case study: Rare Restaurants

Rare Restaurants is a group of 17 restaurants including Gaucho and sister company M.

Emerging out of the pandemic, CEO Martin Williams made the decision to conduct a thorough review of their DE&I practices in place for their 1000+ workforce. The Senior Team wanted to learn about the extent to which employees feel they truly ‘belong’.

The purpose was to positively change mindsets throughout the business, to focus on the right elements of wellbeing for employees and their individual needs, and to make sure that the mental wellness of all team members was prioritised after such turbulent times. The approach consisted of several steps over a 12-month period.


inclusion in conducted a company-wide Inclusion & Culture Survey to determine a ‘real time’ view of their employees’ experiences in terms of equity and inclusiveness. This provided in-depth insights into how their organisation is performing on DE&I in the eyes of its employees after which we highlighted areas of good practice and provided recommendations to take forward.

Creating, circulating, and gaining responses to the survey resulted in a true, data-driven diversity picture, which enabled Rare to sense check all decision-making and planning for the next stages of their inclusivity journey.

“Following the survey, we increased our level of awareness of how diverse we are as a company, and how people felt within the company. The results highlighted the areas where our employees felt that we were strong and whether they felt that we could improve as an employer.”


In the next stage, inclusion in facilitated several focus group discussions with carefully chosen cross-sections of the Rare Restaurants workforce. During the focus groups we discussed themes arising from the survey, including leadership and management, company culture and working practices. ‘Consistency of message’ and ‘words into action’ were identified as being at the heart of all future planning and change.

This stage also involved sessions with the Senior Leadership Team, which was a unique opportunity for participants to reflect on what had and had not worked well in the past, suggesting actions to accelerate their journey as allies and inclusive leaders.

“The main start point was understanding from a culture perspective, how engaged our people were, whether our values have been embedded into everything that we do from recruitment, assessments, development, communications. The focus groups discussion provided an immense insight.”


Leaders within Rare wanted to go beyond understanding the basics of DE&I and move towards positive action. The inclusion in team worked with them on a comprehensive programme which started with education, awareness, confidence, and commitment to action.

Through exploring the business imperative of making DE&I a strategic focus, the Programme also included a personal journey of learning from those with lived experience and from other business leaders’ experiences.

“You listen to amazing people and the adversity they’ve had to overcome to get where they are today. Then you look at your own workforce and start having conversations with diverse employees and say: ‘Tell me your story. How have you got here?’ All of a sudden, you become conscious that everybody’s had a journey, and it’s probably not been an easy journey.”


Together, we created an action plan from the list of recommendations which involved various types of training, systems and schedules of communication and plans for work-life balance. Leaders left with a good understanding of how DE&I objectives and top line strategies can be weaved together, having fully explored the ‘how’ as well as the ‘why’.

Through working with inclusion in and establishing a solid understanding of their employees’ personal journeys, Rare believes that the biggest impact is that everyone in the team now fully recognises the commitment of the Executive Team.

This has meant that employees are more open to challenging how senior leadership makes business decisions to ensure they are relevant to them and the company as a whole.

“The biggest output for myself on the Exec Team was starting a process of considerate leadership, where every decision we make now is sense checked against: ‘Is that an inclusive action? Will all of our workforce appreciate that decision, or actually, does it need to be a broader decision or a different decision or to reflect the diversity of our workforce, and to be truly inclusive?” Martin Williams, CEO.