Situated in the bustling Borough Market is Boro Bistro, a cosy French restaurant known for its authentic French cuisine, exceptional wine selection, and refined traditional cocktails. The restaurant is known for its ambience, and regulars enjoy visiting the leafy vibe of the restaurant - whether it be the collection of stylish and vintage decorations, or for the live music. They host music every Thursday, with regular DJing by the local artist Jonny Drop who can be found spinning vinyl records all night long.
We spoke to Kenza this week, the general manager of Boro Bistro. Kenza tells us that Boro Bistro ‘has two kinds of customers, the evening ones and the lunch ones.’ The restaurant is packed at lunchtime, with many coming from work to enjoy food in the city. Boro Bistro has a prime location and catches both workers out for lunch and people enjoying a day out and looking for a spot to eat. In the evening, people visit Boro Bistro for drinks, eager to soak in the unique French-inspired atmosphere. Evening customers can also enjoy tapas, charcuterie and Boro Bistro’s impressive wine list.
Since the pandemic, Boro Bistro had to make some changes. The pandemic has brought about a shortage in hospitality staff that they have not yet recovered from. Kenza told us that ‘being understaffed means that workers have to work twice as hard,’ and hospitality workers were already working their socks off. Boro Bistro responded to being understaffed in the pandemic by only accepting reservations, and stopping walk-ins. This ensured that both the kitchen and front-of-house could best prepare for the number of customers, especially when it came to food preparation. Boro Bistro took the steps to ensure that the job was as easy as possible for their staff, recognising the stress they were under and ensuring the restaurant was a safe space for them.
To meet social distancing regulations, Boro Bistro was forced to remove tables, a regulation that hit all hospitality business’s financial takes considerably. Now that regulations have eased they are bringing back the regular number of tables and building business back up to the bustle it once was. Kenza is optimistic about the future of Boro Bistro; she says that a lot of the customers were understandably hesitant initially, but are beginning to return and therefore business is picking up.
Kenza has been at Boro Bistro for two years, but the restaurant has been using Brigad well before she arrived and has seen many Brigad freelancers come through its doors over the years. Brigaders were mostly employed on the bar to begin with, although recently they’ve been put to work all over the restaurant and Boro Bistro has used Brigad to find a wide range of talented freelancers, to fit any vacant shift they might have. Kenza told us that she loves using Brigad because of the ease in communication, ‘Brigaders are good because I can just text them - if they’re available then I put a request on Brigad. That’s it, easy!’ Using Brigad has allowed Boro Bistro to hire a regular workforce whilst Brigaders have maintained their freelancing freedom. The model works for both business and Brigader!
Businesses can whitelist selected Brigaders if they find they fit in well with their restaurant, meaning its not necessarily about having someone new each time.Of the freelancers that Boro Bistro works with, nearly all of them are regulars, with only occasional new faces being brought in to work the bar. The regularity of the Brigaders coming into Boro Bistro has created a team atmosphere, even while the Brigaders are freelancing. Kenza told us the benefit of having regular Brigaders coming in to work in this restaurant: ‘to do this job well you have to know the place, to know the bar and the kitchen, to know our wine lists. Having regular staff makes the job easier for everyone. Voila!’ Kenza says the Brigad way of doing things works well.
At Boro Bisto, Kenza is impressed with the speed at which Brigad responds to her requests for help. ‘If someone is sick, we call Brigad and someone turns up right away.’ Kenza tells us of the great professional standard of Brigaders coming into the kitchen ‘they are very, very professional. They will call me up asking if they should arrive a little bit before to have the kitchen and menu explained to them’, it’s things like that that make a great impression. Kenza praised the bar staff, too: ‘the Brigaders call me up and ask me what to wear, and whether to bring in her own bottle opener’. Boro Bistro has experienced their fair share of the usual difficulties when hiring internally - people haven’t turned up for trial shifts, people have decided the restaurant was too busy and quit on the job. Kenza remarks that, through Brigad, now Boro Bistro is working with a professional standard of freelancers, something that the restaurant is very happy about. and ‘whenever we have a problem, Brigad gets back to us very easily, and everything is taken care of.’
Kenza tells us how easy it is to find Brigaders. ‘I do the rota two weeks in advance, that way I can see whether or not I need someone, and on what shifts. I go online and request freelancers on Brigad, and it’s easy as that.’ Kenza also remarks on how the freelancing system benefits businesses as well as freelancers. She says, ‘If I hire someone internally to fill the position, it’s easy for us to get in contact with Brigad and change the freelancer’s shift. So, it’s all very flexible and easy.’ Kenza is clear in saying that she does not cancel freelancers' work, and freelancers are respected as much as her internally-hired team members. New Brigaders coming to Boro Bistro restaurant are welcomed and shown around so that they know everything they need to know, making their job as easy and as transparent as possible.
Firstly, using Brigad is very practical. Kenza says ‘I can request someone from Brigad whenever I need them. It’s as easy as that.’ Secondly, the Brigaders coming into Boro Bistro are of a professional standard, Kenza says that the Brigaders coming into Boro Bisto are all ‘professional people.’ Thirdly, whenever there is an issue, the Brigad team is always on hand to quickly and effectively fix the problem. Kenza told us that Brigad maintains a ‘great customer service.’
With a garden terrace, there might be no better place in London to sit outside than Boro Bistro this Spring, lapping up the sunshine with a bottle of wine, meat and cheese boards, and a great selection of tapas-style dishes.
Brigad partage ses conseils pour aider les établissements de santé à se préparer à la canicule en renforçant leur personnel.
Le secteur de la restauration a lui aussi pris le virage du digital, puisque les applications de livraison, plateformes de réservation en ligne ou encore les menus et les paiements digitaux continuent d'exploser sur la scène culinaire.
COVID-19 has impacted our lives for the last two years – but not only in a bad way. Many of us developed healthy lockdown habits and took time to look after our mental health and wellbeing. Let Brigad share ways in which hospitality and healthcare workers can hold on to those beneficial practices in the new post-COVID era.
Taking time off as a freelancer can be difficult to plan for, without paid holiday to fall back on, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. In fact, it's even easier than if you were on a permanent contract. Read our tips on how to plan for it, so you can take some well-earned time off, without the guilt.