Laura O'Dwyer is certainly a motivated young entrepreneur, who on May 1st launched her new consultancy specialising in the hospitality sector – Master Hospitality.
This is a truly unique endeavour, particularly in the Irish market, which is a reflection of the years of experience that she has accrued to date, giving her invaluable insight into the area. The execution of the project, which only began in February this year, is quickly gathering steam. Working at her own family run business since the age of 14, she also have qualifications in Event Management from DKIT & a CIPD Human resources degree, and has worked in management for renowned establishments such as the Shelbourne Hotel by Marriott and the Conrad by Hilton.
After working in nearly every department hotels have to offer over the course of her years in hospitality, It was in the Conrad that she discovered her passion as the roll of training coordinator or, as she explained “Instilling love and passion into employees and creating a sense of community in a company”. When illness forced her to leave her position, this organically became an area that she wished to explore further.
“I had so much experience in quality audits for Fáilte Ireland, AA, Marriott and Hilton; I wanted to use this experience for my next career venture and so Master Hospitality was born,” she explained. “I wanted to start my own training/consultancy business, bringing the high quality standards of hotels into small business around Ireland.”
Master Hospitality will provide all required training under the Health and Safety Act 2005 & General regulations 2007, such as risk assessments, fire safety, food safety and manual handling. Laura also aims to provide provide training and consultancy in areas such as brand recognition and quality audits. They will also conduct various hospitality employee training, including but not limited to, courses on cocktails, coffee, wine, craft beer, and of course, food services, which can be one on one training if required.
“We are passionate about performance and improving standards across the board,” Laura said when describing the business. “Our award-winning hospitality professionals offer one to one training packages to develop young professionals into your business and the ever-evolving hospitality industry.”
The unique nature of this professionally tailored business cannot be overlooked either, as “Our methods are very flexible; we can come to you or you can visit our site”. They also provide quarterly reviews to tackle the high turnover of staff in the industry, ensuring that the business is always covered.
“As we offer such a variety of training, we have packages to suit any business and any budget,” said Laura, reinforcing the unique selling point and refreshing flexibility in its approach to meeting the needs of businesses in the hospitality sector.
Laura wants to cut out the high cost of training for businesses. “Most companies pay fortunes for HACCP and manual handling certs, only for the employee to leave a month later,” she said. “I want to cut that cost for the Irish hospitality industry.”
Master Hospitality will also provide HACCP (level 2) in conjunction with manual handling on the same day, which is a service not available in Ireland. The business is all about personal service and Laura stated that they will develop training programmes based on your individual staff and their learning abilities to ensure they all get the best from training. They are careful and considerate with each of their clients in order to give them the best possible service, as she states: “We take time to understand your brand and who is working for you and ensure they love working for you”.
Apart from companies who need reasonable and convenient manual handling and HACCP certificates for employees, plenty in the hospitality sector can gain from the services that Master Hospitality offers. Businesses that could benefit from the services provided include new businesses that wish to build a brand within the Irish hospitality sector or start off on the right foot, any business that wants to enhance their service standards, build their brand and increase their online presence with sites such as TripAdisor and even recruitment agencies and colleges within the hospitality sector. Laura also wants to help any businesses that wish to receive an award from Fáilte Ireland or AA, and with their highly experienced and award winning staff she is confident that this is something that they can achieve.
“I want to provide five star training standards to the smaller hospitality businesses who have the potential but just not the guidance,” she continued. “There is no one in the hospitality industry providing personalized consultancy and brand development for all businesses, regardless of their size, location or product. I believe with the right training and passion you can become the best at what you do.”
Currently Laura is building up her contacts and looking to expand links with other qualified professionals. She is already working with Up to Code Solutions for health and safety training. She plans to also set up a social media campaign to attract professionals in areas such as bartenders, mixologists, baristas and sommeliers to join her team. The calibre of professionals that she wishes to attract is very high, however, as they must have a minimum of three years’ experience in a five star brand and have been nominated, completed or received an award in the area of their respected field.
There will not be a typical day for Laura in Master Hospitality, due to the variety of services they will supply for very different customers. “At the start I will be conducting a lot of manual handling and HACCP classes,” she stated, as she will build on the brand training element over time in the business. Laura has also already secured a contract with a recruitment agency, Connect Opps, to certify all hospitality staff both qualifications so that companies will not have to worry about hiring unqualified staff. There are already currently 400 people registered with the agency.