Industry-first recruitment trials secures new roles for 35 hospitality staff for prestigious new Mayfair restaurant opening

‘Recruitment Restaurant’ event took place at Westminster Kingsway College on 5th March with 35 roles from kitchen staff to front of house fulfilled from 80 candidates who took place in the trial shifts

  • Candidates participated in live trial shifts recreating a restaurant environment, offering an alternative recruitment method to traditional CVs and interviews
  • Event organised as part of Westminster Works initiative to support Westminster’s hospitality sector during ongoing staffing crisis

A prestigious Mayfair restaurant yet to open the doors to the public is worked with the Westminster Works programme to pioneering a new method of recruiting its team. By forgoing the traditional CV and interview process in favour of trial shifts that allowed them to see potential employees in action, 35 roles were filled from the industry-first event last night.

Step Ahead, the agency running the recruitment for the Westminster Works initiative, hosted the ‘Recruitment Restaurant’ on behalf of Mimosa at The Langham hotel. The event took place at Westminster Kingsway College on Tuesday 5th March and has led to 35 members of staff being recruited from the event in roles from kitchen and bar staff to front of house.

The industry-first initiative saw candidates take part in trial shifts recreating a live restaurant environment during a dinner service for 80 guests. It was run as part of Westminster Works, an innovative scheme funded by Westminster City Council, developed in partnership by Step Ahead, New West End Company, Knightsbridge Partnership and AttisTowns and designed to help businesses in the hospitality hot-spot of Westminster to attract and retain new talent.

Célia SesmaHR and Administrative Coordinator UK for the restaurant group Mimosa is a part of said: “We were really happy about the response of the candidates and guests. It was great to get out of our comfort zone and we are keen to recruit on talent and attitude evidenced through trials, it really helps us to see the potential beyond a CV. We are very much looking forward to organising another event like this with StepAhead and the Westminster Works programme”

Places on the trial shifts were open to all Westminster Kingsway College students as well as those registered as part of the Westminster Works scheme and successful candidates will start training on 11th March, with the restaurant set to open towards the end of the month.

Jackie Bedford, CEO at Step Ahead and head of recruitment at the Westminster Works initiative, says: With the hospitality staffing crisis continuing to cost London businesses millions in lost revenue each year, it’s essential that we look at new ways to approach recruitment and retention in this sector. One of these ways is to move away from the usual CV based application process and to allow employers to see potential staff in action, how they interact with other team members and customers and how they handle the role under pressure of a live restaurant setting.

This Recruitment Restaurant is the first of its kind for the hospitality sector in London and I am so pleased that it has been such a success for the Mimosa Restaurant.”

Eighty candidates took part in the trial shifts, and were observed and interviewed by management staff from Mimosa, and received comprehensive feedback from the guests they serve during the shift, which helped determine the final hiring decisions.

Speaking about the guest’s feedback on the event, Jackie Bedford said: “We had so many compliments from guests, who thought it was a fantastic idea, saying they had never heard of such a thing before. Many our guests expressed their appreciation that the hospitality sector is a critical aspect of our society, with one guest telling me that the hospitality sector is an important element of everyone’s lives and it’s important that we all support the sector to enable it to continue and flourish. This gives us a lot of confidence that we can and should run these events again.”

Westminster Works has already help over 220 hospitality businesses to recruit new staff and there are currently more than 100 live vacancies as part of the programme for a diverse range of hospitality roles in some of London’s most prestigious hotels, bars and restaurants.

Businesses looking to fill roles with high quality candidates can register interest in joining the scheme at

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