Managing a change of business culture after a buyout

Believe it or not, statistics show that culture clash can be one of the key reasons why a business fails to meet its potential, after a takeover or merger.

Culture clash is what happens when the merging businesses – including restaurants, bars and hotels – have fundamentally different ways of working; the new owners may operate on the basis of long-held assumptions which they believe will apply in the acquired business. Quite often, these ways of working are totally alien to the new business they have acquired.  Even worse, these differences aren’t communicated or addressed, so the problem festers.

The result? Misinterpretation, frustration, anxiety, demoralisation…. and ultimately the loss of key staff, and a drop in productivity.

So how do you start to tackle such a huge gap in culture? Here are 3 suggestions that might help:

  • Plan for change: Prior to the acquisition – not after – sit down and examine together where potential differences may lie. This is a good opportunity to identify best and worst practices of two organisations and find better ways of working for both parties.
  • Communicate: Consider communication across all levels of your hospitality business, from senior management to all staff both front and back of house in HR terms. Everyone is impacted in an acquisition, and in order to keep them on board they need to be made aware of the changes. When change happens it is accepted much more easily and is easier to implement if people are aware at first hand of the impact it will have on them. Communication in itself has a positive impact and may help retain key members of staff because they are involved, and because they are aware of new systems and processes. In this way, communication can be the key to preserving morale.
  • Train: Use the process of change to identify training needs and opportunities which will maximise productivity for the business…….

If you need help with managing change in your business,  call us on 0203 217 4487 or email:




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