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Published by Derek, 2019-12-22 09:13:24







Content Page

Welcome to Balbirnie House

A Very Brief History

Beautiful Balbirnie Park
A Look Around Fife
Balbirnie House – Owners
Client Journey
Future Forecasting
Meet the Team
Balbirnie House Comprises of
LED Lighting
Artwork Collection
Balbirnie Park Comprises of
Balbirnie House Mission Statement
Balbirnie House Press
Balbirnie Accolades & Membership
Hotel Confidential
Balbirnie Online Store
Balbirnie Privacy Policy
Hotel Harmony and Ambience
Working at Balbirnie
Balbirnie Computer & Internet Policy
Fire Regulations
Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
Staff Facilities
Smoking Policy
Balbirnie House Golden Rules
Employee of the Year Award
Our Culture and Socials throughout the year
Electric Vehicles
Helpful General Points
Directions to Balbirnie House
Balbirnie House, birthplace of Scotland’s blockchain democracy
The politics of Balbirnie House
Balbirnie House and tourism vat
The Ecosystem
Our daily Balbirnie House newspapers
The last Tuesday of the month
Balbirnie House Code of Conduct
The Defining Image of Balbirnie House


The information contained in the overview of this documentation, is
Private and Confidential for the brigade of Balbirnie House.
Copying, pasting, or placing any sections into the public domain, is
prohibited. Copyright Balbirnie House 2019.


Our Constitution is a 2019 adaptation of what was previously known as ‘our
company handbook’.
The handbook served our company tremendously well in its original form,
because when we created it in 1992, it was absolutely designed to help both the
company, and everyone who works in the company as well. This remains the
same approach today.

Over the many years, the company handbook generalities helped us to enhance
communication, maintain happiness and keep the status quo. This was
successfully achieved within our pressurised work environment.

The company handbook also underpinned our accumulating heritage, and
helped us to embrace innovation and evolution, without ever losing sight of
where we’ve come from.

So, here we are today, November 2019.
We are updating the handbook, and re-naming it as ‘Constitution’, as we are
about to embark upon a new phase of development centred on a £45,000
investment in technology, paving the way for the creation of The Balbirnie
Ecosystem, our in-house revolutionary digitalised vision of the future of
Scotland Hospitality.

Back in 1992 we didn’t have mobile phones, or the internet.
Or ability to take a digital photograph.
We had one PC for our accounts records, and one typewriter for general letters,
guest confirmations, and special events sheets. Our easiest way to speak to
potential local guests, was by taking an advert in The Glenrothes Gazette, which
had a weekly circulation from memory, of 4,500 copies.

Today, we have 10 in-house computer workstations driving what we do.
And if we wish to say something to our prospective guests, our local reach is
almost 20,000 via Facebook alone, and our further immediate audience is

Working at Balbirnie over all these years, has been a quite incredible
experience. Serving my time in the amazing world of Hospitality, with so many
truly accomplished fellow hoteliers, has been a dynamic journey which leads to
where Balbirnie House is today.
A double Global winner for Scotland Hospitality.
Best Destination Wedding Retreat, Global winner.


Best Destination Wedding Hotel, Global winner.
Both accolades via Haute Grandeur.
13 time recipient, Scotland’s Wedding Hotel of the Year.

Well, long may it all continue, and we certainly now have even more to live up
to. Because it’s straightforward.
Today is Not a Dress Rehearsal for Tomorrow.

You are reading this because our Talent Acquisition Network suggests you can
perhaps help us do what we do.
So, the warmest of welcomes to our brigade.

Nicholas Russell, GM 1992, MD 2005/ Balbirnie House


This information is adapted from an article which appeared in Country
Life in 1972…

Click here for Country Life original


The estate of Balbirnie is an old one.
Historically it is first mentioned in 1312 and over the next 350 years it had
many owners until the Balfour family bought it in 1642.
They then owned the estate continuously until 1969.

There are no records before 1777 though it is believed the original house
formed an irregular ‘U’ shape, with many parts dating back to 1642, but this
was demolished after the foundations were excavated for the new house.

The man who built the original Balbirnie House was John Balfour of Balbirnie.
His annual estate income varied from £1700 to £1200 during the years of
building. In context, in 1777 a cook’s wage was £12 per year!

There are extensive records of the estate’s historical development generally
because of a unique circumstance.
In 1770 a young 20 year old man named Neil Ballingall was appointed to
manage the affairs as factor of The Balbirnie estate.
He was followed by his son and grandson so that the Ballingal family cared for
and recorded the Balbirnie House affairs and accounts for 3 generations until
the grandson retired in 1916.

John Balfour started re-building the house in 1777.


The original house was along the elevation of current room 102 through to what
is now The Drawing Room, with the main entrance through what is now The
Garden Room.
The original house itself took 5 years to create and it was built at a cost of
£2,563! The roof required 20,000 slates.
One man, John Lachlan, sawed his way through 25,185 feet of thin narrow
strips of wood to nail to rafters, joists, or studding as a groundwork for slates,
tiles, or plaster works.
That is a lot of wood, in fact laid end to end it is 5 and a half times the height of
Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain!

The architect for the 1777 works is not recorded though it is assumed to be
James Nisbet of Edinburgh, who also did all the plaster work.

In the 1780’s Landscape Designer Robert Robinson visited Balbirnie to draw up
attractive proposals in the style of Capability Brown, and landscaping then went
on to create Balbirnie Park as we see it today.
In the statistical account of 1794 Balbirnie was described as ‘a delightfully
romantic place with a pretty extensive lawn surrounded by eminences covered
with fine thriving plantations’.
Nothing much has changed since then!

Robert Balfour passed away in 1813, and Balbirnie then passed to one of his
sons, also (General) Robert Balfour.

The house was extended twice in the 1800’s; firstly from 1815 to 1821 at a cost
of £16,637, with designs by Edinburgh architect Richard Crichton.
The extensions consisted of the elevations of what is now the great Ionic
portico, a grand neo-Classical (with fashionable Greek profiles and free-standing
columns) main entrance.
The reasons for these extensions are unknown, though it is believed to stem
from profits from improved agricultural methods and the general fashion of the
day for gentlemen to improve their homes.

It is hard to tell what contemporaries thought of country houses when they had
just been completed but here the verdict of the early Victorian age is
unequivocal: ‘as a complete and elegant residence’ states the New Statistical
Account for Scotland of 1845, ‘Balbirnie is surpassed by few houses North of the

The house was further extended in 1861, with a courtyard to the north-east of
the house designed by architect David Bryce.
Balbirnie was then complete, and for the rest of the century, and until the First
World War, its doors opened and closed on the private world of Scotland’s
prominent county families.

The Government, in the form of Glenrothes Development Corporation, bought
Balbirnie House as a compulsory purchase in 1969, and used it thereafter as a


base from which to administer the affairs for the creation of the New Town of
Glenrothes itself.

Balbirnie House Hotel Limited, the private Hotel Company, purchased Balbirnie
House and started restoration and conservation work in the January of 1989.
Balbirnie House was officially opened as an hotel on 19th February 1990 by
Malcolm Rifkind, in his official capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland.

Inclusive of original purchase, restoration, conversion, and all extensions added
since 1992, together with all accumulated reinvestment back into the fabric of
the assets, the overview is that of a £17.5million project.

Balbirnie House has delivered turnover approaching £100million, and in the last
decade alone, has contributed £10million to the tax system.

Maintaining and improving the house and the surroundings are the priorities of
the company.

When working at Balbirnie House please do absolutely everything you can, to
safekeep the presentation of our wonderful Grade A Listed house. Our
inductions focus on care and safekeeping in greater detail.

