Magazine Archive


Total hospitality

Last month’s interview with Richard Miller, landlord of The White Horse in Chilgrove, featured a snippet on the roles his team are able to step into on a day-by-day basis; the multiple positions they’re able to play. Thanks to the varied requirements and intrinsic training experienced at the pub, the team are able to work a shift as a KP the day after they’ve been serving front-of-house.

The approach has similarities to the idea of ‘total football’ – a tactical theory in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. Made famous by the Dutch, a variation of the style is now being attempted by a number of squads around the world, including the English Premier League. Manchester City’s players would have expected such an approach from Pep Guardiola, but I’m not sure Kyle Walker would have ever predicted there would come a time when he’d be putting on a keeper’s shirt! Imagine asking your head chef to run front-of-house for a busy Sunday service…

While the metaphor shouldn’t be taken too literally, I wonder how many operators would play around with the idea of ‘total hospitality’? Perhaps it doesn’t even have to mean swapping positions throughout the week, but instead signify a resolute consensus throughout every team member – all with the same vision, ethos, dedication and business loyalty. A team with a common goal of being entirely hospitable through every element of the operation. It’s a nice idea, right?

Too often a pub or bar is let down by the first interaction between a customer and the employee; the football equivalent of hoofing in an own goal direct from kick-off. Not only are you already on the backfoot, but the whole team now has to make up for an individual’s mistake. This is something I’ve noticed when visiting National Pub & Bar Awards entrants – you’re sometimes lucky if you even get a hello when walking into a venue, let alone a smile. We’ll be on the road at the end of next month, potentially visiting your pub to see if it’s the best in your county. How will your team fare? And will total hospitality be in play? You can enter the awards at

Tristan O’Hana - Editor