Best Places to Work in Hospitality: ‘We treat people as family', says Paris House

14 February 2020 by
Best Places to Work in Hospitality: ‘We treat people as family', says Paris House

Last year Paris House in Bedfordshire was listed in the top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality. As we continue our search for those excelling in engagement in 2020, Jo Freeman explains what makes the restaurant so special for employees and diners alike

Tell us a bit about Paris House…

Paris House is an award-winning, Michelin-recommended restaurant set in 22 acres of deer park on the Woburn Estate in Bedfordshire.

Modern British tasting menus from Phil Fanning take guests on a memorable culinary journey. It is the perfect setting to enjoy exciting food, fabulous wines and Great British hospitality.

Phil and Claire Fanning bought the business back in 2014 and have put a real focus on excellent customer service and product consistency. They quickly realised that the key to both was staff morale and therefore retention, mainly through improving the work-life balance as much as possible.

Phil Fanning at Paris House
Phil Fanning at Paris House

How have you created such a positive people culture in the business?

We treat people as family – there is an awful lot of respect in our kitchens – none of the shouting and swearing you see on TV. We employ people with a real passion for what they do, and provide as many opportunities as we can to learn and grow.

What makes the restaurant such a great place to work?

It's the team. The work-life balance is also great, with two full days and two evenings off every week (on consistent, consecutive days) and we close for Christmas and New Year – new chefs are always so excited to get their "first Christmas off for 10 years"!

What encouraged you to enter Best Places to Work in Hospitality?

We felt like we had finally started to ‘get it right'. And, of course, we're always on the lookout for new members of the team, so it's great from a recruitment point of view, too.

How did the awards influence your people strategy?

Winning the award cemented our belief that we were heading in the right direction. Retention and recruitment figures say so too, so we will keep doing what we're doing.

What was the most valuable outcome of the awards?

A real sense of pride for the team, and strong engagement from potential candidates that reduced recruitment costs for the year.

What's next for the business?

We have an exciting year ahead: a new product in the form of afternoon tea, and plenty of innovation for our seasonal tasting menus.


If you want to be considered one of the Best Places to Work in Hospitality, now is the time to highlight your credentials. Run in partnership with Purple Cubed and sponsored by Umbrella Training, the awards highlight those who demonstrate exceptional skill at employee engagement and empower their employees to deliver fantastic results. Those entering not only benefit from all the insight from our unique employee survey, but high achievers will also feature in the top 30 hospitality employers list. The six highest achievers will be shortlisted for the Best Employer Catey.

Registration closes 21 February and all surveys must be completed by 6 March.

For more information visit

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