Further historic research:

BALBIRNIE HOUSE, an introduction…


Balbirnie House is a privately owned country house hotel.
Under the personal supervision and ownership of company directors Nicholas
and Gaynor Russell, this wonderful Georgian Mansion, recognised as one of
Scotland’s finest Grade A listed houses, maintains the warmth and friendliness
of its old days combined with the needs of today’s house guests.

Our location is described as ‘situated by Markinch village in the heart of the
Kingdom of Fife, equi-distant from Edinburgh and St. Andrews’.
As the crow flies, we are only 14 miles north of Edinburgh.


Beautiful Balbirnie Park:

Revealed: Fife is the happiest place to live in Scotland:


Fife is certainly a quite incredible place to live and work. Where to even
begin? The stunning 117 mile Fife Coastal Path? The Lomond Hills
Regional Park? (East Lomond Hill in the 3 images below)

We highlight, that our local Fife town Glenrothes has been named the
cleanest, most beautiful community in Scotland by the environmental
charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.


Kinshaldy Beach and Tentsmuir Forrest – incredible.


And whilst talking of Fife, it would be remiss of us not to highlight the world’s
best chippie, in Anstruther, or as the locals call it … Ainster!
Since opening in late 1989, and on the back of year after year success, and a
whole array of awards, the hotel brigade has steadily risen over the years from
an initial 35 to a peak of 115 individuals. At peak, we offered a lot of part time
work experience to a very significant number of individuals. Up to 2019, over
2,800 people have worked in our brigade.
In 2016 however, faced with the loss of EU nationals, our company directors
took the decision to very significantly reduce brigade numbers, but offer much
greater hours to fewer people, all with a view to creating greater consistency,
and less employee turnover. This was very successful. Today, we have 85
individuals in the brigade.
Formal industry rating structures place the hotel very firmly within the highest
echelons of hotelkeeping in Scotland.
In the mid 1990’s the hotel owners commissioned the Edinburgh-based
architect practice of Hurd Rolland to create the newest extensions to Balbirnie,
and following some 3 years of complex planning, building then commenced.
In November 1999 the Orangery and Millennium Ballroom, together with all
their associated areas, were completed at a cost back then of some £2,000,000.
This greatly increased the capacity for the number and size of weddings and
special events the house can host throughout the year, and it also made the
operational systems and procedures much more seamless.


These new extensions to the original Grade A listed house were created with
great empathy with the original buildings, incorporating classical Georgian
architectural design features, and with a main façade of sandstone.

Balbirnie House Hotel has an ideal setting, in 416 acres of parkland, and all the
makings of a superb hotel.

If your role in the hotel involves one to one guest contact then you are an
ambassador and perfectly placed to provide the warmest welcome and best
service so that our guests are satisfied and not only return, but recommend
their experience to others. We deliver Hospitality with a capital H.

Our lives at Balbirnie revolve around ensuring that our guests are delighted,
and are looked after absolutely in a manner commensurate with expectations.

As such we strive to ensure that this is the case.
There exists a rather fundamental understanding that ‘it is the customer who
pays the wages!’

During your time working at Balbirnie House, we will set out to work with 3 key
parameters, within the routine of our thriving daily operations – these are,
Community, Collaboration and Camaraderie.

Our brigade is accustomed to receiving a multitude of ongoing compliments in
many contexts, and upon reflection these have helped us establish Balbirnie as
the quite unique hotel that it is today.

Balbirnie is famous for its warmth of welcome and Scottish hospitality, and it is
our collective obligation to do all we can to constantly maintain this.

Every employee must be aware that our main objective is guest satisfaction. We
all play a key role in providing our guests with the finest hotel experience

We ask that all of our brigade joins our traditions of delivering real urgency with
delivery for guests, a continual wonderful Hospitality demeanour, and a
constant willingness to assist. These are the very foundations of wonderful
Hospitality, but it is important to recognise that whilst we are working in the
surroundings of an 18th century property, we are working with 21st century
contemporary Scotland Hospitality, and THAT, is what we seek to reflect.

We’ll say this twice, as it’s so important. Over the many years we have
successfully delivered the career start points, for many individuals who have
started employment in Hospitality here at Balbirnie House, without having any
school exam qualifications. We take great pride in this fact.

There are 5 key aspects which we have carefully considered as part of the
discussions with yourself, for starting in our brigade. Firstly, you can smile – we


see this as an absolute necessity, in being able to begin to reflect Scotland
Hospitality. Secondly, you can get on well with your fellow brigade colleagues.
Thirdly, you can show absolute respect to our guests. Fourthly, you can arrive
at work on time every time. And fifthly, you can keep on asking questions,
because this is how you will learn.

Questions? Exactly! It’s up to you, to familiarise yourself with our Constitution,
our website, and our ecosystem. Drink well, from the fountain of Hospitality
knowledge! ☺

Time and time again, we have seen Balbirnie’s brigade members reaping what
is personally sown. This is a career in which you will receive back what you put
it. So please do immerse yourself in Hospitality. As Mark Twain famously said,
‘Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life’.

Our emphasis is personal service. Once a home to few, Balbirnie is now a home
to many, and we hope that as a team working towards a common goal we can
continue to further enhance Balbirnie’s position as one of the finest hotels in

The information contained in our Constitution is of vital importance.
It sets out the parameters of our methods of operation, ethics and codes of

Supplementary to this information you will also receive a written contract of
employment. Where appropriate we will also provide a detailed job description.
We will provide an induction for you, as well as ongoing support and appraisals.
Fast track and ongoing training will be given where appropriate.
Fundamentally there is nothing more important to us than the happiness and
wellbeing of our brigade, and we will always offer all encouragement possible to
ensure that your time spent here is beneficial and productive.

We consider our Constitution to be a continual developmental prototype, under
permanent review. If you have any vision to refine the Constitution during your
time spent working here, then please discuss direct with, or email the GM.
Innovation and evolution are at the heart of all that we do. Many parts of our
Constitution have arisen via this process.

We wish you all the best in your employment in Balbirnie House.
Welcome to the team!


BALBIRNIE HOUSE is privately owned and personally managed …

BOARD OF DIRECTORS – operational within the company

NICHOLAS RUSSELL, Managing Director/ General Manager

Our company directors operate the company and make most working decisions
under the legislative overview of The Companies Act 2006.

As company directors, we have responsibility for every single component of
company operations. This extends to ensuring the Health and Safety remits are
intact. Our most important working priority is the safety of all occupants of the
premises, so our Fire Safety systems especially, are absolutely paramount. We
oversee our annual financial audit and reporting processes, and our company
accounts publish in Companies’ House each autumn, available then for the
persusal of the general public. Over recent years, our annual accounts are
instantly a talking point in Scotland’s newspapers:

Over many years, we have developed a wonderful credit rating.
This helps us negotiate terms and pricing with all purchasing and procurement,
and it also provides our clients with a measure of comfort, in contemplating that
their chosen venue intends remaining in business!

This also all underpins the security for our entire brigade, regarding
employment security.

We have never ever failed to pay a single supplier.

We have never ever made an employee redundant.

And we have never ever been sued for wrongful dismissal.
Why not? It’s because we have this constitution, and we use it as best as we
can to provide a fluid, harmonious working environment for every single
member of the team.

The pace of our continual reinvestment, is dictated by how much cash we have
in the bank! Since 2011 our directors have operated the company with a
continually maintained current account cash surplus, but we acknowledge it
may not always be possible to maintain this approach, as like most companies
we are at the mercy of all wider economic and prevailing conditions.
But when we can maintain this approach, it gives us comfort in knowing that
our forecasted cash flow is manageable, the company is fully able to meet all
financial commitments, and the brigade will continue to get paid.


