7 brilliant moments from the Team JH Annual General Meeting

We’re not a publicly listed company and don’t have a lot of shareholders to report to, but we still hold an Annual General Meeting each year. Why? For our staff.

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We know a company performs better when the people working there feel invested and that they have a real stake in the company’s success. The AGM is our chance to keep our staff informed about how Just Hospitality is doing, what our plans are for the future and the role they will play in it.

It’s also a chance for us to show appreciation, face to face, for all of the amazing work they’re doing. So while we do have the expected slideshows and talks about financial performance, our chefs also lay on a spread for the team that really feels like a treat (more on that down at the end of the post). Sure, we all get a free lunch every day, but the AGM food is designed to be something special, inspired  by the events of the previous year.

Here are some of the best moments from the Just Hospitality AGM 2016.

1. Having the whole team in one place

As a contract caterer, our staff work all over London. Most of the chefs rarely work outside of the kitchen, and most of our front of house staff stay at the client sites.

So the AGM is like a second Christmas - the one time in the year when we all get to be in one place and catch up with the relatives we hardly ever see. That makes it extra special.

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2. Giving out the awards

Last year we introduced our first AGM award by handing out a prize for the Employee of the Year. This time we expanded it to a set of 7 categories to reward people in every section of our business for their amazing contributions.

The awards and winners were: Best newcomer Felicity Barnes, HR Officer For her incredible work this year building up our team culture and making JH an even better place to work

Greatest commitment to JH Zane Abele, Office Manager For working with dedication for four years, bringing her absolute best when she was a Catering Supervisor and now as Office Manager

Production kitchen star Dushaine Walker, Junior Sous Chef For working tirelessly to develop his skills as a chef and being a thoughtful and talented member of the kitchen team

Front of house star Lloyd Cameron, Catering Assistant For brightening up the day of both his customers and colleagues with his fantastic attitude and conscientious approach to his job

Team player award (voted by staff) Mamadou Sane, Chef de Partie For being quietly but constantly willing to help anyone who needs it, any time of the day

Entrepreneurship award Lisa Kimpton, Marketing Manager For offering fantastic, innovative ideas on how we can build on Just Hospitality's success

Employee of the year Susi Hester, Development Chef For being outstanding on every level - managing a growing team and keeping our food consistently great through major changes to our operations this year

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Picking the winners was a very tough decision for our Company Directors, as everyone has given their all this year, and it took some truly standout performances to win. So these are staff that, over the last year, worked hard to embody the values of Just Hospitality and made themselves essential to their colleagues. It was great to see them rewarded and applauded so enthusiastically by everyone there.

3. Hearing from Highshore School and Hospitality Action

These are our two major community and charity partners, so we invited them to update our team on the work we’ve done together.

Nick from Highshore School talked about the progress of the students gaining work experience with Just Hospitality. While we’ve had students helping in our kitchen for some time, for the first time this year we were thrilled to have one take on a front of house role at one of our client sites.

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After that, Camilla from Hospitality Action told our staff about the Employee Assistance Programme they provide to our team, which can offer a range of services including counselling, emergency assistance and financial advice for free, 24 hours a day.

4. Managing Director Dean reminding us where it all started

Just Hospitality is 11 years old now, and in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of a catering company it's easy to forget how far we've come. At the start of the AGM, as he set things off, Dean told us "11 years ago my office was my bedroom and my filing cabinet was the stairs" before asking the 27 new members of staff who joined the team this year to stand up. It was a very moving moment and a chance for us all to take stock and realise how much we've achieved. Follow Dean at @deankennett.

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5. Trying Antonio's amazing cocktails

The cocktails that Catering Manager Antonio designs himself have become a local legend at Just Hospitality. While he's been delighting our customers for months with them, most of us have never given them a try. After the AGM he set up a bar and served them up to the team - special recipes complete with his own garnishes.

Standout was the wake up negroni - a classic negroni with just a dash of espresso. Just what the team needed on a night out after a day's work. Want to hear more from Antonio? Follow @JustEatMyTweet for daily updates on how he motivates the team at Twitter UK.

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6. Eating all the French food

Yes, this event was about the business. But we're a food company, so a lot of that business involves, well, eating. Full of inspiration from their recent food trip to Paris, Susi and our chefs offered up French cheeses, charcuterie and fresh bread, along with bowls of boeuf bourgignon and, yep, fried frogs legs. If you’ve heard they taste like chicken, it’s true, but they’re also a little like rabbit and completely delicious. Seriously, try them.

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And then there was…

7. Everyone gasping when they arrived and saw the croquembouche

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Ah, the croquembouche - a towering pile of profiteroles, held together with caramel until it’s smashed to pieces and served up. It’s one of pastry chef Marius’ specialties and he made one of his finest for the AGM.

Not that he was happy to just stop there. Also on the pastry menu and sticking to the French theme were macarons, tarte tatin, millefeuille and little blackberry tarts. We hardly knew where to start. (Though somehow, we found a way).

Our hope is always that people step away from our AGM inspired and raring to go for the year to come. We think this was our most successful AGM yet, and we can’t wait to get to work with everyone for the next year.