Bear Coffee Company Limited Careers and Employment
- CEOCraig Bunting & Michael Thorley92%approve of Craig Bunting & Michael Thorley's performance
- Company size51 to 200
- Revenue£730k to £4m (GBP)
- IndustryRestaurants & Food Service
- Headquarters7, Iron Gate, Derby, DE13...
BEAR was conceived out of a passion, not just to offer great coffee, but also to create a great environment in which to enjoy it. Founded in 2014, it was the realisation of a vision that co-founder Craig Bunting had in Australia whilst enjoying such an experience and wondering why he was unable to do so back in the UK.
Craig shared his vision with an old school friend Michael Thorley and the pair, both with the same love for coffee and a keen sense of adventure, set about researching the market, learning about the product and developing their skills with a view to creating something special.
The entrepreneurial pair identified a gap in the UK market, specifically in market towns and cities around the Midlands where there was nothing competing with the large chains – they decided to open a single site in their hometown as a concept, allowing them to fine-tune a model that could be rolled out throughout the UK and internationally.
It all started with a coffee…
It is not your ordinary coffee shop. You are preparing breakfast food, lunch items and dinner items as well as some dessert items; so you have a wide range of food for the customers and different skills are needed for each.
I had the pleasure of watching the company go from a smaller, 'we look after our staff' company to one that was only concerned with looking after their profits. I understand that a business is a business and it needs to make money, but it doesn't need to make me feel worthless to do that. All too often we'd get told that despite our store earning the most, doing the best, operating the most efficient despite constantly being understaffed - we needed to make more money. All the problems stemmed from Head Office, they have no idea what they're doing. If someone showed me pictures of the members of head office and a circus full of seasoned veteran clowns then I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. My store is in a mall, it can be busy - but because there's a sleepy little store that can be staffed by two people as it makes a tenner on a good day, we're not allowed more staff. The menu was constantly being tinkered with and changed for reasons beyond human understanding. The variety, value and quality was a steady decline from when I started but of course the prices went up. If I were a chef I'd be embarrassed to make it, but it's okay I was embarrassed to serve it. Coffee was the most important part of the job, the heart if you will. I watched as the care and quality was stripped away slowly and steadily like it was placed next to a black hole that emailed regular profit reports. The coffee is still fine, but good luck finding someone who cares about making it to a standard that won't remind you of a withered husk. Speaking of withered husks, that's exactly how everyone felt, a work life balance that was work, work, work. You will be doing the work of three people. You will be tired, you will be drained and the only reprieve is the sweet, sweet embrace of sleep. The manager couldn't ever do anything to help, management were actually worse off, head office made sure that nothing was fixed, because if it's broken then you just replace parts, right? You don't fix them. Which brings me to my next point, I've mentioned the broken system of the joke that is this workplace, we all have. The actual, literal response from head office was, 'if you don't like working here we'll find people who do', 'if you don't like the job, find somewhere else' and my personal favourite - in response to me telling head office I've been made to feel worthless, 'I'm not going to lose any sleep over it'. I tried with this place, I really did. I tried to make a career, I tried to uphold its standards and values, but it's hard to when the very people who wanted me to do that, did not themselves. BEAR looks like a place where you want to work. It is not. It is a fractured hollow of its former self and because I worked for them, so am I.
I enjoyed working for the company when I first started but that soon changed as I was asked to do many extra tasks that were outside of my job description, eg ordering, chefing, bar management and completing opening and closing the shop without adequate reward and no thanks from head office. Eventually I came to resent getting up in the morning to go to work. I can honestly say that I loved the team that I worked with in store, however I just didn't like how I was treated by the head office team. Also, I didn't agree with the way that the company claimed to be local and independent using local providers when that evidently changed!
If I could give 0 stars, I would. Management are two faced and the head office crew have no idea how to treat staff and hold on to them. The head of food actually uses the Caravan (small chain in London) cookbook for his recipes and menu writing because he's obsessed. If you want bears shakshuka.. it's in that book. If you're two faced, back stabbing and love a gossip, you'll go far with them. If you're a genuine hard worker, it will be a different story for you.
So far working at Bear I have really enjoyed how they have managed to balance specific and more in depth training with on the job work experience to make each day interesting and productive. I particularly like the varied working hours that I have received so far as it has allowed me to experience both quieter and busier periods and therefore do a variety of different tasks to suit this.
Straight away I felt like a part of the team and would feel comfortable discussing any issues with management. Already they have been really helpful at accommodating my other job's requirements so that I am able to work in both places comfortably.
Bear is a really sociable place to work, I enjoy speaking to both customers and colleges on a daily basis. Being able to have conversations helps to keep the day interesting and it's nice when you start to see familiar faces.
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