Our Managing Director, Shane McLave, featured in the latest edition of Drinks Industry Ireland magazine discussing the importance of investing in staff. Highlighting that while offering an extensive package is crucial for the success of your business, providing training is equally important in order to retain your employees.

It really doesn’t matter how fantastic a Bar, Restaurant or Hotel you have, and it doesn’t matter how many millions you invest in cutting edge design, out of this world locations, great menus, and cocktails, if you neglect to invest in your team and empower them to excel as the finest in their field, then everything else becomes inconsequential.

I’ve been involved with the hospitality industry since the age of 16, starting my journey in kitchens as a Kitchen Porter and progressing to the role of Head Chef. Eventually, I transitioned into the field of recruitment, where I acquired extensive insights into various facets of the industry. This journey was fueled by my experience working with renowned brands nationwide and connecting great people with outstanding companies.

In recent years, as unemployment rates have reached historic lows, the landscape of job offers has significantly expanded when it comes to potential employers vying for candidates. We’ve witnessed a notable shift where individuals are no longer solely driven by the highest salary but are instead making decisions based on the overall package offered. This package now includes an array of benefits, such as health insurance, additional annual leave, mental health days, extended sick leave, pension plans, car allowances, tax-saving travel options, signing bonuses, loyalty rewards, flexible work hours, remote and hybrid work arrangements, gym memberships, complimentary meals, provided uniforms, social club memberships, accommodation assistance or allowances, and job-sharing options, among others. Despite this myriad of enticing perks, one of the most frequently asked questions I encounter from candidates is centered around the training opportunities and prospects for career advancement. In summary, while offering an extensive package is crucial for the success of your hospitality business, providing top-notch training is equally essential and holds significant importance for the individuals you bring on board.

A big part of what we do in Excel Recruitment revolves around supporting and promoting the hospitality industry and one of the many ways we do this is through sponsoring and judging awards. Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to embark on an incredible journey across Ireland, exploring a diverse range of Bars, Hotels, Spas, and Restaurants. After meticulously visiting and thoroughly evaluating each property, our panel of judges convenes to meticulously review every entry, scrutinising the scores and deliberating extensively to determine the overall winners. Our panel of judges comprises an extensive spectrum of industry experts, encompassing lecturers from leading Hospitality Colleges, seasoned Hotel General Managers, accomplished Recruiters, seasoned Professional Food Critics, and a cadre of industry professionals. Some of these individuals boast a lifetime of experience in managing some of the most renowned establishments in Ireland.

Throughout my years of judging various establishments, I’ve encountered quite a diverse range of experiences. Among them, there have been numerous winners, but what stands out is the element of surprise. There have been instances where I entered with certain expectations, only to have my opinions completely transformed. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the single most influential factor in shaping my judgment has consistently been the staff I encountered and interacted with.

I’ve visited opulent five-star hotels and high-end bars where the surroundings were truly breath-taking, yet the service provided was nothing short of disappointing, resulting in an overall unpleasant experience. Conversely, I’ve ventured into places that were initially unfamiliar or appeared rather average, only to be blown away by the level of service and the engaging personalities of those who interacted with me. In such cases, I had no option but to bestow upon them the highest possible ratings.

One of my favourite places that I discovered during my judging duties, has now become my go to destination during my leisure time. My initial interaction was memorable for all the wrong reasons – a waiter inadvertently spilling my drink on my dinner, which subsequently fell onto me. However, it was the remarkable handling of this situation that truly impressed me.

We all understand that things can go smoothly when all is well, but the real measure of success lies in how challenges are navigated and turned around. In essence, no matter how many millions you invest in a venue, it pales in comparison if the staff aren’t genuinely content in their roles and equipped to skilfully manage every circumstance. True excellence stems from the people who make it happen.

If you’re looking for hospitality training, you can visit our sister company websites futureprooftraining.ie or  irishbaristaacademy.ie for more information.

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