Bettys of Harrogate is a business originating in 1919, when a Swiss born confectioner, Fredrick Belmont opened his first Bettys Café Tea Rooms in Harrogate. Today Bettys is a substantial and profitable business with six Café Tea Rooms across Yorkshire, its own Cookery School and an online service. For years, the family business has invested in nurturing something that it has not kept secret, true to its founder’s principles.
Bettys’ special ingredient is a genuine passion shared by its people to “do things beautifully”. This passion begins with making high quality products and continues with delivering a distinctive personal service to its customers and pupils. To keep this passion alive for nearly 100 years, emphasis is placed on growing its family values and a distinctive culture centered around commitment to remain true to Bettys’ founding principles. Coupled with today’s more transient work environment, where good people evolve their careers, roles and ambitions, Bettys faces the ongoing challenge to sustain energy, desire and alignment between personal and organisational goals to sustain its successful legacy.
Having worked closely in the past and as a part of more recent support provided to Bettys, sensei was asked to play a role in supporting over 70 leaders and trainers from across the business to motivate staff to raise the Bettys’ standard of the ‘Perfect Host’. The workshops, held in September 2011 provided a forum to ‘refresh’ the teams on the purpose of customer promises made by Bettys. Sensei facilitated a programme to reconnect people with current strategic aspirations and business priorities and gain clarity on Bettys’ customer promise.
The programme enabled the leaders and trainers to gain consensus on the core capabilities and behaviours required to extend and deepen the essence of being the ‘Perfect Host’ to its customers. Sensei exposed Bettys’ leaders to a set of practical concepts, tools and techniques to enable them to focus their efforts on ways of thinking and acting differently to lead the delivery of outstanding service.
The programme was described as providing clarity, focus and initiative to enable teams across Bettys develop ownership, encourage shared responsibility to solve problems and find solutions rather than rely on those from above. One participant described the outcome for her, “ I left with a way to work better with my customer. I understand what the ‘Perfect Host’ actually means. The workshop, the discussions and the role-plays made us question what we do and open our eyes to what we are responsible for as individuals and teams.” The same participant formed part of a group of eight who initiated and delivered a similar more local event for their branch.
The workshop was recognised for creating an opportunity for the team to review, practice and reflect on key incidents requiring individuals to be accountable, share responsibility and take risks to create improvements in production and customer-facing activity. The workshop required leaders to take on a rather exposing role to each and facilitate what they learned during the sensei-led events.
A satisfying comment from the Front of House and Retail Training Manager was, “Thought you might be interested in an update on the Perfect Host? I feel like a proud parent showing off what they have been doing, off their own back! Bettys York gang held a ‘Perfect Host’ event. They invited managers and staff and did lots of role playing! One person for example played an awkward customer and they were coaching people on how to deal with that. They went into great detail about ‘The Accountability Loop’. It went down well. Thank you.”
Samreen McGregor sensei January 2012