Thursday, 20 October 2016

How Can Online Marketing Fill Your Restaurant

Here at Vira International we have a special relationship with our clients and candidates. As a recruitment company in the hospitality sector we are unique in the way that we help our clients recruit great Chefs and in many cases bring them in from abroad on a sponsorship visa.

This results in a really close working relationship. So much so last week one of the restaurant owners asked me about online marketing. As a recruiter he knows that this is a skill we have to master.

So here are some suggestions I gave him that I see working for the many restaurants and hospitality businesses we work with

Have a plan

This might sound boring and yet all successful restaurants have a plan on how they will capture market share and how this will be achieved. This might include:

• Minimum daily covers; empty seats-lost revenue
• Seasonal promotions
• Special events e.g. Weddings, Birthdays, Family Parties

Once you know your plan it is now about attracting customers from the various online media channels.

Target your market

Who is your market? Everyone seems to be on social media and they are; we will come onto Facebook and the like later. As a first step let’s look at your website

Your website

The popularity of eating out is growing and many people decide on the last minute. Picture the scene your just about to leave work and can’t be bothered cooking. You decide to meet some friends at a local favourite Curry House. So you use your mobile to Google the restaurant and find the number; sound familiar it is. So what can you do?

Responsive websites


Make sure your website is responsive. That means it can be seen on any device. If not you could be losing out to those last minute bookings.

Make it enticing

Food is a visual experience. Make sure you have plenty of pictures of food and people enjoying themselves. Have your phone number easily found on every page. And if functionality allows have an online booking form for those times when you can’t get to the phone.



Facebook is popular for restaurants and is a great way of interacting with your audience. One restaurant we know has free WI-Fi and encourages people to share their photos on Facebook and at the end of each week offers a meal voucher; two for one to the best photograph.

Pinterest and Instagram


These particular social media platforms speak into any market where images play a huge part in marketing. Here you can set up accounts and post images of your food, happy customers etc. The benefit is your account will also appear on Google which gives you another way to get food.



We all love Twitter and potentially so do your customers. Make sure you are sending out regular Tweets and encourage dialogue. For instance post your dish of the day and ask for feedback

Collect emails


This is big! As customers leave ask for their email and then send them a special offer. These are the emails people love getting! It is so easy to do.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain status (ILR) also known as Permanent Residency or (PR) is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold the right to stay in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been issued a temporary visa with a time limit to reside and have the permission to work or study with certain restrictions. Persons who have legally stayed in the UK can apply for PR, once they have completed the qualifying period. This status although termed Permanent Residency lapses if the holder has stayed outside the United Kingdom for a continuous period of more than two years.

Categories qualifying for UK PR, having stayed in the UK for a specific period of time, usually 5 years, may apply for an ILR which entitles them to live in UK as long as they wish and eventually even apply for naturalization. The processing time and requirements for the ILR vary depending on the visa class that an applicant has immiditly prior to their application.

Visa Class
Below is a table for the visa status/class with the corresponding required length of stay in the United Kingdom as one of the requirements to qualify for an ILR application.
Current Visa Status/ ClassRequired Years of Stay
Unmarried Partner5
EEA Family Permit5
Work Permit5
HSMP (closed)5
People establishing business5
Writers, Composers, Artists5
Legal stay on any basis10
Illegal stay on any basis14
Language and Awareness Requirements

Aside from the visa class, in order to be eligible ILR applicants require proficiency in the English language as well as have knowledge of living in the United Kingdom. Applicants who are under 18 years of age or above 65 are exempted from this requirement.

Cost of Indefinite Leave to Remain Application

Effective the 6th of April 2016, the application fees have been raised from £1500 to £1875 per person. Dependents also pay the same fees. The premium application fee (meaning there is an in-person appointment) has been raised from £1900 to £2375.

Advantages of having an Indefinite Leave to Remain status

Being an ILR status holder, an individual enjoys the following advantages:

  • Acquisition of British Citizenship not only for themselves but also for their children, if applicable under certain conditions and requirements.

