One simply cannot argue with the fact that knowledge is indeed power when it comes to gaining a competitive edge in the hospitality sector. With that in mind, in 2014 Nicholas Power started De Paor Hospitality (pronounced ‘De Pwehair’ – the Irish for the surname Power), to provide high quality training to those working in the industry.
With 20 years’ experience in hotels and restaurants, Nicholas has a strong background and portfolio of knowledge in all aspects of the sector. He has worked in many five star hotels starting out in Adare Manor, and was also a manager in Sheen Falls Lodge, The Merrion Hotel, Richard Corrigans in London and the exclusive Connaught Hotel in London. Nicholas was also a manager in The Jameson Distillery, Dublin, and a brand ambassador for Tullamore Dew and William Grant’s full whiskey portfolio.
His further studies in hospitality management and business studies in GMIT, along with marketing sales, social media marketing and project management, demonstrate the depth of skills Nicholas and De Paor Hospitality (DPH) can share with businesses, providing all the up-to-date training they require.
When DPH was set up 7 years ago, Nicholas ensured the business had highly skilled trainers available from the very start. “We have myself and two other trainers in the business”, said Nicholas, “both of my other two trainers have also worked in a number of high-profile five-star hotels and venues all holding food and beverage management positions, making us all diverse and dynamic trainers.” DPH is primarily a hospitality training business model, however in 2016, live music and entertainment bookings for venues were added to the business. DPH also acts as a food and beverage service consultancy and assists with menu design and planning. The chef consultancy element of the business is headed up by a former head chef of Marco Pierre White.
Over the years, DPH has worked with notable high-profile clients such as Diageo, Deloitte, Fenergo and Linkedin, as well as providing music and entertainment for many hotels including The Shelbourne, Fitzwilliam, Conrad hotels, The K Club, Carton House, Mount Juliet, Ely Restaurants and the Guinness Storehouse.
Training courses provided include customer care, upselling and service recovery, as well as beverage specific modules such as cocktail, wine and whiskey masterclasses. Mandatory training such as basic food hygiene and manual handling are also covered. The agency also provides ongoing cocktail masterclass training for LCETB college in Limerick. Recognising that time is of the essence in this industry, Nicholas stated that most courses are short and carried out onsite at the venue itself. “It’s a burst or snapshot of hospitality knowledge displayed in all our courses”, Nicholas stated. “Usually two to four hours long – any more and focus is lost”.
So why is ongoing training so important in hospitality? Nicholas believes that training is often last on the list when it comes to the annual budget. However, strong product knowledge leads to better customer service as “we enjoy being served by consistently good staff”. This in turn, not only leads to increased sales through upselling, but also to sales retention through customer satisfaction. A happy customer is always more likely to spread positive experiences with their friends, on social media and review sites like TripAdvisor, which will result in a positive impact on the venue’s bottom line. Nicholas states “If you genuinely believe you cannot improve on the previous night’s service then you should probably get out of hospitality, as we have to constantly improve and evolve with the consumers ever changing needs and industry trends, either that or get left behind”.
Offering vibrant, dynamic trainers with industry knowledge from a customer, employee, manager and owner perspective, gives De Paor Hospitality a unique training advantage, and sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience is the core focus of their business model. “This is vital as we have up-to-date knowledge and examples of what customers look for and their expectations”, Nichloas explained. “We have 40 years combined industry experience between all the trainers, so it’s a serious pool of knowledge.”
In terms of quantifiable results, past students of De Paor Hospitality courses have gone on to work across a wide range of roles in hotels, bars and restaurants. Many businesses also noted significant improvement within their team and service following their training.
As hospitality outlets across Ireland await the next Government announcement on Covid-19 guidelines, now is the time to upskill staff and prepare for the reopening of the sector. A well-trained team will enhance the customer service experience and ensure repeat business when hospitality venues are permitted to open to the public once again.