Ideal Collection, has overhauled its groups working practices in response to the ‘ping-demic’ and to improve the work-life balance for staff.

The new centralised production kitchen will be overseen by the head of production based in the company’s events kitchen at Kimbridge Barn, near Romsey.

The kitchen can step in as required by other kitchens across the group to ensure service and consistency continues.

Oliver Weeks, managing director of Ideal Solutions is hoping this will resolve staffing issues facing hospitality at present. He said: “I have wanted to create this new role and develop new working practices for some time. It has been accelerated by the pandemic and Brexit. This investment will make the business more sustainable in the long term.

"It was my idea, but partly inspired by the Ivy Groups centralised production. This is on a much smaller scale. Staffed with highly skilled kitchen personnel, it allows us to maintain control over everything we produce and supports our ethos of using seasonal, fresh and local produce. Supporting local producers is of huge importance to our local communities and economy.

“We’ve put incentives in place for our chefs including a bonus for going on this journey with us. The central production kitchen is in its early stages, but we can build this. It improves the customer experience by making it more consistent. For example, if an employee needs to self-isolate, it doesn’t close the business down. Our team all pull together.”

James Ashley, newly appointed head of production said: “I’m called on by other kitchens when necessary. It is similar to events catering in that we usually know a couple of days beforehand exactly how much is needed and where, and we can get everything ordered in and prepped in the production kitchen beforehand.”

Chris Heather, Executive Chef at Ideal Collection said: “We want people to know that hospitality doesn’t need to be 14-hour days, seven days a week. This industry can provide great job opportunities and a good work-life balance. Every week my role is different. I am very excited about what we are doing here at Ideal Collection.”