  • The holder will also have the right to access public funds. Unlike those of the Limited to Remain (LTR) visa in the United Kingdom, the wording” no recourse to public funds” is not written in an ILR holders’ visa. As a result they are able to claim job seekers allowances and other benefits which are usually available only to British, EU and EEA citizens.

  • Have the advantage of paying the same tuition fees as those of British, EU and EEA citizens (also known as Home Student Status) whilst studying at institutions of higher education in the UK, as opposed to paying substantially higher tuition fees like International Students with a LTR.

  • ILR citizens are UK residents and enjoy the right to vote and stand for election to a public office.

Conditions of Indefinite Leave to Remain

An important reminder: Once an individual has been granted an ILR, ensure that you do not spend 2 years or more outside the United Kingdom, as this can lead to the ILR being revoked. In order to surmount this challenge, migrants are eligible to apply for British Citizenship after 1 year as a permanent resident or after 1 year of being granted an ILR status.

Vira International provides end to end immigration services for ILR application. Our service starts from the initial phone or email enquiry right until your visa approval. For further information please email or

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Brexit and its Impact on Recruitment Process for European Chefs?

As many of you are aware, on 23rd June 2016 a public referendum was held in order to determine whether or not the UK should remain in the EU. The majority decision to leave the UK marks a great landmark in history; of course leaving the UK is not something which can be achieved overnight.

There is currently consultations in process about how the UK will practically sever its ties with the EU, it has been announced that it will take approximately 2 years. A referendum was held where the majority voted in favour of Brexit. With Brexit winning the EU referendum, we feel that it’s our responsibility to let you all know how this will affect the Recruitment of Chefs from the EU are concerned.

Important Information by Vira International

We at Vira International would like to provide our clients, candidates and followers with clear information on the implications of the decision to leave the EU and how this will possibly affect them. With the recent turn of events and under no circumstances the EU chef recruitment procedure/policies will have any immediate change.  Our Recruitment of chefs will continue as before, in case of any events befalling in near future, we will keep you updated. We are still actively recruiting chefs for our clients from several European countries.

  • The recruitment process for clients who are hiring chefs from European countries will remain the same. No changes are applicable anytime soon.
  • The recruitment process for candidates/chefs who are from Europe and are looking to apply for chef jobs in the UK will remain the same. Please feel free to email your CV to

Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any queries on this matter. Our number is 0208 863 5811. Alternatively, you can also send an email with your questions and CVs to either or

You can also subscribe our newsletter for regular vacancy update or follow us in LinkedIn.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Tier 5 internship – Vira International

The Tier 5 Intern is a licensed “Government Authorised Exchange” scheme that provides Certificates of Sponsorship for non-EEA nationals, offering work experience from UK employers. It allows UK employers to recruit the brightest & best talent from overseas, aiming to share knowledge, experience and best practice in UK industry.

Vira International has been recruiting interns for the firms according to their requirements. We have recruited candidates for IT, business, engineering, administration field & group of hotels. We work directly with employers and support them to become the sponsors of the non-EEA interns whom they need to recruit for the internship programme in their company. We understand the importance of looking beyond skills & experience, that’s why we strongly favour internships. Interns coming from different countries bring different work ethics which can be a refreshing experience.

Interns are highly enthusiastic, bringing fresh & innovative ideas on the table proving their capabilities for a long term performance. Internship is the best way to gain practical knowledge and valuable lessons like cultural & social understanding of work place while studying. Internship gives a very valuable exposure to students by allowing them to be a part of the industry & understand the professional way of working.

Key Benefits of Tier 5 Internship for Companies
  • Free of cost service for employers.
  • Talented graduates augment work place with their fresh perception & energy.
  • Pay national minimum wage or more.
  • Guaranteed available resource for 12 month.
  • Employers need not sponsor migrant - Arranged via an overarching body authorised by UKVI (Vira International makes these arrangements.)

Other benefits of having Interns?

Share the load – Interns can help the permanent employees with their work load. This way they can also learn the tasks which will be helpful for them. Interns are committed for a full 12 months (6 Months for Hospitality industry) and can be instrumental in tasks that need stability and continuity. Interns are keen to work on different and varied projects and this enthusiasm can prove to be an efficient support.

