Chef Academy Level 2 Graduation

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The final day of BaxterStorey /Brook Foods Chef Academy Level 2 took place last Friday 1st September. We were delighted to co-fund the development and pilot of this programme through out FD Co Creation funding.

Congratulations to the students who graduated! 🎓

🎓Alexander Melayil John

🎓Fernando Medeiros

🎓Humberto Santos

🎓Isabella Recchia

🎓Javkhlan Jamsran

🎓Patrick Fidelis

🎓Peter Nolan

🎓Paula Barrett

🎓Rachel Betts

🎓Shane Dowling

With Special Congratulations to Paula for winning ‘Chef of Year’!

They worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months, and demonstrated great proficiency and dedication in their learning and upskilling.

This programme focused on the following key topics: Basic Cookery, Supplier/Producer Visit, Bakery, Finance, Nutrition, Health & Safety, Practical Cookery, Foraging, Menu Design & Marketing.

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet wishes all the graduates the very best in their future career development.

Click button below to view short video!

Restaurant & Hospitality Skills for the Unemployed Killarney 2023

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This Monday, was the final day of our Restaurant & Hospitality Skills programme. This programme was delivered as part of the Skills Connect Initiative.

The programme ran over 15 days from 19th June to 11th July and was delivered by our expert industry trainer, Fiona Dunne of Hospitality Skills Ireland.

Upon completion of this course all learners are now able to:

✅Demonstrate the daily tasks of restaurant and hospitality staff
✅Greet a guest and respond to their needs
✅Apply food hygiene standards in the workplace
✅Apply manual handling standards in the workplace
✅List basic food and beverage terminology
✅Perform the daily tasks of restaurant and hospitality staff including serving food and drink and handling customer complaints

At the final session, participants were presented with Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet Certificates of Completion. Check out photos below of participants receiving their certs!

Congratulations to the participants! Best wishes for your future!

Special thanks to Randles Hotel Killarney for hosting our training sessions and Bernadette Cahill, Intreo Killarney & Marie Harte, Intreo Cork for their collaboration. 

Our next Restaurant & Hospitality Skills for the Unemployed course will be taking place in Kilkenny this September! 

Customers Want to Connect – Best Ways for You to Communicate with Your Customers

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Customers are a key part to having a successful business, therefore you want to be able to communicate efficiently with them to build relationships, resolve conflicts and identify needs. This blog will discuss different methods to connect with your customers and the many benefits of doing so.

Image: Craft Business Magazine

Keep It Personal

Making your communication more personal is a great way to build relationships with your customers. Make them feel that they are more than just another customer/sale by asking them their names, remembering repeat customers orders, asking how their days going and give them a friendly complement. This can help customers to feel more connected to your company and may increase repeat custom. It will also create a more friendly and welcoming atmosphere for your customers and you! (10 Effective Ways to Connect with Your Customers –

Social Media

Although it may seem like the obvious one, its important to remember its not enough to just have a social media account, you need to be actively engaging with it. You can start simple with this! Choose someone within your organization (you or someone else) to start sharing posts from your workday once or twice a week. If you work in a restaurant, you can post videos of the chefs or baristas in action. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple post, some videos of people making coffee on TikTok have millions of views.

Social media can help you better your organizations customer service and connect with your customers in a quick and informal way. By responding to messages, questions and resolving any issues here quickly it shows your customers you care about what they have to say and are listening to them.

Social media can also help you to give your business more of a personality. By sharing posts, you think are funny and match your brand, you can remind customers its more than just a company, it’s a place with real people involved. This can make customers feel more connected to your business.

Image: Pizza

Communicating With the Rude Customer

This is something that’s unavoidable in every customer orientated business. No matter how much hard work you put in, somethings will go wrong and that’s okay! Not every customer is going to be a happy customer so as long as you know how to communicate and connect with an unhappy customer, you’re doing a good job.
Let them talk, its important to let them communicate their issue to you and makes them feel heard, show your invested in what they are saying and apologise if necessary. Resolve their issue to the best of your ability and once that’s done remind yourself you have done everything you can do and take a moment to clear your head as to not let it impact your mood or your other customers experiences with your business.

Ask For Feedback

Asking your customers for their feedback shows them that you value their opinions and that you want to keep on making continuous improvements for your business. Asking for feedback can happen in 2 ways, informally or formally/structured.

To receive some quick informal feedback, for example in a café/restaurant, ask your customers how their experience was and if they have enjoyed their food/coffee. This shows your customers you are taking an interest in them and their experience and may make them feel more valued.

For a more structured type of feedback, reach out to your customers after their experience with you has ended. You can post polls or questioners to your social media accounts or reach out to your customers directly if their contact information is something you have obtained from their experience. This type of feedback may offer you a more in dept insight into their experience, issues, opinions, and suggestions.

