Novelli Associates

Jean-Christophe Novelli has made numerous TV appearances, but his sojourn into the international restaurant business in the ‘90s proved to be a bruising experience.

Jean-Christophe rapidly built an empire of seven restaurants in London, France and South Africa and tasted stellar success, but fell into trouble within a few years. “I kept growing my business in a way that wasn’t sustainable,” he explains. 

Jean-Christophe then started Novelli Associates 10 years ago with his partner Michelle, which includes his internationally-acclaimed cookery school The Novelli Academy.

Reassurance a call away

Jean-Christophe is conscious that running a business brings obligations to staff and the need to comply with regulations. 

“It’s clearly very important to me to keep in step with changes in health & safety and employment law,” he explains.

“Mentor has helped me keep on top of my personal legal obligations. If we are unsure of something, we just make a phone call and get an answer straight away. I believe that Mentor is a necessity for us – we need the expert knowledge and protection.”

Health & safety is a priority at the Novelli Academy, “It’s about a lot more than food hygiene: we always have the safety of our clients and staff in mind,” says Jean-Christophe. “But even though we’re on the ball, there are processes we were unaware of and this is where Mentor’s services come into their own.” 

Mentor services’ clear and easy-to-use checklists have given Jean-Christophe the confidence that the implemented health & safety systems and processes are robust – for example, being able to provide corporate clients with up-to-date risk assessments on request is an essential tool.

And knowing that Mentor’s Telephone Advice Service is on hand 24/7 is reassuring should something unexpected happen, says Jean-Christophe. “A business like ours can be vulnerable, so it’s reassuring to know there’s advice from Mentor available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, in any eventuality.” 

Considerate employment 

“Because of the different staff roles, we need to make sure we stay on top of employment legislation and this is one headache we just pass onto Mentor – they simplify the relevant legislation.

“When you employ people you have to keep up to date with all aspects of the law otherwise you may overlook something vital. Mentor services have helped me to remain at the helm of my business and to implement the right control systems. With Mentor’s help, we’ve achieved this step by step; their service is set up in a very easy-to-understand way, so our staff know where they stand.”

Mentor recently advised Jean-Christophe when he decided to give a ‘young and dynamic’ part-time employee the chance to go full-time. “I didn’t know the procedure, so Michelle phoned the telephone advice service. They were quick and their advice was useful. Now, both sides are satisfied that the correct procedures and documentation are in place. It’s great for staff to feel comfortable and secure too.”

Mentor also advised Novelli Associates on the need for non-disclosure agreements to be signed by employees working with Jean-Christophe’s sensitive documents and recipes. The need to protect intellectual property in this way had not even crossed his mind, he confides, “so the advice was unexpected, but very welcome.”

“I don’t have to worry, I don’t have to wait – it’s just quick. It’s a brilliant service.”

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