staff training

The importance of good staff training

Our Managing Director, Shane McLave featured in Drinks Industry Ireland to explain how the small details in hospitality can make or break the customer experience, which is why it’s vital to invest in staff training

When it comes to pouring the perfect pint of Guinness, as a nation we are extremely critical and rightly so as it is our national drink and no one wants to see it being poured too quickly with a bishop’s collar or running down the outside of the glass. The basics are important to the whole experience and must be right or the drink will be sent right back by any self-respecting stout aficionado.

So why is it when it comes to another hugely popular drink, the gin and tonic, we so frequently get it so wrong?

The answer is simple; we need to invest in training people. So what are we doing wrong and what should we be doing differently? Let’s start with the ice; a perfect G&T should have four large cubes in it but scrapping out the bucket with loads of tiny shards will result in a watery drink. The ice should also be put into the glass first to both cool the glass and prevent the gin from being bruised or cloudy as can happen when the ice is dropped into warm gin as opposed to being poured over ice. The next critical step is to have the correct tonic. With over 70 Irish gins alone as well as 20 or so gins from other locations it is foolish to have just one tonic to pick from as some just simply clash with the gins and become flavourless or cancel each other out. Perhaps the most important thing that can be done to improve quality is to chill your mixers as this will do two things; it will reduce the time that it takes for the ice to melt and water down your drink and it will keep the drink carbonated for longer as room temperature mixers will go flatter quicker.

The style of glass and garnish will always come down to personal taste. My own favourite is An Dulman Irish Maritime Gin with regular Schweppes tonic water served in a copa with a slice of dried lime but if the correct processes are followed then no matter what combination people ask for, quality should be assured.

Junior staff knowledge gap

The workforce has changed since Covid and the industry needs to be mindful that junior bar staff may not have the same knowledge and expertise of more senior staff as they are just starting out in the hospitality industry.

Many bar staff are working part time while planning other careers outside of hospitality. With this in mind and the higher than ever turnover in staff, it is more important than ever that training and upskilling are done on a daily basis so the customer experience is a good one. One or two poor comments on the likes of Instagram or Facebook can so quickly go viral and be extremely damaging to any establishment when it comes to hard fought for clientele.

If you don’t have the knowledge base in your current team that can implement daily training of staff then perhaps a monthly masterclass would suit better and there are several places you can go for this such as your wine and spirits distribution company or onsite training specialists like Future Proof Training, that can come on site or train in a classroom setting in areas such as HACCP and manual handling, upselling and customer service, barista skills, introduction to wine and essential bar. Check out for more information.

You can check out this feature in the Drinks Industry Ireland magazine here

Restaurant Awards

Ireland’s best restaurant for 2019 revealed

Members of Excel Recruitment’s hospitality team were delighted to attend last night’s 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards in Dublin’s Clayton Hotel. The big winners on the night were of an incredibly high calibre and shining examples of the exceptional standards in the Irish food industry.

Loam in Galway city took the crown as Ireland’s restaurant of the year 2019. The Michelin-starred dining room and wine bar opened in 2014 and differentiates itself with its strong sustainability ethos and by only using ingredients from the West of Ireland. It is owned and run by Enda McEvoy, who was voted best chef in Ireland at the awards in 2016. The best chef 2019 is Graham Neville of Dax Restaurant on Pembroke Street Upper, Dublin. Pub of the year is Doheny and Nesbitt, Baggot Street, with The Old Spot, Bath Avenue, Dublin, taking the gastro pub honours. The best newcomer national winner is Everett’s Restaurant in Waterford,

Run by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the awards are renowned for the high standards of the entrants and thorough selection process with a public vote, regional judging panels, a mystery guest visit, and a final assessment by the event’s National Awards Academy, comprising food writers, bloggers and culinary academics. This year saw more than 90,000 nominations were made by members of the public.

Congratulations from Excel Recruitment to all the very deserving winners, see the full list of winners below.


Best Restaurant

Dublin – Dax Restaurant

Connaught – Loam

Leinster – Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill

Munster – Wild Honey Inn

Ulster – OX

All Ireland – Loam

Best Chef

Dublin – Graham Neville of Dax Restaurant

Connaught – Barry Ralph of House of Plates

Leinster – Deirdre Adamson of The Fatted Calf

Munster – Peter Everett of Everett’s Restaurant

Ulster – Chris McGowan of Wine and Brine

All Ireland – Graham Neville of Dax Restaurant

Best Restaurant Manager

Dublin – Denise McBrien of The Old Spot

Connaught – Eva Ivanova of Sage

Leinster – Edwina Hynes of La Côte Seafood Restaurant

Munster – John Edward Joyce of The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge

