Wholesaler goes with the Flow

Hospitality training provider forms new alliance with Matthew Clark


EDINBURGH-based hospitality training provider Flow aims to extend its reach across the UK through a new partnership with wholesaler Matthew Clark. As part of the agreement, the first phase of which runs until March 2013, the supplier will market and sell Flow’s online training package to its trade customers in England and Wales.
Flow, which was developed by Edinburgh bar and restaurant group Montpeliers and launched in late 2009, features 12 modules spanning waiting and bartending, cocktails, wine and coffee, customer service, licensing and social responsibility, food safety, health and safety and the personal licence holder certificate.
The training package was updated last year to incorporate the Licensing Act 2003, which applies in England and Wales, as well as different aspects of food safety legislation; further modules relating specifically to the hotel industry are currently in development.
Flow modules can be used individually or as a complete training programme; a management system allows operators to plan staff training and track progress.
More than 300 customers down south are said to have signed up to the initiative in the first three weeks of the new partnership.
And Mike Fisher, innovations controller at Matthew Clark, told SLTN he expects many more will follow.
“It’s a logical marriage between the two companies – very much a natural partnership,” he said.
“We cover the whole of the UK so can take Flow to a wider customer base. We very much see it as another category for our account managers; it complements the training we already offer and allows us to make the highest quality online training available to our customers.
“It takes operators time and money to find training; we can go direct to our customers with Flow and it takes away the difficulty of finding good training.
“In this economic climate, and let’s be honest – these are difficult times – it’s crucial to have well-trained staff. Flow has been very well-received in England and Wales so far and I think that will continue.”
David Wither, boss of Flow’s sister company Montpeliers, told SLTN the training package, which has been adopted by a number of independent operators and groups north of the border, offers a flexible and cost-effective approach to hospitality training. “Flow is all about reducing costs for operators,” he said. “Given that it’s online, it takes out travel and trainer costs. It’s all about raising service standards and driving sales and profits. We never wanted to have a sizeable sales staff down south. This partnership with Matthew Clark gives us that reach from an established sales base of about 120 staff. It’s a perfect partnership with Matthew Clark.”