Employment Guide to having a Qualified Butler

Guild Recruitment
in association with The South African Butler Academy
My Butler’s Brief – An Employers Guide

Your Requirements?

Position : Butler / Household Manager / Lifestyle Manager / Chef Butler / Hotel Butler / Estate Manager
Type : Private Household / Estate / Lodge / Hotel / Villa / Guesthouse / Yacht / Cruise Ship / Jet
Period : Permanent / Temporary / Casual
Preference : Gender / Age / Nationality / Culture / Religion

What is a Butler?

Butlers specialize in style, etiquette, service delivery and creating an environment in which graceful yet unobtrusive service is celebrated…

A Butler is trained for the abovementioned establishments where attention to detail; intelligently executed, anticipatory, and almost invisible service are expected and appreciated:

Our Butlers have successfully completed The South African Butler Academy Training Course. The syllabus is modern, while still upholding many of the timeless traditions and etiquette, thus ensuring that each student Butler is well prepared to work in any type of household or related hospitality industry with the same grace and artful perfection…
In order to maintain modern standards the latest technology and software training is provided and updated continuously. Training techniques encompasses technical and theory lectures accompanied with relevant practical sessions.

The syllabus and training style, based on relevant and real situations, is unique and therefore the satisfaction received from the subject’s covered will be most rewarding to you as our Client.
Duties & Expectations:

• The Art of Butler Service
• Roles / Values / Body Language and Butlers Demeanor
• The multifaceted role of the Butler, both traditional and modern
• Personal Assistant duties
• Household Management
• Staff Management
• Staff training, hiring & firing
• Interviewing skills
• Employer to employee relationships
• Etiquette and International Protocol
• Communication skills
• Personal presentation
• Attention to detail
• Anticipation / Arrival /Departure
• Understanding and fulfilling Guest expectations
• Valet skills including packing of suitcases, concierge and the world of travel
• Event planning
• The Dining Room and the laying of tables, The Art of Table Service, The Ballet of Service, Setting the Stage, Event Planning, Tray Service, Dining Diplomats & Important guests.
• Silver Service
• Wine and Champagne Service
• Food Handling Safety
• Plating / Garnishing / Napkin Folds
• Purchasing, storage and inventories of Wines
• Cooking – Chef’s night off
• Food and Beverage Service, preparing Meals and beverages
• Flowers and Table arrangements
• Cigars, their handling and storage, presentation of Cognacs and Expensive Wines
• Technical / electronic expertise
• Housekeeping skills, laundry care
• Inventory and stock control
• Cleaning of silver, glass and fine artefacts
• Chauffeuring
• Household maintenance schedules and supervision
• Household accounts and budgets
• Setting up a Butler’s Pantry and the Butlers Office
• Basic South African Employment law
• Security, Fire and Safety guidelines
• Emergency protocol

So, in essence, the Butler is very much a “Jack of all Trades” and somehow master of them all. Yet he must always be adaptable and flexible, ready to take on new responsibilities as and when his employer sees fit. He is the byword for common sense, patience and expertise. The greater his duties and responsibilities (combined with his experience) should be reflected in his salary package.

NB: Please note that although most of the duties / expectations are listed above, we cannot guarantee that all of the duties will be performed with equal skill as required and expected. There are certain aspects in which a Butler cannot be trained, but will develop and grow with experience.

What do I want & Need:

It is vital that you as our Client have a clear understanding of your exact needs. Very often Clients are not fully aware of what a Butler is and what can be expected of a Butler. As the role of a Butler encompasses many varied aspects, it may be useful to use the following as a guideline in clarifying what you are looking for:

– Traditional Butler vs Household Manager / Lifestyle Manager
– Traditional vs Modern Butler
– Gender, age, culture
– Live-in or Live-out
– Salary offering
– Perks, allowances, bonuses
– What level of cooking skills
– Driver’s license
– Is my home formal or informal
– Do we entertain much
– Do we travel often, and would the Butler have to accompany us or not
– Child friendly
– What housekeeping chores
– What maintenance / garden chores / errands outside the household
– Management / supervisory / training skills
– Valet duties / Travelling Butler
– Pet care
– Duties

Do not be concerned if you are unable to list each and every requirement you have. You may have a vague idea of what you would like, but only once a Butler is in your home will you be able to paint the complete picture. The multi-faceted role of a Butler, however, will ensure that all of your needs will be attended to.