We have never ever failed to pay a single member of the brigade.

Nicholas and Gaynor received the award jointly together, as
Scotland’s 2011 Hoteliers of the Year.


Gaynor remains the youngest ever recipient of the award for Scotland’s Hotelier
of the Year.


In 2014 Nicholas was the recipient of The Fellowship, the highest individual
award ever bestowed by The Judges of The Scottish Hotel Awards. ‘Out-of-the-
blue, as you can probably tell from my expression of combined pride and
absolute astonishment’, award presented by Lord Godfrey and Lady Claire
Macdonald of Skye.


Gaynor has headed our wedding planning department for 2 decades, and is also
our in-house Interior Designer.

Balbirnie House has never closed for a refurbishment, we have always
maintained a rolling program of continual re-investment, to safeguard the
property and keep on improving it for the future.

As we are keen to point out on media, ‘ability to maintain reinvestment is the
living of a hotelier’s dream’.

In terms of interiors, our desire is to keep on progressively embracing
innovation and evolution, but to do this in a way which continues to embrace
and respect the aesthetics of the original house.

Our company directors are hands-on, and absolutely committed to the ongoing
success of Balbirnie House, the wellbeing of our entire brigade, and the
continual ongoing improvements to the property itself.

Our company directors deploy willingly with 7 day per week mentality, (albeit
not every hour in every day!), as over the years, working at Balbirnie has
become more of a way of life. And it’s one which we enjoy doing so much, it
never feels like work!

We have a huge focus on the importance of being personally available to meet
with prospective new wedding clients, and we usually have new client meetings
on weekend mornings at 10am, 11am, and 12 noon.
(We don’t have meetings thereafter, as we do not have availability for new
clients visiting the property, when a wedding is taking place.)

The most prospective new wedding clients in a row, to have visited and then
placed their intended wedding day booking into our forward Special Events? A
quite incredible 89 in a row, with Nicholas.
This took place between winter 2011, and late autumn 2012.
This in-house record is denoted on our steak knives.
And due to how busy our forward diaries now are in 2019, it is unlikely (due
simply to lack of availability), that the record will ever be beaten.


When it comes to ‘selling’ what we do, we are the reverse of high-pressure
sales tactics. When our prospective new wedding clients visit Balbirnie House,
they are met at our front door. Hospitality with a capital H. We then deliver
world class amenity and welcome, and then we progress with the next steps of
our client journey.
Balbirnie House as a property, speaks for itself.
Our culture, our heritage, and our track record, all self-evident.

Client journey? This is under permanent review. We assist our clients with the
planning of a future occasion, but we go very significantly further these days,
with a totally dedicated, helpful and caring set of ongoing suggestions, beyond
event planning, to allow our clients to begin to prepare for the emotives of the
occasion, and visualise the opportunities which are going to present

In showcasing what we can do, we also highlight what our clients can do, to
increase beyond the consideration of a single wedding day, to have eg night 1 –
a get-together with friends in your home town, night 2 checking in to Balbirnie
House with those nearest and dearest, for a relaxed or refined evening, day 3 is
the wedding day itself, day 4 check out of Balbirnie and have a further night
staying in Fife, with guests who have travelled from afar.


Being a privately-owned company, we can make decisions if need be, in an
But our directors are always considering the future, at 1 year, 3 years, 5 years,
and beyond.
Decisions we make today, can introduce to what we do, a client then books 2
years henceforth, so it can be 3 full years before we see the results of decisions
paving their way into our company accounts.
We make it our business, to keep a close eye on emerging industry trends, and
on an annual basis we attend Hotel and Hospitality trade showcases such as
The Independent Hotel show in Amsterdam, and Hotelympia London,
considering all evolution and innovation, and how it can potentially introduce to
what we do at Balbirnie House.



- Beautiful award-winning gardens (RAC/ Top 20 gardens in UK)

- Some 18 acres of parkland around the house

- 31 individually designed bedrooms and suites

- Triplex Apartment (3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, sitting room)

- Delightful public rooms

- Library cocktail bar

- The Orangery, this is our main dining room, plus kitchen Chef’s Table

- An extensive wine cellar

- The Balbirnie Bistro, this was converted from the kitchens of the original

- The Millennium Ballroom

- 8 conferencing and private dining areas, accommodating gatherings of up to
250 people. Dedicated support service is provided by our Special Events Team

- The Balbirnie Business Centre, with Boardroom and Conference Room

-A range of lovely rooms for wedding receptions, catering for up to 250 guests


-A facility for exclusive use for either private or corporate hospitality
-A wide range of personalised services
2016 was VisitScotland’s Year of Architecture Design and Innovation.
We celebrated this by becoming the first Grade A Listed building in Scotland, to
have switchable colour external LED lighting, which is based on the entire
southern façade of the building.
It simply doesn’t get, any more romantic:


ARCHIE FORREST is Scotland’s foremost contemporary Colourist painter. Archie
and his wife Linda’s daughter Maya married Jonathon Brown at Balbirnie House
in January 2014. Subsequently our Orangery and Orangery gallery were
furnished with 11 Forrest paintings, gifted and supplied by the artist.
In 2015, Nicholas Russell asked Archie Forrest if he would care to create a small
painting of Balbirnie House itself. This resulted in a 2 year project, whereby
Archie completely upgraded the capability, and created a collection, comprising
of 6 ‘standard size’ paintings and 1 oversize oil painting, called ‘Wildflowers,

The entire Balbirnie collection was placed into our Drawing Room in 2017, with
the room itself having been designed in entirety with a total interior design, to
complement the collection.
The 2017 Drawing Room project was formally opened by Gordon MacIntyre-
Kemp, CEO of Business for Scotland.
In early 2019 Archie Forrest was staying at Balbirnie House as a hotel guest,
and decided to take a walk in the park. That walk inspired two further paintings
of Snowdrops, which were added into The Drawing Room in spring 2019.


All Archie Forrest works have been gifted by the artist, who said … ‘this is my
contribution to Scotland’s hospitality and tourism’.

-The Parkland itself, with lovely walkways at all times of year.
The landscape designer Robert Robinson visited Balbirnie in 1779 and prepared
a plan for the park in the style of Capability Brown.
Brown’s method entailed the use of flowing hillock lines and tree grouping on a
grand scale to create vistas with contrasting enclosure, presenting a ‘natural’
landscape effect.
In 1815, when major extensions were being made to the house, new proposals
for improving the park were prepared by the younger Thomas White.
White’s improvements resulted in a delightful landscape of which the 1845
Statistical Account was able to say ‘These heights, clothed with some of the
finest trees in the country, are rendered accessible on all sides by
means of walks and alleys so contrived as to command at every turn
varied and picturesque views of the surrounding country’

The park is attractively laid out with shelter belts and clumps of mature and
semi-mature hardwoods, with a large number of individual parkland trees and
roundels consisting in the main of Beech, Oak, Elm, Sycamore and Scots Pine.

The woodland garden surrounding Balbirnie House features fine groups of
medium and large size rhododendrons, whilst other groups are to be found
opposite the house and on the East Drive with the smaller varieties adjacent to
the old Craft Centre.
The Balbirnie Park rhododendron collection is one of the largest of its kind in
The park comprises part of an area of undulating shoulder land to the River
Leven Valley, varying in height between 76 and 107 metres (250 and 350 feet).
In detail it consists of several small hillocks forming a series of inter-related
valleys. Balbirnie Burn, the only small burn in the park, follows one of these
valleys, but surface water drains fairly quickly.
The weather conditions are equable with few extremes of summer or winter
temperatures varying from a July mean of 14.2oC (59oF) to a January mean of
1.8oC (35oF).
Average annual rainfall is about 33 inches, and snowfall is usually restricted to
between 10 and 20 days per year.
Isolated frosts have been experienced as late as April and as early as October.
The south-facing aspect of much of Balbirnie enjoys maximum sunshine and
sheltered conditions.
The park is home to an abundance of birds and wildlife.

