’s important to keep your business protected. Don’t let your business be an easy target! Start today! Don’t let your business be an easy target! 


Product & Feature Updates: May 2018

We're excited to share our latest product and feature releases for May 2018!

These enhancements may affect your account. Check out the highlights below, and please check in with all appropriate members of your team to ensure you're implementing the updates that will best serve your business.


As a hospitality professional, you need more control over every aspect of your business. This feature gives you even more control over the jobs you post. With Advanced Job Post Settings, you can now set jobs as ‘Evergreen,’ meaning they have no expiration date. You’ll also be able to pause a job, which will remove it from Harri, your Career Portal, and other job boards. You also have the ability to set a number of hires when creating a job post, set a fill date, and set actions when marking a job as filled, ensuring it’s mandatory for managers to move candidates to either the ‘Hired’ or ‘Skipped’ columns.

Evergreen-Jobs (1).jpg
Fill_Pause-Job (1).png


Schedules are the glue holding everything together. A well-built, insightful schedule has the ability to not only put the right people in the right places, it can also improve the experience of scheduling managers and improve team engagement. Our improved table view option prints the week's schedule on less pages with more info, and can also be grouped by employee, day part, and revenue center.


Group-Printing-Options (2).jpg


Everyone looks at things differently, which is why we’ve added new sorting options to our pay data sheets, including the ability to sort employees by first and last name (these options have been added to the timesheet, as well). We've also added labor cost/total wages to the Pay Data Sheet, and made improvements to both the employee name column on the Pay Data Sheet and the Pay Data Sheet header to make it readily available when managers scroll down.


PayDataSheet (1).jpg


Are you an operations or finance professional looking for more visibility into what makes up your total labor cost? Our new Detailed Employee Labor Variance Report enables you to view actual hours worked and labor costs vs. scheduled hours worked and variance. It's easily customizable and aggregated, too: You have the ability to aggregate across the time frame of the report (timeline can be customized). We call this report 'detailed' because additional categories for wage and wage penalties are broken down (spread of hours and overtime pay is included), giving you even more visibility into what makes up your total labor cost.


Detailed-Employee-Labor-Report-2 (1).jpg
Detailed-Employee-Labor-Report-1 (1).jpg


In Q1 we added a new feature to our TeamLive communications capabilities called TeamLive Channels. This feature allows managers to communicate with their team members via position, category, and custom groups. Managers will also be able to send messages to specific groups - like servers - without spending time creating a group and adding servers to it.


Fair Processing Notice for Candidates

At Harri, we respect your personal data. This Fair Processing Notice explains how we will continue to use our candidates' personal data when creating a profile on Harri.


Harri U.S. LLC - 665 Broadway, Suite 402, New York, NY 10012

Harri U.K. - 33 Foley Street, London, W1W 7TL

Our Data Protection Officer is Kristy Gouldsmith and she can be contacted at DPO@harri.com


We collected and processed your personal data when you created a profile on Harri.

In order to create a profile and apply for jobs, we needed your name, email address, phone number, your employment details, if you had them (employer, position, duties, dates) and education (institution, location, qualification, dates).  We asked you to describe yourself in three words and to write a bit about yourself for your profile.  We asked for your references, if you have any. You also had the option to upload your CV and a photograph of you.

You can continue to use your Harri profile to apply for jobs on our platform or to apply for a job with an employer, if they are using Harri. 

Once you have applied for a job using your Harri profile, the employer will have access to your application and will be able to use it to assess your suitability as a candidate with them. The employer can use Harri in the recruitment process to schedule interviews, make recruitment notes and to contact you. The employer can also use Harri to ask specific questions during the recruitment process.

Your Harri profile will remain on Harri until you decide to delete it.  If you want to delete your profile, please contact us at support@harri.com. We will suspend your profile immediately, and purge your profile 90 days after receiving your request, just in case you change your mind in the meantime.


We need a legal basis in order to process your personal data.  Creating a Harri profile is entirely your choice, so our legal basis for its processing is with your consent.  You can put in as much or as little information as you like.  You can withdraw your consent at any time and request that your profile be deleted.

When you apply for a job, the sending of the application (eg. the one-click apply) is a clear affirmative action that you wish to apply for that job and therefore, the processing will be with your consent.


Harri, by default, does not use any automated decision making. However, an employer might use automated decision-making in their recruitment questions. This will differ depending on the company you are applying for. Please read their Fair Processing Notice for more information on their recruitment process.


We share your personal data with the following recipients:

  • Our software providers

  • Employers

  • Harri (US) LLC

  • Harri Ramallah


Harri is a U.S. company, so we will transfer your personal data to the U.S.A. and to our sister company in Ramallah, Palestine. But don’t worry, your data is fully protected!  Harri has applied to be on Privacy Shield and we are using EU Model Contracts, too.


You can have a profile on Harri for as long as you like and it is up to you when you would like to delete it.  When you apply for a job with an employer, please read their Fair Processing Notice to see how long they will hold your personal data for.


You have rights in respect of our processing of your personal data which are:

  • To access to your personal data and information about our processing of it. You also have the right to request a copy of your personal data (but we will need to remove information about other people)

  • To rectify incorrect personal data that we are processing

  • To request that we erase your personal data if we no longer need it

  • To request that we erase your personal data if we are processing your personal data by consent and you withdraw that consent

  • To request that we erase your personal data if we no longer have a legitimate ground to process your personal data

  • To request that we erase your personal data if we are processing your personal data unlawfully

  • To object to our processing if it is by legitimate interest

  • To restrict our processing if it was by legitimate interest

  • To request that your personal data be transferred from us to another company if we were processing your data under a contract or with your consent and the processing is carried out automated means.

If you want to exercise any of these rights, please contact us.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email DPO@harri.com as most matters can be resolved informally in the first instance.

You also have the right to lodge a complaint about our processing to the UK's Information Commissioner's Office.