Who is my Butler:

As your Butler will become part of your home and life, it is of the utmost importance that you learn as much as possible about your Butler in a very short period. Of course, you will only truly come to know each other better once he/she is in your home, but in order to gain a bit of an understanding the following may be useful during the interview process:

– Personal details
– Previous experience
– Education, training, skills development
– Level of communication, language, demeanor
– Achievements
– Family life
– Hobbies & interests
– Goals & ambitions
– Short-term goals
– Long-term goals
– Strengths & weaknesses – self
– Strengths & weaknesses – skills
– Why do they want to be a Butler
– What would make them a suitable Butler for you
– What was their biggest disappointment in their career thus far
– Longevity
– Conflict resolutions
– Leadership abilities
– People’s skills
– Why would they want to work for you
– What do they have to offer which sets them apart from other candidates

Selecting your Butler:

Once the recruitment agency has a clear understanding of your specific requirements, needs, expectations, household and family, as well as your preference to the type of Butler, profiles of potentially suitable candidates will be sent for your perusal. Profiles contain all the basic personal & professional information of a candidate, but cannot describe in detail personality traits & characteristics. You will learn more about this when conducting an interview. The Agency will provide you with any recommendations we feel may assist with your selection process, such as experience, skills, availability & salary expectation.
Interviews are arranged at your convenience:

– If you are in Cape Town, interviews are arranged at your home, a central meeting place or at our offices.
– If you are out of Cape Town, telephonic or Skype interviews can be arranged first. Arrangements can be made for any candidate you wish to interview in person. Please note that travel expenses & accommodation are for the Clients’ account.

A trial period is recommended before you make your final decision:

– For candidates whom have completed the training this can be arranged at your convenience
– For candidates who are currently still on training, we suggest over a weekend
– For Clients who are out of Cape Town, the in-person interview and trial days can be combined

Once you are completely satisfied and have made a final decision, please notify the Guild Recruitment as to the offer of employment. A Confirmation of Offer of Employment will need to be signed by both the Client and the Candidate.

The Offer of Employment:

It is preferred that the Contract of Employment and all the Terms & Conditions thereof should be made available for the candidates perusal prior to commencing employment. The Contract should be forwarded to the GR Director so he can discuss it with the candidate. If necessary any changes and addendums can then be included, discussed and agreed upon. The Contract should be signed by both parties by no later than the first week of employment.

The Contract should include:
(Please see Labour Guidelines Attached)

– Employer’s details (personal or company)
– Employees Details (incl address & ID No.)
– Date of commencement of employment
– Place of work
– Job title
– Probation period (3 months)
– Terms for Termination
– Governed by SA labour law
– Salary, allowances
– Hours & Days of work
– Meal intervals
– Sunday / Public Holiday work
– Annual leave
– Sick leave
– Maternity leave
– Family responsibility leave
– Overtime remuneration / compensation
– Accommodation
– Other conditions & benefits
– Place, date, name & signatures of employer and employee
– Labour Guidelines

What does my Butler expect from me?

1.1 Job description
1.2 Employment contract
1.3 Working hours / off-time (as per contract – negotiable upon agreement)
1.4 Likes / dislikes (within the 1st month)
1.5 Communication – concise meetings (once a week)
1.6 Accommodation: TV, internet (within or soon after probation period)
1.7 Clear instructions as to your specific preferences within your home
1.8 Fair labour-law compliance, realistic expectations

How do I keep my Butler?

4.1 Perks: 13th cheque, annual increase, car / phone allowance, upgrade accommodation, medical benefits
4.2 Ask about your Butlers long term goals and follow up on them at least 4 times a year
4.3 Communication: weekly meetings even after a lengthy employment
4.4 Stick to the contract! Any changes, permanent or ad-hoc, must be discussed and your Butler must be in full agreement
4.5 Suggest improving your Butlers skills i.e. cooking course, bodygaurding, bookeeping
4.6 Compensation for any over-time worked, additional duties performed

What if something goes wrong?

With regular, open communication, both you and your Butler should develop a relationship whereby both parties feel equally comfortable addressing any issues or concerns.

If a Butler is not satisfied or unhappy with any area which you as the employer feels can be amicably addressed and resolved, then a solution or compromise should be discussed and agreed upon. However, should no satisfactory resolution be reached, the Agency will be willing to mediate if necessary. If no attempt to resolve any issue is reached, then it may be time to reconsider the appointment.

In the event that our candidate resigns, or is dismissed (not due to unfair labour practices, breach of contract or unreasonable working conditions) within the 90 day probation period, we will find a substitute candidate who meets the same employment criteria and qualifications as initially agreed upon, at no additional cost, except for expenses. This process continues until the client is completely satisfied as we do not offer any refunds on placement fees.

We reserve the right to remove and replace the candidate within this period if all expectations and standards are not met to the clients’ satisfaction. Random calls, visits and progress reports will be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the candidate’s performance is acceptable.