Maps of Balbirnie Park are available from (add link)


Balbirnie Park Golf Course and Clubhouse.
This is a beautiful parkland and heathland, private members 18 hole golf
course. The 1st tee is located just a few yards to the west of Balbirnie house.
Our hotel guests can book tee times directly at the Pro Shop.

The Pro Shop, Head Golf Pro is Scott Gillespie
As well as the shop facility Scott can provide golf lessons and golf buggy hire for
clients of Balbirnie House.

The Craft Centre
This was converted from the old stables of Balbirnie House, and is located 200
yards or so to the south-east. This was previously a community made up of
various craft shops, which have gradually been converted to residential use.

To the rear of The Craft Centre, is a walled garden, comprising of community

What does Balbirnie stand for?

B beautiful hospitality
A amazing art
L lovely hotelkeeping
B broad marketing
I independent marketing
R rock’n’roll Scotland hospitality
N nimble decision-making
I there’s no ‘I’ in team
E energy everywhere


Our Mission Statement summarises what we want
to be known for at Balbirnie House:


‘We want to be recognised as Scotland’s leading privately-owned
Country House Hotel, combining understated luxury with superb service
and outstanding value’



➢ 1. Superb service

➢ 2. Value for money

➢ 3. Perfect presentation/appearance

➢ 4. Great hospitality

➢ 5. Always under promise & overdeliver


1. Local private and corporate
2. National private and corporate
3. International private and corporate
4. Weddings and special events

Do You Aspire To Be The Boss?

If you make it into a supervisory role which requires you to manage situations
and fellow members of the brigade, it’s likely that you will be remunerated at a
higher level.
If you are in this position, please personally visit the GM, to personally talk
through, and then receive your digitalised copy of ‘Management Principles for
The Aspiring Boss’, 5 pages of bullet points which we ask our management
team to work with.
This information pervades across all aspects of our operations, and has
tremendously successfully underpinned our management structures, over
recent years.
It was created by taking the best ever management practices we have seen,
over our first 3 decades of operations. Input was gradual, delivered by
experience and input from many wonderfully talented hoteliers. Each of us is of
course a product of the people we have been with, and the experiences we have
In these terms, ‘Management Principles’ also takes a foundation of addressing
experiences of working elsewhere, and how to create management systems
which are historically proven to be truly efficient.


BALBIRNIE HOUSE PRESS, well where to even begin to begin?

(You can read much more on the press section of our web site at / Our web site is currently heading for 1,000,000 page
views per year)

METRO ‘A Scottish hotel has been named as the best wedding venue on Earth’

SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY ‘This Scottish hotel has been named the best destination
wedding hotel on the planet’

CONDE NAST WORLD TRAVELLER ‘Balbirnie House is widely recognised as
Scotland’s top privately-owned hotel…’

THE SUNDAY HERALD ‘Off the beaten track, down a winding driveway, is
Balbirnie House- a culinary jewel in the kingdom of Fife’s crown...’
(9 out of 10 review.)

VOGUE ‘Balbirnie House is Scotland’s finest wedding venue’.

TATLER ‘Lovely Balbirnie! Here is the crème de la crème of Scotland’s wedding

VENUE IS … Drum roll please…Balbirnie House at Markinch has been named
Scotland’s top wedding venue...’

THE DAILY RECORD ‘Relax in sheer luxury and style at Balbirnie!
‘… the perfect setting ... a truly splendid backdrop … So easily accessible, with
Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and St Andrews only 30 minutes away and Glasgow a
70-minute drive, the luxury of Balbirnie House Hotel really has to be
experienced at least once in a lifetime’

THE SUNDAY POST ‘Celebrities…one Scots hotel hopes to keep them all
chilled! … Celebs are increasingly choosing the 30-bedroom Georgian mansion…’

… Staff at a top Scots hotel … are schooled in the art of dealing with celebrities
as more and more stars head for plush off-the-beaten track retreats…’


Balbirnie House/ Accolades and Memberships
Amongst years of accumulated awards-
Twice winner of HotelReviewScotland Wedding Hotel of the Year (Large Event
Awarded VOWS pinnacle Industry Award, which is THE wedding industry award
for Scotland
HotelReviewScotland Business Excellence Award
HotelReview Scottish Hotel Restaurant of the Year
HotelReviewScotland Scottish Luxury Hotel of the Year
2016 Scottish Hotel Awards scheme, Scotland’s National Hotel of the
Haute Grandeur: Europe’s Best Destination Wedding Retreat in 2016,
Europe’s Best Destination Wedding Hotel, Best Function Venue Hotel
and Best Romantic Hotel titles in 2017
2018 Haute Grandeur hotel awards, ‘Best Destination Wedding Retreat’,
in Global category
2019 Scotland’s Wedding Hotel of the Year, 13th time received in 15
2019 Haute Grandeur hotel awards, ‘Best Destination Wedding Hotel’,
in Global category
Those within the brigade have also received many wonderful personal


Of particular note, Angela Ferguson ‘2016 Rising Star of the Year’.

Mark Lindsey, Callum Dow and Robbie Penman, are 3 of those who have led our
kitchen brigade, and each received the accolade of ‘Scotland’s Executive Chef of
the Year’.

Two of our Executive Chefs have gone on to become Manager of Scotland’s
Olympic Culinary Team, one of those being Ian Macdonald, who was the first
Executive Chef employed by Nicholas Russell in 1992.

Our company directors are absolutely committed to working as closely as
possible on an annual basis, to support individual recognition through the
Scottish Hotel Awards scheme.

Balbirnie House has achieved absolutely unique recognition over the course of
time ...
These results have been absolutely wonderful to see, for Scotland’s Hospitality
sector, our local community and our brigade.
However, these accolades are all in the past.

We can only continue to assess what we do, based upon the strength of our
most recent occasion. Today is of course never a dress rehearsal for tomorrow,
and we very much look forward to working with you, continuing to embrace
evolution and innovation, and doing all we can to deliver the best Scotland
Hospitality that we can deliver.
The future, it’s all there to be achieved.


Our hotel blog is based at:
To date, this has focussed on the generalities of Hospitality, Balbirnie House,
fitness, and blockchain democracy.
We now invite the entire brigade individually, to make submissions for potential
Having published, articles then go front page splash next day on our
newspapers, so bear that in mind if making a submission.
We are entirely open to any suggestion, extending into film as well.
Recipes? Cocktails? Supplier interviews? The wonders of Fife? You name it folks!
If and when we agree to publish, you can of course add that you are a
published author on our Blog, on your CV.
Thus far, the most ‘at main source’ readers we have ever had on a single Blog
post, is 4,097!
On this post:

Should you wish to submit, send all copy and all photography (in high res jpg
format) to [email protected]


Our online store opened many years, one of the very first hotels to offer SK
Chase hard copy vouchers, and then SK Chase digital vouchers.
Our online store will be expanding with new capability in 2020.


Balbirnie House regularly attracts the attention of the press and media.
As you will see, there is a particular emphasis on the importance of providing a
level of service and attention which our many guests are accustomed to!

In passing, and as regards celebrities at Balbirnie, over the years we have
indeed had many famous visitors.

