JRM Hospitality | Who are they?
You might have heard of them…….. There is definitely a buzz around town at the moment and the name JRM Hospitality has been dropped into a number of conversations taking place in hotels and restaurants in NSW.
Australia’s restaurant and dining scene is growing rapidly and standards are constantly on the rise. It’s not always easy to run a venue and at the same time stay on top of the changes and trends in our industry. And with the well-publicised issue of finding good, reliable staff, it is no wonder that business owners all over Australia are exhausted.
The man behind JRM Hospitality, James Metcalfe, couldn’t be more familiar with these problems having spent most of his working life in the kitchens of established institutions across the world. Starting his career in a 5 star hotel in London, James has worked in both Michelin Star and hatted kitchens for chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes, Phillip Howard and Justin North.
When James made the journey to Australia in 2001, he joined the opening team at Becasse, where he later took over as head chef and assisted chef & owner Justin North in the opening of Etch, Becasse bakery, Quarter Twenty One, and Charlie & Co. eventually taking the role as Group Executive Chef for the Becasse Group. Throughout the years with the Becasse Group, they were awarded a number of accolades and his peers hold him in high regard.
“Throughout my career and particularly in the last 10 years spent in senior roles, the discussion around efficiency, profitability, staffing and training has been a hot topic of conversation amongst my colleagues and friends in the industry. I have learnt so much working with business minded and talented chefs and restaurant owners. I felt that it was time to share my knowledge with people that needed the guidance and assistance to make their business more profitable and efficient.”
“It hasn’t always been plain sailing” James adds while looking back at his career. “As most people in this industry will know, things don’t always work out the way you intended. Running or managing a business in this industry comes with many challenges; not every business is a roaring success story and I have been witness to this also. I have learnt so much from these occasions – they say that you learn more in failure than you ever do in success and I would have to agree.”
There is an energy and passion that drives James and you can feel it when you meet him. He has the ability to see opportunities that others miss and his “can do” attitude is infectious. JRM is now in its 8th
year of operation but it wasn’t until earlier this year, after the successful renovation and reopening of the Bellevue in Paddington that Metcalfe decided to go ‘all-in’ and grow his own company JRM Hospitality. The Bellevue is where he met Ben Pearce, a General Manger with years of experience managing a broad range of venues both in Sydney and in the UK. With Ben’s knowledge of project management, operations and concept development it became clear to him that Ben would make an excellent addition to his core team. After a successful year at the Bellevue, Ben joined JRM at the beginning of 2016.
Ben, also originally from the UK, has always been a high achiever and has a natural eye for great service and business strategy. This saw him land himself his first licensee role at the age of 20. Since arriving in Australia in 2008, he has worked for some of Sydney’s largest restaurant groups and experienced the challenges of opening and running high volume venues. His experience ranges from managing fine dining venues to small intimate cocktail bars and pubs as well as large scale catering and events operations.
“I was very excited to join JRM Hospitality after working with James for over a year. I think it’s great that together we can create a consultancy product that covers both front and back of house; this gives us the benefit of seeing things from different perspectives meaning that we take a holistic approach to each and every project.
“We have now built a small but dedicated team that works with us. Each comes from a strong hospitality background and shares our passion for the industry.
Together we have experiences from all over the world, both front and back of house, in high-end and casual establishments.”
So what makes JRM stick out in the sea of consulting agencies and recruiters?
“We take a genuine interest and a passionate approach to all of our projects, however large or small it may be and we make sure that we listen to our clients. Every case is different, but whether it is an operational assessment, concept and menu development or a staffing solution, we will propose a structured and manageable solution with 100% clarity.”
“When it comes to recruitment, our whole team comes from the industry and we do not simply observe what is happening in hospitality but we are an active part of it. We have a large network all over Australia and can often reach out to people beyond job boards and advertising. We make sure that we listen to our candidates and understand what drives them and makes them loyal and committed. By doing so we have great success rates in placing casual, temporary and permanent positions not just here in Sydney but also in rural NSW and across the country.”
So what’s next for JRM Hospitality?
The chef shortage in Sydney is real and we are not claiming to have a magic wand. This year however, we have started collaborating with partnering agencies in the UK and Asia to bring highly qualified chefs that are eager to work and ready to face the Sydney market. These candidates are highly skilled, hard working and happy to have the opportunity to work here. We have made a number of placements in both rural NSW and in Sydney, which in some cases have literally saved the day and we are expecting to see a lot of growth in this area.
We believe it’s important to keep our finger on the pulse and know what’s going on in the industry. We are all eager foodies, excited by the growing hospitality scene and eat out a lot. By doing so we make sure to talk to both owners and staff about what’s ticking their boxes. We are highly active on social media and conduct monthly interviews and blogs where we highlight industry professionals and local producers. We think it’s a very exciting time to be in hospitality and at JRM we are doing our best to keep our industry strong.