Pool of knowledge – Interns coming in from across the globe bring with them skills & knowledge that are different. Their insights prove to be refreshing and while they are in their learning process, they teach us many great things concerned with work ethics and ideas of life, benefiting the company by bringing in new perspective.

Enhance Leadership – Interns will need mentors who can supervise & guide them. The designated supervisor within your organisation can get a chance to develop new skills and learn something in return from the interns. Every intern coming in from different background will apparently be a different challenge. And supervising them will let the supervisors learn and understand the different work ethics and polish their supervisory skills as well. Hosting an international intern will benefit both the intern as well as the host company.

Shape the skills - A company can always put the skills of the intern at their disposal. They can always route their enthusiasm and knowledge in a way that can prove beneficial to the company. It’s like teaching interns to focus all their energy & talent to contribute in their professional and company’s growth. International Internship is a great way to gain experience, develop skills, strengthen resumes, and learn more about the career they wish to pursue.

Participating in this program will have many great advantages:

The Tier 5 of the point Based System, allows students to gain professional training for a maximum period of 12 months. We work with Students as well as fresh graduates and assist them in creating a suitable CV for internship opportunities with companies in their specialized field.

Interns will be able to:

  • Expand their knowledge & abilities.
  • Get trained in most advanced & hospitable countries.
  • Learn new cultures & experiences of life in a different country.
  • Return home country with a broad in-depth knowledge in your professional area.

Being selected for an internship is the most effective way to break into the chosen professional field with the top firms. It’s a great opportunity for all the non-EEA’s to come across with their talents and prove to be resourceful employee for the companies.

Vira International works in partnership with the companies who wish to employ the potential candidates for the opening positions in their companies. The internship is for 12 month commitment from both the end, hence, it’s of utmost importance that the right candidates are matched with right opportunities and also, both, the employer & the intern get a good chance to work together. We currently provide a huge demand of young, bright and enthusiastic, Business, Sales and Marketing, Finance, IT, Customer Service, Engineers, Marketing & Construction post- graduates who are keen to gain experience from UK businesses.

Vira International is here to assist the companies in very possible way, all they need to do is offer interns NMW (at a minimum of 35 hours per week) for a supernumerary position, which is above NVQ Level 3 and we will do the rest.

Any interested companies can directly contact us to participate in this partnership program. Email: or

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Trends: Restaurant, Consumer & Menu

If we judge what's to come by the speed of change in the past few years, the stride of technological and social transformation will only accelerate. Our life style has changed and is in fact changing drastically and a huge change can be seen in the hospitality sector as well.
Technology is now global and now we have faster food service, efficient kitchens, and real-time customer relationship management and marketing via mobile devices. Changing consumer
expectations & behaviors will drive restaurants to meet shifting needs with re-imagined styles of service, menu offerings, pricing and targeted messaging.

So, if we look at  3 major sections (Restaurant, Consumer & Menu) in the hospitality sector we should be able to analyse the change we will see.

The Restaurant
Restaurant architecture & design needs to embody both high-tech advancements & low-tech hospitality, appealing to consumers hungry for modern flourishes like cashless payments as well as old-fashioned human touch. Quick service chains should embrace the upscale décor, introducing arts & graphics in their décor, it will be all about giving a personalised touch to the look so that consumers can easily gel in with the ambience. It’s the time of HD camera’s and selfies, in short we take pictures wherever we go and if we come across a great décor we just can’t miss taking pictures.

Great food is always appreciated  & it remains the main factor that brings the guests to the table again and again but if good food can be presented brilliantly, it would simply complete the package.

Seating Style: Restaurants are upgrading seating & fixtures that are more casual yet  stylish, adding a ‘wow’ factor to their atmosphere.

Modern Kitchen: Advanced equipment and food prepared at a higher-quality means restaurants can now move from boring and dull kitchens to bright and practical ones,  after all , that’s where all creativity takes place.

