Ten members of staff were made redundant from the Holland House hotel in Cardiff last Wednesday (25 August). The four-star Macdonald Hotels property, which started trading in April and was opened officially by Princess Anne in June, dismissed the property manager, front office manager and eight other workers as part of a restructuring plan.
But some believe the redundancies show that the company didn't do its sums properly. One ex-member of staff told Caterer that labour costs accounted for nearly half the hotel's costs. "They were paying the restaurant manager £25,000 a year," he said. "Cardiff isn't the West End. A company with a chain of 120 hotels should know better."
A senior manager who left the hotel earlier in the year was equally damning. "The policy was to use agency staff, often paying them £3 or £4 an hour above the casual rate," he said, adding that the opening had been rushed. "It looks fantastic but it was slapped together. When I left none of the departments even had budgets."
Holland House's general manager, Ian Edwards, said sales were strong and the job cuts had been made to streamline operations.
He added: "We don't even have a restaurant manager and instead employ an assistant restaurant manager. And we haven't had agency staff at the hotel for 10 to 12 weeks. They were present when we first opened and were doing banquets for 500, but neither the restaurant or bar makes use of them at present."
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 2 September 2004