There are 4 main rules in particular for VIP guests-
1. Every guest is treated the same.
2. We never ever discuss with press (or any other telephone callers etc) who is
actually staying or visiting Balbirnie House, either before or after a guest stay.
If asked, our standard reply is ‘I am unable to provide any information in that
3. We never ever discuss with other guests, information about who is actually
staying or visiting Balbirnie House, either before or after a guest stay.
4. We totally discourage autograph hunters, either staff or guests.
5. We have an absolute respect for the privacy of all of our guests.

In Hospitality, it’s often ‘the details’ that make all the difference.
Flowers, scents. We’re big on these.
Polished tabletops, music at the perfect level, blinds at the correct window
height, cushions always puffed up. We’re big on these.
Perfect lighting levels? You guessed it!

Should you have anything you would like to discuss with a work colleague, we
ask that the conversation takes place back-of-house.
Our front-of-house areas are reserved for providing Hospitality to our guests.

In all that we do in working dialogue with each other, we ask that we always
speak calmly, and quietly.
We very, VERY specifically underline, our brigade does not have work or private
chat, within guest earshot.

Similarly, we never have music playing in any of our kitchens (because it can be
audible in guest areas/ bedrooms), to ensure we are doing our best for our



On the following pages we set out our working codes and practices.

This information is in conjunction with individual contracts of

A written contract will normally be issued to you upon your engagement, but in
any event not later than 13 weeks after the date on which you start work.
This contract will outline your personal hours of work, rates of pay and pay
intervals, which are normally on a monthly basis.

You must confirm your acceptance of your contract, using our electronic
system. At the same time, you must provide our accounts department with (a)
an email address (b) sort code and account number for remuneration. We
cannot (and will not) pay you without this information.

In turn, you will also be issued with digitalised access to The Constitution, which
contains information on other necessary areas.

To repeat! Over the years, we have seen great success with many individuals
arriving to begin to work in Hospitality at Balbirnie House, without having
formalised school qualifications.
You do not need school qualifications, to work in Hospitality.

The greatest success we have ever seen with this, was with Erdal Ozer, who
became Scotland’s 2014 Young Hotelier of the Year.
It was a quite remarkable story,
2480659225477/?type=1&theater – and Erdal subsequently went on to become
our company Operations Manager, a role held with great consistency over 3
years. Erdal also provided great encouragement to many others new to
Scotland hospitality.

Having left Balbirnie House to open his own business, Erdal was invited to be
one of The Balbirnie Six, representing Balbirnie’s brigade past and present, in
Malaysia 2019. Specifically recognising these aspects.

We continue to embrace desire to do all possible, to encourage numerous
positions within the company, which are initiated without school qualifications.

We continue to develop our own in-house Apprentice Scheme.


We always aim to do our absolute best to provide a full welcoming induction to
our company, before you physically start working at Balbirnie House.
This comprises of an overview of our constitution, numerous related film clips, a
tour of the hotel highlighting all focal points, and a walk around beautiful
Balbirnie Park.
You will be shown the door to The Technical Room, in which the GM and the
Vibe Manager and Head of all things Awesome tend to base.
The GM’s door is permanently open to the entire brigade, to offer any and all
assistance within the overview of our constitution.
Traditionally in most hotels, it is considered that the brigade works for the GM.
Here at Balbirnie House, it is very purposefully the other way around.
And in turn, we all work together in the best interests of local community, and
in wider contexts, the amazing Kingdom of Fife.
At Balbirnie House, we are all accustomed to working together on first name
terms. This has been the case since 1992.
Over the years, this aspect has proven to be a surprise to others who have
joined us from other hotels in which managers are addressed as ‘Sir, Madam,
Mr, Mrs’ etc.
We view that methodology, as archaic in the extreme. Funny tbh


Wherever possible we seek to work with horizontal structures, and only have
management positions defined, when management presence is undoubtedly

Article and film clip:
Unless stated otherwise in your contract the initial period of the first 3 months
of employment is a trial period.


If you agree to work more than 48 hours per week over the course of at least a
few weeks then you will need to sign a waiver. This notes your agreement to
working longer hours and you can withdraw your agreement to do so, on giving
notice at any time.
Without this waiver, we cannot allow you to work in excess of 48 hours per
week for a sustained period.
If you are working in a full-time capacity your contract of employment will state
that you are employed to work no more than 48 hours per week, and this is
excluding breaks, as detailed in National Working Time Regulations.
The average of 48 hours per week is calculated as an average spread over any
10 week period.
In practice, if the average working week (spread over 10 weeks) is at less than
48 hours, then this is at The Company’s behest and will not pro rata affect your

In the very fast-moving working environment that is Balbirnie, we are often
asked for written references. Such requests sometimes arrive years after an
individual finished employment within the company, and with a brigade of our
size, it can be problematic recalling specifics in relation to any given individual.

We therefore have the following Policy in place.
Our company will consider providing written references for any individual who
has been in our employment for a period of continual time in excess of 12

We are not obliged to provide a written reference for any individual.

Any request for a written reference must be emailed to the company General
Manager within 7 -14 days prior to your last working day. Please provide a note
of your start date, and the dates of any changes within the company, in terms
of Job Title.

If the company is not in receipt of a request within timeline detailed, the
company will not provide a written reference regardless.

During the timeline up until your departure, it may be the case that the GM will
wish to meet you to discuss what you have achieved during the time spent with
the company.

The timeline may similarly provide the GM with scope to discuss progress with
members of our company management team.

The decision with regard to the company agreeing (or not agreeing) to provide
a written reference is always taken following your last working day, and
following your departure from the company.


If the company does not agree to provide a written reference, then you will be
notified of this by our accounts department. The company will not detail any
reason for not agreeing to provide a reference, as the company is not obliged to
do so.

If a reference is however provided by the GM, then it will send directly to you
via email in PDF format from our accounts department. We will aim to achieve
this ideally within 7 days.

The company does not provide further subsequent written references for future
employers elsewhere.

The company does not otherwise comment to other employers on the suitability
of any candidate for any working roles elsewhere.

If the company is asked to retrieve a written reference from archives, there will
be an administrative fee of £50 for this service, payable in full and in advance.

A written reference from Balbirnie House can be an extremely helpful piece of
documentation for future employers. Please bear this in mind as you make your
way through your working role with the company.

The only individual who provides written references from our company, is the

This is as stated in the contract of the individual. Due to changing and evolving
National Government Guidelines and Directives it may be the case that holiday
allocation can differ from one individual to another.

As per Government legislation any member of staff working six hours or more is
entitled to a 20 minute rest break. At its own instigation Balbirnie House has
chosen to extend this to a 30-minute break, plus one further 10 minute break
spread over an eight hour shift.

All gratuities are to be handed into reception. Gratuities are shared equally on a
pro rata basis amongst all hotel employees and are distributed twice yearly, at
the end of June and December. The calculation period for gratuities is
December to May for payment in June and June to November for payment in
December. Employees are only entitled to gratuities once they have worked at
Balbirnie for 3 months of the calculation period.

Please note, if an employee is no longer on the payroll at the time gratuities are
paid out, then they will not receive any share of the accumulated funds.

Failure to hand in gratuities will result in disciplinary action.


Should a cash or digital gratuity be delivered either personally to a brigade
member, or directly to Balbirnie House, with a request for the amount to be
designated to an individual, or a group of individuals, the entire amount enters
the pooled gratuity system for the entire brigade.

When phoning in sick you must provide as much notice as possible.
When phoning you must speak to the Duty Manager.
If the Duty Manager is unavailable, you should call back until you can speak to
him/her personally. It is not acceptable to leave a message with front desk.