Front of House: Some restaurants may put seating in full view of the kitchen, and many concepts will add more tableside exhibition cooking.

Local Touch: This tends to be a big hit, when restaurants showcase regional architecture with some touch. This brings the travellers closer to understanding the local culture.

Charging points: This is becoming increasingly popular,  be it a restaurant small or big, if they don’t have charging ports for customer’s phones, cameras, tablets or laptops it will be huge thumbs down. Travellers, visitors expect these services as they are more often than not on the run and they would like to keep their gadgets charged.

Energy Efficient: LED lights, reduced-consumption equipment, savvy heating, air conditioning systems, & recycling all score points with guests.

The Consumer
Consumers today like to travel, explore and experience. They have the ability to judge if a restaurant suits them. Eating out at restaurants or spending money on lavish food is a big trend. Although this trend is here to stay and more & more people are embracing it, . this life style completely depends on how deep their pockets are. Keeping this in mind  entrepreneurs are increasingly reinventing themselves  and opening restaurants on a smaller scale and presenting us with a restaurant business where they can offer their delicious delicacies and can create an ambience for frequent and busy or travellers. This is one good way to allow people from different incomes & sectors to be part of the experience.
Consumers will continue to  look for new & better experiences and it is the responsibility of the restaurants to not to let them slip into mundane routines by ensuring their priority is to be innovative and pleasing their customers. This is something that will keep customers loyal to the restaurant.

The Menu
Got a great menu, get an app. More & more restaurants are switching to apps where they can display the best of what they offer. Allowing consumers to get a first-hand knowledge of what the restaurant is all about.
It’s called ‘customizing the food’, as the smartphone & tablet revolution continues, people are ordering more & more online. So the ability to order and pay for their food from their handheld devices, and to sort the menu items conferring to nutritional value or price is now the most important thing to do.

The hospitality sector will always be on the rise. New recipes, new décor will always attract customers. It’s an adventure in itself. With restaurants becoming more accessible everywhere, consumers do hope to experience something new & special.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Top 10 Features for a better Understanding on Temporary Worker Visa – Tier 5 (Government Authorized)

Work and travel to the UK with your Tier 5 Visa, the ideal solution for your UK travel and working visa problems. The Tier 5 Visa route enables International Students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to carry out temporary work experience, internships or approved training in the UK after their studies, of between 6 – 12 months depending on the position.
The Tier 5 Program includes 4 categories:
  1. Work Experience Programme – Most popular discussed below
  2. Research Programme
  3. Training Programme
  4. Overseas Government Language Programme
Who may apply? - Students (Currently pursuing a Degree or a Diploma) OR Fresh graduates (Must start Internship within 12 months of graduating)
Top 10 Features
  1. This programme is aimed at students/graduates who wish to do a period of work experience or training in the UK.
  2. The time duration is usually up to 12 months for work experience but can be up to 24 months for specific research or training. The length of time will depend on the scheme applied for.
  3. The visa is organised through a Government Authorised Exchange sponsor on behalf of students (and employers) –Vira International will arrange
  4. The GAE sponsor must issue a certificate of sponsorship before the individual can apply for the visa, Vira International will be responsible for this too.
  5. The internship or training program will be paid – UK min. Wage
  6. The post must be a skilled role, supernumerary (i.e. not a vacant job), temporary, and pay at or above the level of the national minimum wage.
  7. Students/graduates can apply from within the UK to switch from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 5 GAE visa if the job is directly relevant to their degree.
  8. Students/graduates can do a Tier 5 role not directly related to their degree but they must apply from their home country.
  9. Students/graduates must also have ‘proof of support’ funds of at least £945. These savings must have been in your bank account for at least 90 days before application.
  10. The individual must leave the UK on completion of the period of work experience and cannot switch to Tier 2 within the UK. However, if a Company wants to offer the person full-time employment in the UK, they can apply for a Tier 2 visa for them once they have returned to their home country, but the more stringent version of the rules will apply.

If you want advice on deciding whether Tier 5 is the appropriate visa route for you to stay in the UK to work, please contact Vira International or email your Queries to or call us directly on 020-88635811