By Angela Green
Pan-Asian quick service restaurant group Chopstix has bolstered its programme of employee development with the launch of two major new learning programmes. The Chopstix Degree programme and ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix Diploma’ will further upskill its team of 1,300 employees and help fast track team members to senior leadership roles.
Investing in people development is part of an ongoing people strategy that will help the QSR group continue to steer clear of the recruitment issues plaguing the hospitality sector in the UK. The company has an industry leading 90-day retention rate of over 90%, and the Chopstix team believes these two study programmes will be fundamental in maintaining and improving on this enviable figure.
The brand-new Chopstix Degree programme launches this year, in partnership with Arden University, with the business expecting 50 Chopstix colleagues to register for the programme in the first year.
The 3-year course designed and delivered by the university will be open to all Chopstix staff meeting length of service criteria and provide them with an unrivalled opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in Chartered Management Degree Programme. As part of this ongoing partnership with Arden University, Chopstix will be investing back into the cohort, with those enrolled in the course given the opportunity to present their work to the Chopstix board and receive feedback from leaders in their field.
Chopstix has further strengthened its employee development offer with the launch of a new ‘Pic ‘N’ Mix Diploma,’ purely funded by the business, in partnership with IBAT College Dublin.
The new diploma programme, equivalent to a level 6/7 qualification, will offer Chopstix employees the chance to study across 45 different modules so that each employee can tailor their development to their own interest and career goals. So, whether they’re looking to move in to marketing or human resources, there are courses available to equip them to make that career progression.
Last year, 184 positions were filled via internal promotions and Chopstix hopes that investing in staff development with the launch of these two educational programmes will improve progression rates even further, with the people team setting the ambitious target of filling 90% of vacancies internally.
Tricia Hamilton, Chopstix Head of People, said: “Having analysed feedback from our teams, we know career progression is one of the core influencers on employee satisfaction. We want our staff to see Chopstix as a business where there is significant opportunity for progression to senior roles, and where they can develop the skills needed to maximise their potential. We believe the launch of these two new study programmes takes Chopstix to the next level as an employer that can attract and retain top talent.
“The courses designed by Arden University and IBAT College Dublin are excellent and will no doubt help our staff to meet their career goals. The degree course will provide a wonderful opportunity for some people who never had the chance to go to university, and we’re really pleased with the ‘Pic N Mix Diploma’ course. Chopstix is defined by providing our consumers with choice, so being able to offer our people a choice of 45 different modules is a really nice reflection of our brand.”
Chopstix was established in Camden Market in 2002 by entrepreneurs Sam Elia and Menashe Sadik, who remain closely involved in the business on a day-to-day basis. The group has grown steadily over the last two decades, before its busiest ever year of openings in 2022, when it launched 26 new restaurants, including a first ever holiday park location at Haven’s Craig Tara Park in Scotland.
Chopstix co-founder and director, Menashe Sadik commented: “From the outset, our people have been our number one priority at Chopstix, and the fact we’ve been able to develop and retain so many great people has been decisive in our ability to grow at the speed we have.
“Sam and I have spent our entire lives working in hospitality. We’re passionate advocates for this sector and the opportunities it creates, and these programmes are further proof of just how much you can achieve with a job in hospitality.”
Co-founder and director, Sam Elia added: “I’m hugely proud of how we continue to develop as a business and provide incredible opportunities for our teams. The launch of these two study programmes will further improve our people offering as we continue to grow across the country.”
The launch of the Chopstix degree programme and Pic N Mix Diploma comes as the brand continues to deliver significant growth, with the founders setting their sights on reaching 500 sites by 2027. The Chopstix Group consists of over 100 Chopstix sites, in addition to 10 sites operating as Yangtze, and 26 sites under the Chozen Noodle brand, which the group acquired earlier this year. For more information please visit here.