Checking in with Robert Richardson FIH, general manager at The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort and vice chairman of the Institute of Hospitality

In the latest of a regular series, we check in with leading hoteliers and general managers to get an exclusive glimpse into their careers, their lives and their ambitions. This time, we speak to Robert Richardson, general manager at The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort and vice chairman of the Institute of Hospitality.

I enjoy my job because…

I work in a vibrant, lively industry where no two days are truly the same. Our business is about creativity, diversity, and people; whether you’re providing a guest a truly memorable experience or developing a member of your team to their fullest potential, every day has something new and exciting to offer.

I find my job challenging because…

A hospitality business is an eclectic operation; plumbers, electricians, marketing, chefs, front of house professionals (to name but a few) all under one roof. As leader of a business you set the tone and build the culture; the challenge is balancing the various industries and daily needs within an inclusive, progressive and supportive environment.

My best achievement in business was…

During the Covid-19 lockdown, I exited The Grand and joined an exciting and dynamic new hotel and golf resort (The Cave in Boughton, Kent). Changing positions at such a globally difficult time was a challenge, however from the owners down, the team could not have been more welcoming and supportive. Prior to that, repositioning The Grand as an award-winning business and employer. One highlight, among many, was leading The Grand to becoming the Springboard Best Employer in 2019: the quality of our fellow short-listed businesses was staggering; I’m still trying to come to terms with it now.

My worst mistake in business was…

Working with a service partner because of personal relationships rather than professional abilities. It lost us several weeks momentum and today I still shudder to think about it. It was a lesson in humility for me, but one that I have learned from.

What I am yet to accomplish is…

I run several initiatives and events each year aimed at #InspiringHospitalityTalent; that is inspiring school leavers, people with hidden or visible disabilities or our senior generation into our amazing, diverse industry. I’ve never been able to do this “en mass” as a large-scale operation. One day maybe!

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be…

A lack of patience; not everything needs doing yesterday.

If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be…

There is still a perception of our industry as low paid, unskilled and lacking progression. Considering we are the third largest industry employer in the UK&I, contributing billions per year to the economy, that needs to change. Hospitality is about people, diversity, creativity and the sky really is the limit for ourselves and our teams. A career in hospitality is a door opening to the world – isn’t that worth shouting about?

My top three bucket list items are…

Visit the Pyramids, see the Northern Lights and ride on the Orient Express.

My life philosophy is…

Never settle into your comfort zone, take every opportunity and figure out how to do it later!

My favourite song, book or film is…

My favourite books are The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Christmas Carol.

My ideal weekend would be…

Anything that involves turning my mobile off (and ideally with a nice meal thrown in)!

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