Statutory sick pay will be paid in accordance with the Social Security and
Housing Benefit Act 1982 and any relevant regulation, orders of Amendment
which are in force at that time. You will be entitled to sick pay at the relevant
rate from the start of the fourth ‘qualifying day’ (as defined in the relevant
regulation), of any period which you are incapable of working because of
sickness or injury.

Your entitlement to these rights are in line with current legislation, which
changes frequently. Therefore, any queries should be discussed with your Head
of Department who will advise you as to the current position.

If in the course of full-time employment circumstances dictate that you would
like to amend from full-time to part-time status our Accounts Department is
able to provide our working policy and terms and conditions relating to this.

Holiday dates should be discussed with your Head of Department (normally on a
first come first served basis) and the relevant documentation should be
completed, signed and passed to your Head of Department for approval at least
two months in advance of your requested dates.
Holiday forms can be obtained from your Head of Department.

All breakages with crockery and glassware should be recorded in the Breakages
Records, which is filed by the shift leader at the end of each shift, as part of our
handover procedures. If you have broken something by accident, then you are
duty bound to report that breakage to the shift leader. The related cost will be
deducted from your salary.

This aspect in finality is at the GM’s discretion.


Shortages – undercharging, float discrepancies, human errors etc. will be
deducted from an individual’s wages at the end of each month.
This aspect in finality is at the GM’s discretion.

Wherever possible it is our policy to promote from within.

Related keys require to be signed in and out from reception.
If you have signed out keys then these are your responsibility until signed back
Keys should be returned immediately after required use.

If using a pager please be careful with it, they are very expensive to fix! Any
pagers damaged or lost will result in the cost being deducted from your wages if
you are responsible.

If your role within the hotel includes assisting with billing items to guest
accounts then you must follow our departmental procedures for this.

In 2019 we are installing £45,000.00 of new Guestline technology, accelerating
our drive to becoming Scotland’s first totally cashless hotel.
The inspiration for this, initiated a few years ago in The Abba Museum in

The entire brigade should at all times be vigilant as regards security. If you ever
consider that there is any breach in security for our brigade, our guests, or our
buildings, then please immediately directly inform The Duty Manager.

Between all of our team, we collate and file hundreds of aspects on a daily
basis, all designed to prioritise fire procedures, health and safety of all
occupants, and general consistency.


Please pick up any litter you come across in the areas around the house.
The hotel owns the grounds, basically up to the point where the drive turns and
heads left towards the drive entrance.
The rest of the drive is owned either by Balbirnie Golf Club (on the right) or Fife
Council (on the left), and the lower car park is owned by Fife Council. At our
company expense, we deploy resources to checking these areas on a daily basis
each morning for any discarded litter.

Our policy is to be as environmentally friendly as we can possibly be.
- We are conscious of conserving paper wherever possible.
- We suggest to our guests that we will only change in-bedroom towels if this
wish is confirmed to us (by placing ‘used’ ones in bath).
- We dispose of all waste products as efficiently as possible.
- All bottles are segmented into colours before being collected.
- We have shifted where possible to do so, from conventional to LED lighting.
- As we face ever-increasing costs for gas and electricity we seek to be as
energy-efficient as possible. We turn off gas supplies (eg kitchen stoves), and
electrical supplies (eg kitchen extraction) and always switch off lights when they
are not required to be on.
Please help us with all these aspects.

It may be the case that circumstances dictate that you are required to work in
the same or a similar capacity either temporarily or permanently at alternative
premises owned by the Company. Any permanent changes will of course be
notified to you in advance and in writing after consultation.



-The computer system is owned by Balbirnie House Hotel and is made available to Staff
and guests to enhance Balbirnie House Hotel’s reputation and smooth running.

This policy has been drawn up to protect all parties, staff and the Hotel’s reputation.

-Only access the computer system with your own login and password, which you must
keep secret.

-Staff use of company computers for receiving or sending personal emails is strictly

-Email attachments should only be opened if they are from a valid source, and do not
contain a virus warning.

-Do not access other people’s files without authority.

-Only use computers for work related purposes, the playing of games is prohibited.

-Do not remove or intentionally damage any item of equipment.

-Do not unplug or reconfigure any of the computer equipment.

-The internet should only be used for work related access only.

-Downloading of software from the internet is prohibited unless specific permission has
been granted from The Hotel Accountant.

-Use of the network to access inappropriate materials such as pornographic, racist, or
offensive material is forbidden.

-Users are responsible for all E-mail sent and for contacts made that result in E-mail being

-Posting anonymous messages and forwarding chain letters is forbidden.

-The Company may view your Social Media profiles.

-Balbirnie House will monitor any internet sites visited.

-Activity that threatens the integrity of the hotel’s computer systems, or activities that
attack or corrupt other systems, are forbidden.

-Balbirnie House Hotel retains the right, at its own discretion, to ban or discipline any
individual who infringes the above rules.

-Serious breach of these rules may result in dismissal.


We have a facility for members of staff to come and stay overnight at Balbirnie.
The purpose for this is so that you can experience a typical guest experience at
first hand.
These are the procedures in relation to staff stays.
➢ You are entitled to a staff stay if you have worked at Balbirnie for a
minimum of 6 months. Thereafter you are entitled to one staff stay per
year, with a period of 12 months minimum between each.
➢ You are welcome to invite one guest. Both of you will have to be at least
18 years of age. You will be charged £25.00 per person for dinner, bed
and breakfast. Dinner and breakfast will have to be taken in the
Restaurant. Room service is not appropriate. All drinks will have to be
paid for.
➢ Your staff stay is restricted to a quiet evening i.e. Mondays to Thursdays.
Other paying guests will always have priority over upgrades to deluxe
➢ We only allow one room staff stay per night in the hotel.
➢ Dress code is smart, eg Jeans and/or trainers are not appropriate!
➢ You will be treated like any other guest during your stay. Hotel or
restaurant guests should never get the impression that you are a member
of staff. Please remember this when communicating with your colleagues.
➢ When choosing your meal please stick to the selection of dishes on the
menu without giving the Chefs any extra challenges!
➢ As soon as you hand in your notice to leave Balbirnie, you lose your
entitlement for a staff stay.
➢ Ex-members of staff are not allowed to be invited as your guest, unless
authorised by the GM.
➢ Your staff stay should not be just a part of a ‘big night out’. To leave the
hotel after dinner to go to a pub/ nightclub etc. would not be appropriate.
➢ You have to be present at your staff stay in person, it is not possible to
pass it on as a gift, etc.

We hope you will enjoy your staff stay and be able to experience how it feels
like to be ‘on the other side’.

An online guest questionnaire must be completed in order to provide feedback
from your stay. The GM is always especially interested to hear your views on
your stay, some of the very best ideas in terms of innovation and evolution,
have arisen via this process.

We have a perfect match for our entire front-of-house team, designed to be
functional, smart and cool.
Each member of the team is issued with new uniform which consists of:
1 apron, 1 tie and 1 name badge


Your Duty Manager will issue your uniform, and at that point the relevant
paperwork is completed and handed to accounts.
It is then retained in personnel files.
On leaving, uniform must be handed back to the Duty Manager.
The paperwork must then be signed off.
If we do not receive the said items back in appropriate condition (allowing for
wear and tear), we will deduct the cost of replacement from final salary.
It will undoubtedly be the case that members of the brigade may wish to
replace or renew uniform that becomes ‘worn’ over the course of time.
In these circumstances we will be happy to contribute these in totality.
This will be at the discretion of the shift leader / Duty Manager.

Please don’t let yourself down, and disrespect our heritage by beginning a shift
without your name badge.