Ulster – Saul McConnell of Noble

All Ireland – Eva Ivanova of Sage

Pub of the Year

Dublin – Doheny and Nesbitt

Connaught – V.J Doherty’s

Leinster – Hamilton’s Pub

Munster – Levis Corner House

Ulster – Coach House & Olde Bar

All -Ireland – Doheny and Nesbitt

Best Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurant

Dublin – The Saddle Room at The Shelbourne Hotel

Connaught – West Restaurant at the Twelve Hotel

Leinster – Brabazon Restaurant at Tankardstown House

Munster – Gregans Castle Hotel

Ulster – Newforge House

All Ireland – Gregans Castle Hotel

Best Newcomer

Dublin – Uno Mas

Connaught – Passione by the Slice

Leinster – Lily’s On Church Street

Munster – Everett’s

Ulster – Hara

All Ireland – Everett’s

Best Gastro Pub

Dublin – The Old Spot

Connaught – Bar One

Leinster – The Ballymore Inn

Munster – Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Kitchen

Ulster – Clenaghans

All Ireland – The Old Spot

Best Customer Service

Dublin – Luna

Connaught – Park House Hotel

Leinster – Lennons @ Visual

Munster – Ballyvolane House

Ulster – The Muddlers Club

All Ireland – The Muddlers Club

Best Casual Dining

Dublin – 777

Connaught – Hooked Sligo

Leinster – Truffles Restaurant and Wine Bar

Munster – Bodega

Ulster – The Olde Glen Bar, Restaurant and Tea Room

All -Ireland – 777

Best Wine Experience

Dublin – Green Man Wines

Connaught – Le Petit Pois

Leinster – Barrows Keep

Munster – The Black Pig

Ulster – OX

All Ireland – Green Man Wines

Best Kids Size Me

Dublin – Old Street Restaurant

Connaught – Shells Seaside Bakery and Café

Leinster – Tiffin by Sunil

Munster – No. 9 Café

Ulster – Oak Room Restaurant

All Ireland – Old Street Restaurant

Best World Cuisine

Dublin – 3 Leaves

Connaught – Spice India

Leinster – Pink Salt Indian Restaurant

Munster – Iyer’s

Ulster – Tuk Tuk Asian Bistro

All Ireland – 3 Leaves

Best Café

Dublin – Two Pups

Connaught – Connemara Greenway Café & Restaurant

Leinster – Knockdrinna Farm Shop & Artisan Café

Munster – Good Day Deli

Ulster – Dinkin’s Home Bakery & Café

All Ireland – Connemara Greenway Café & Restaurant

Best Free From

Dublin – Urbanity

Connaught – Drumanilra Farm Kitchen

Leinster – Zucchini’s Restaurant

Munster – Grow HQ

Ulster – The Olde Post Inn

All Ireland – Grow HQ

Local Food Hero

All -Ireland – Seán Hussey of Hussey & Sons Fruit & Veg

Dublin – Seán Hussey of Hussey & Sons Fruit & Veg

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine

Dublin – Forest & Marcy

Connaught – An Port Mór Restaurant

Leinster – Thyme Restaurant

Munster – No. 35 Restaurant

Ulster – Wine and Brine

All Ireland – No. 35 Restaurant

Best Digital Marketing

All -Ireland – Michael’s Mount Merrion

Best Cookery School

All -Ireland – The Neven Maguire Cookery School

Best Private Dining and Club Restaurant

All -Ireland – Stephens Green Hibernian Club

Best Seafood Experience

All-Ireland – Fish Shop, Benburb Street

Best Cocktail Experience

All -Ireland – The Tack Room at Adare Manor


Brexit Benefits for the Irish Hospitality Industry

And how Excel Recruitment are insuring we’re ahead of the curve..

By Excel Recruitment’s General Manager Shane McLave

Brexit and its many possibilities and uncertainties has been one of the main topics of conversation for Irish businesses’ since the ‘Leave’ campaign’s win last June. While it’s still unclear what exactly Brexit will look like, Excel Recruitment have already begun taking steps to capitalise on its potential.

Brexit is undoubtedly going to have a massive effect on Ireland. It’s impact is already being felt on our tourism and hospitality trade with visitor numbers from the UK falling this year on the back of weak sterling. However, Britain’s exit may well turn out to be a good thing with Tourism Ireland getting creative and pursuing new markets in North America, Australia and Asia. This hard work is already paying off with visitor numbers from North America up 23%, followed by Australia, up 16%.

In recruitment terms, Ireland has the potential to become a seriously attractive location for both employers and employees. Huge media attention has been given to the chaos Brexit will cause the British hospitality industry with both the British Hospitality Association and Pret a Manger earlier this year, saying it would take 10 years to replace EU hospitality staff after Brexit. (The Guardian, March 17) The number of nurses from other EU countries applying to work in English hospitals has fallen by 96% since the referendum. (The Guardian, March 17) At the risk of being unneighbourly, Britain’s loss could stand to be Ireland’s gain. Young EU nationals eager to travel and gain experience in an English speaking country may now look to Ireland, where the future concerning visas (the cost of which alone will act as a deterrent), working rights and travel are clear cut, to expand their horizons. Not knowing what Brexit will look like may also encourage top Irish talent to stay at home and build their careers here.

The same need for consistency also exists within international businesses based in the U.K. Many keen to maintain close ties with Europe and avoid the red tape and uncertainty of whatever Brexit will be, may begin to look to Ireland as a place to set up operations. By setting up camp in Ireland, multi-national companies’ gain an English speaking workforce with a similar outlook, culture, laws and way of doing things while still benefiting from everything that comes with working within the EU. Ireland is 15 times smaller than Britain so it goes without saying gaining even a fraction of this FDI would make a massive difference.

Indeed, many corporations have already made the move. At least a dozen London city banks have already begun the process of moving some of their operations to Dublin with JP Morgan building a 22-storey tower on the south of the river Liffey and adding to their 500 employees here. (The Irish Times, July 17) This can only be a good thing for the Irish economy with more jobs, more people and more opportunities.

Excel Recruitment have continued to be proactive and stay ahead of the curve. We have actively begun recruiting within the UK and beyond. In recent months, we have placed a number of quality candidates from the UK in roles with our clients and we have seen our database of UK candidates increase dramatically. These candidates come from all sections and levels of the hospitality industry and are all looking to make a move into Ireland and begin working with our top-class clients.