If you forget your name badge, we will not proceed with your shift.
Replacement name badges are available from our accounts office at a cost of
£25.00 deducted from your salary. Please knock the accounts department door,
and ask to speak with Keyser Söze.

Every job in every industry has its own standards of behaviour and discipline.
In the hotel industry standards are laid down to ensure compliance with the
Health and Safety at Work Act and are essential to a good reputation and
professional integrity.
We set high standards of service in the Hotel and high standards of cleanliness
are expected of all staff.

Think of any airline, and the way that cabin staff and pilots present themselves
to standardised brand standards.
Working in Hospitality is no different.
We have OUR Hospitality standards.

We have two small changing rooms, one for boys, the other for girls.
These are serviced every day by Housekeeping.
We provide lockers for the storage of mobile phones and personal items.
We know these changing areas are tight for space, but they are all we have, so
please help look after them.



• Hair is clean, neat and tidy; with long hair always tied back
conventionally using a dark coloured band or clip.
• Long hair should be ‘kept off the face’ at all times and within the
natural colour spectrum.
• Nails are short and clean with no nail varnish.
• Uniform is pressed and clean at all times.
• Plain black leather (or leather appearance) shoes must be worn,
and these should always be well polished.
• No visible necklaces.
• Female jewellery is conservative, one pair of stud-type earrings, no
other piercing, one ring, one watch.
• Makeup should be natural and kept to a minimum.
• Female staff must always wear flesh coloured tights.
• No strong perfumes.
• Deodorant must be worn.
• Hands should be washed before service, and after using the toilet.
• Chewing gum is not allowed at any time whilst you are on shift.

• Gents, your hair should be ‘off your collar’ and ‘off the face’ and
within the natural colour spectrum.
• Uniform is pressed and clean at all times.
• Plain black leather (or leather appearance) shoes must be worn,
and these should always be well polished.
• No piercings permitted for males, one ring, one watch.
• We would prefer not to encourage facial hair however, if gents
would like to grow a beard or moustache this should be done during
holidays etc.
• It is not acceptable to grow any facial hair while working at the
Hotel. You must always arrive for shift clean-shaven.
• No strong after-shaves.
• Deodorant must be worn.
• Hands should be washed before service, and after using the toilet.
• Chewing gum is not allowed at any time whilst you are on shift.


• Hair is clean, neat and tidy; with long hair always tied back
conventionally using a appropriate coloured band or clip.
• Long hair should be ‘kept off the face’ at all times and within the
natural colour spectrum.
• Uniform/Office Wear is pressed and clean at all times.
• Plain black shoes must be worn, and these should always be well
polished or clean.


• Female jewellery is conservative, one pair of stud-type earrings, no
other piercing, one ring, one watch.

• Makeup should be natural and kept to a minimum lipstick allowed.
• No strong perfumes.
• Deodorant must be worn.
• Nails should be natural in length and no neon colouring or abstract


• Gents, your hair should be ‘off your collar’ and ‘off the face’ and
within the natural colour spectrum.
• Uniform is pressed and clean at all times.
• Plain black leather (or leather appearance) shoes must be worn,
and these should always be well polished or clean.
• No piercings permitted for males, one ring, one watch.
• We would prefer not to encourage facial hair however, if gents
would like to grow a beard or moustache this should be done during
holidays etc.
• It is not acceptable to grow any facial hair while working at the
Hotel. You must always arrive for shift clean-shaven.
• No strong after-shaves.
• Deodorant must be worn.
• Hands should be washed before service, and after using the toilet.
• Chewing gum is not allowed at any time whilst you are on shift.


We always endeavour to repeat 100% presentation in everything that we do.
We include in this ourselves, all public areas, all back of house areas and the
actual detail of our jobs and the way we go about them.
It may be the case that if we were to provide less then 100% presentation this
would be acceptable to customers, in fact many may not ever notice.
However, we ourselves do, and you now work in an environment where
attention to detail is of paramount importance.

It is absolutely fundamental to all that we do, to maintain daily briefings, as
7am Night Management handover to Early Front Desk
7am BrasserieDeluxe White Board Breakfast and Conference, through lunch and
into Afternoon Tea
10.30am Technical Room sit down. DM Day Briefing, extended to Special Events
Week Briefing on Thursdays


(After the 10.30am briefing, DM circulates the Morning Call summary via email)
11am Kitchen Brigade daily plan
11.30am Bistro White Board
2pm (weddings) MC Banquet White Board
6pm Ballroom White Board
6.30pm BrasserieDeluxe White Board Dinner
6.30pm Bistro White Board
All briefings are designed to enhance event delivery, communicate action plans
for who deploys where and when, confirm specials and dietary requirements.
All briefings are standing up planning meetings, apart from 10.30am Technical

These are supplemented with DM digital summaries for Early Shift plus
Handover (3pm), and for Late Shift plus Handover (end of shift), and for Night
These are circulated to our entire management team. It is compulsory for all
DMs to highlight anything out-of-the-ordinary, on shift Handover reports.

Good timekeeping is vital to the smooth operation of your department.
Being punctual for work means that whoever you are replacing will not have to
cover for you or carry your workload.
It is your responsibility to arrive and be ready for work five minutes before your
shift starts. If you are ever going to be late, inform your Head of Department
as soon as possible.
Persistent lateness will invoke disciplinary action.

It is your personal responsibility to clock yourself in and out of work, via the
brigade entrance digitalised timing machine.
Failure to do so, means there will be no records of your time at work, and the
company cannot remunerate unless your records are intact.

Balbirnie House places the greatest importance to the health, safety and welfare
of all its employees and every reasonable effort is made to provide a safe
working environment, free of any risk and to prevent, as far as is practicable,
fire or any other dangerous occurrences.

If at any time you have a query over safety, or become aware of a potential
safety hazard, it is your duty to bring it to the attention of your Head of
Department immediately, and if necessary warn others of the hazard.
Employees too, have a responsibility to take reasonable care of their own health
and safety at work.


All efforts are made by the Hotel to provide you with a safe working
environment, but each employee must be responsible for their own
personal hygiene and for the cleanliness of their areas.
Every member of staff must inform their Head of Department
immediately if they are suffering from, or may be a carrier of any
infectious diseases.

All incidents whether to guests, yourself or to colleagues in the Hotel
must be reported to the Duty Manager immediately.
All accidents must be recorded in the Accident Book – which can be found
via front desk, and this should be completed by the Duty Manager.

The following lays out the Health and Safety at Work Policy.

Health and Safety at Work Policy
Everyone at work has a statutory duty to look after the health and safety of
colleagues and anyone else affected by their work. Everyone at work, and
anyone else affected by the work, is protected by the Health and Safety at Work

Personal Cleanliness
1. General appearance should always be neat and tidy.
2. Keep long hair tied back; wear clean and neat clothes.
3. Always wash hands after going to the toilet or smoking.
4. Keep cuts and abrasions covered at all times and use blue plasters when in

the kitchen brigade.

Food Hygiene
Always wash hands after going to the toilet or smoking.

1. Empty dustbins regularly – always use a bin liner and a lid.
2. Keep food covered at all times – unless for immediate use.
3. Keep raw food separate from cooked food.
4. Do not walk around the kitchen carrying useless utensils.
5. Ensure that panhandles do not overhang from cookers.
6. Avoid cross contamination by using different knives and chopping boards for

different foodstuffs.
7. Use wash hand basins only for their intended purposes.
8. Never comb your hair in a food area.
9. Never store chemicals/cleansers in the same areas as foodstuffs.
10. No foodstuffs should be kept directly on the floor.
11. Animals are banned from areas where food is stored or handled.
12. Remember to keep fridge and freezer doors closed.
13. Food handlers should report symptoms of food poisoning or sickness to

the duty manager. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms then you


should not be working in any food preparation or handling area for 48 hours
after symptoms have ceased.

For your Safety
1. Mop up any spillage’s immediately
2. Keep passageways and stairways clear at all times.
3. Keep fire doors closed.
4. Familiarise yourself with the location of all fire blankets/extinguishers and

fire exits.
5. Fire ashes must only be emptied into a metal bucket.
6. Always use stepladders to reach overhead items, never stretch or climb on

7. Always stack glasses and crockery carefully and to a reasonable height.
8. Always switch off and unplug any electrical appliances not in use.
9. Only trained personnel should use electrical appliances such as the meat

slicer, Hobart machines etc.
10. All of our electrical equipment is tested in line with national compliance

11. Beware of hazardous substances, a separate list of which is available.
12. Always pay attention to your actions. Do not daydream!
13. All fire escapes and relevant corridors must always be kept clear of

general items.
14. Fire appliances should never be removed from their correct fittings.
15. For specific health and safety reasons we have no facility for friends/

family to wait anywhere for you, ‘back-of-house’.



Fire Regulations – Smoke Stop Doors
These are marked ‘Fire Door Keep Shut’ and it is essential for all in the hotel
that they are kept shut at all times, unless kept open by a magnetic retainer.
No one should leave them open by propping objects against them.
Anyone found to be propping open doors with fire extinguishers will be liable for
disciplinary action.

Electrical Apparatus
With the exception of certain appliances such as refrigerators etc. electrical
apparatus should be switched off at the socket, the plug withdrawn at night, or
if the room is to be left unoccupied for a long period of time.

Fire Drills
Members of staff will be required to attend and take part in fire drills and
exercises carried out under the instruction of management, the Fire Prevention
Officer or the local Fire Department.


They will also be required to familiarise themselves with the location of the fire
drill point, which is located at the front of the hotel beside the flagpoles.
Escape Routes
These include all fire escapes or corridors marked ‘Fire Exits’.
It is absolutely essential that these be kept clear of obstruction at all times.
Vigilance is one of the best protections against fire.
Our shift leaders have direct responsibility for ensuring all corridors and escape
routes are kept clear of obstructions.



Our guidelines are set by national Government Directives.

Grievance Procedures
If you have any grievance relating to your employment you should raise the
matter initially with your Supervisor.
You may be required to put any such grievance in writing.

Having enquired into your grievance your Departmental Manager will discuss it
with you and will then notify you of his decision within 5 days of that meeting.

If the decision of your Supervisor is not acceptable you may then refer the
matter in writing to a Director whose decision will be final and binding.

When stating grievances you may be accompanied by a fellow employee.

If you believe that you are being sexually or racially harassed or the victim of
some other form of harassment or unlawful discrimination, you should report
any incident(s) to the General Manager who will investigate.
Your report will be treated as confidential unless you agree otherwise.

All verbal and written warnings will be filed in your personnel file and will be
held for a period of 6-12 months, or longer if the matter for which the warning
has been given is still subject to review as agreed with you.

Disciplinary Procedures
The purpose of the disciplinary procedures is to ensure that the Company
behaves fairly in investigating and dealing with any allegations of unacceptable
conduct of performance.
Accordingly, the Company reserves the right to depart from the precise
requirements of its disciplinary procedure where it is expedient to do so and
where the resulting treatment of the employee is no less fair.
The procedure will only apply to employees who have successfully completed
their probationary period.

All cases of disciplinary action under these procedures will be recorded and
placed in the Company’s records.
A copy of the Company’s disciplinary records concerning you will be supplied to
you at your request.


Offences under the Company’s disciplinary procedures fall into 3 categories

(1) Misconduct
(2) Gross Misconduct
(3) Incapability

The following steps will be taken, as appropriate, in all cases of disciplinary

Investigations: No action will be taken before a proper investigation has been
undertaken by the Company into the matter complained of.
If appropriate, the Company may by written notice suspend you while the
investigation takes place.
If you are so suspended your contract of employment will continue together
with all your rights under your contract including the payment of salary, but
during the period of suspension you will not be entitled to access to any of the
Company’s premises except at the prior request or with the prior consent of the
Company and subject to such conditions as the Company may impose.
The decision to suspend you will be notified to you by your Departmental
Manager and confirmed in writing.

Disciplinary Hearings: If the Company decides to hold a disciplinary hearing
about the matter complained of, you will be given details of the complaint
against you before the hearing.
At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to state your case.
You may be accompanied by a fellow employee or trade union representative of
your choice.
No disciplinary penalty will be imposed without a disciplinary hearing, but a
hearing may proceed in your absence if you fail to turn up.

Appeals: You have a right to appeal against any disciplinary decision to the
General Manager. You should inform the General Manager in writing of your
wish to appeal within five working days of the date of the decision which forms
the subject of your appeal.

The General Manager will conduct an appeal hearing as soon as possible
thereafter at which you will be given an opportunity to state your case and will
be entitled to be accompanied by a fellow employee or trade union
representative of your choice.
The decision of the General Manager will be notified to you in writing and will be
final and binding under this procedure.



The following offences are examples of misconduct:

• Bad time-keeping
• Unauthorised absence
• Minor damage to Company property
• Minor breach of Company rules
• Failure to observe Company procedures
• Abusive behaviour
• Smoking on company premises or grounds
• Occupying parking spaces which are otherwise reserved for guests
• Sexual or racial harassment

These offences are not exclusive or exhaustive and offences of a similar nature
will be dealt with under this procedure.

The following procedure will apply in cases of alleged misconduct:

First warning: This will be given by your Departmental Manager or the General
Manager and may be oral or written according to the circumstances.
In either event, you will be advised that the warning constitutes the first formal
stage of this procedure.
If the warning is verbal a note that such a warning has been given will be
placed in the Company’s records.

Final warning: This will be given by your Manager or the General Manager and
confirmed to you in writing.
This warning will state that, ‘if you commit a further offence of misconduct
during the period specified in it, your employment will be terminated’.

Dismissal: The decision to dismiss you will not be taken without reference to the
Senior Management and will be notified to you in writing.

Gross Misconduct
The following offences are examples of gross misconduct:

• Theft or unauthorised possession of any property belonging to the
Company, any employee or customer

• Serious damage to Company property

• Falsification of reports, accounts, expense claims or Self-Certification

• Refusal to carry out duties or reasonable instructions


• Intoxication by reason of drink or drugs

• Having alcoholic drink or illegal drugs in your possession, custody or
control on the Company’s premises without the prior consent of the

• Serious breach of Company rules

• Violent, dangerous or intimidatory conduct

• Sexual, racial or other harassment of fellow employee

• Serious breach of Health and Safety Rules

• Contravention of licensing hours or Weights and Measures Act

These examples are not exhaustive or exclusive and offences of a similar nature
will be dealt with under this procedure.

Gross misconduct will result in immediate dismissal without notice or pay in lieu
of notice. The decision to dismiss will not be taken without reference to the
General Manager. Dismissal will be notified to you in writing.


The following are examples of incapability:

• Poor performance

• Incompetence

• Unsuitability

• Lack of application

These examples are not exhaustive or exclusive and offences of a similar nature
will be dealt with under this procedure.

The following procedure will apply in cases of incapability:

First warning: This will be given by your Departmental Manager or General
Manager and will be confirmed to you in writing.
This warning will specify the improvement required and will state that your work
will be reviewed at the end of a stated reasonable period after the date of the

Final warning: This will be given by your Departmental Manager or General
Manager and confirmed to you in writing.


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