Most importantly don’t forget to act on the feedback you receive! There may not be a need to make drastic changes to your company based on customer feedback, but implementing small changes could possibly help your business for the better and show your customers you value them and their opinions.


Useful Skillnet Training Courses, Podcasts, Videos & Links:

Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet Courses:

Helpful Podcasts:

  • Ethan at BombBomb: The Customer Experience Podcast (On Spotify)
  • Customer Success Talks: Real Challenges, Expert Advice (On Spotify)

Quick Reading Links:

Helpful Videos:

Restaurant & Hospitality Skills Programme for the Unemployed – Information Session Killarney June 2023

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Last Friday, the Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet travelled to Killarney, Co. Kerry to deliver an information session to potential applicants for the Restaurant & Hospitality Skills Programme 

he network will be running this 15-day programme from 19th June to 7th July. This programme will equip jobseekers with the essential knowledge and skills to begin their career within the industry. 

The programme covers: 

Restaurant & Bar Skills 

Customer Service 

CV Prep & Interview Skills 

Food Hygiene & Manual Handling 

Food & Beverage Practical  

Guest Speakers 

This programme includes work experience, where the learners will get firsthand experience within the industry to prepare them for future employment after successful completion of the course. 

The programme will be delivered by industry expert trainer, Fiona Dunne of Hospitality Skills Ireland who possesses 28 years’ experience in the hospitality sector. 

It was a fantastic turnout with great interest from those in attendance. We are excited for the weeks ahead! 

Special thanks to Bernadette Cahill, Intreo Killarney and Marie Harte, Intreo Cork for their collaboration. 

What is customer service and why is it important for you?

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Customer service is a key aspect of having your hospitality business run smoothly, but in order to have this, we must first be able to differentiate between customer service and hospitality. Hospitality is about creating a welcoming atmosphere where your guests feel comfortable and can relax. Customer service is about taking extra steps to provide assistance and support to your guests, making their experience with your business easier (Hospitality V Customer Service: what is the difference?). This includes anything from showing customers at a restaurant to their table, to resolving any issues or complaints efficiently.

Why is customer service so important? It’s important as when done properly, it will attract new customers to your business, can increase volume of repeat customers, generate positive word of mouth and leave a good lasting impression! (Hospitality V Customer Service: what is the difference?).

How to provide great customer service:

Predicting Customer’s Needs

You will never be able to predict all of your customer’s needs, however, being able to predict a few of the most common needs of customers will ensure their experience runs smoothly. Examples of this can include anything from providing water to tables in a restaurant without being asked, to providing commonly used items in a hotel room such as toothbrush, face clothes, menus and robes. A little bit goes a long way so be sure to show your customers you are thinking about them and their needs before they have even arrived to create a great lasting impression (Making guests feel welcome with hotel customer service).

Finding Out Who Your Customers Are

Identifying who your customers are and what they are looking for can help you provide great customer service. By finding out your customers names, you will be able to provide them with a more personal experience, making the customer feel more valued. This can also be done through asking your customers the right questions. For example in a booking form, by asking the purpose of a visit (e.g., work party, anniversary, birthday) to a restaurant or hotel, this can help you to know what type of experience it is they are looking for and provide better customer service (Making guests feel welcome with hotel customer service).

Thank You/Feedback

Make sure your customer service doesn’t stop when guests leave to show you really care. You can do this by sending a thank you message to your guests to show you appreciate them and ask for any feedback. Listening to this feedback and making any necessary changes will allow for a better customer experience in the future.

Customer Service Training For Staff

When a customer has a question, they won’t always know who is the right person to ask, because of this, it is vital that all staff know how/are able to lend them a helping hand. Keep reading to find out more on this topic.

Great skills to teach your staff to help them provide good customer service:

Your team is a vital part of providing great customer service, therefore its important they are trained in the right areas to be able to do so. Below are some useful skills you can teach your staff to help them become better equipped in the area of customer service:

Listening and communications skills

Learn how to identify customer needs

Positive work attitude

Become more knowledgeable about your business/what your selling

Be able to provide knowledgeable recommendations on products or services of the business

Knowing how to build a positive relationship with customers

(12 Most Important Customer Service Skills in Retail)

Useful Skillnet Customer Service Training Courses, Podcasts & Links:

The following information will help you gain a further understanding of customer service in the hospitality industry through courses, podcasts and quick reading links!

Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet Courses:

Customer service – Delight & Upsell 27th September or 17th October 2023

Helpful Podcasts:

The Modern Customer Podcast by Blake Morgan

Experience This! by Joey Coleman & Dan Gingiss

The Intuitive Customer Podcast by BeyondPhilosophy

Frank Reactions by Tema Frank

Quick Reading Links:

‘Hospitality vs customer service: what is the difference?’ Available at:

‘Making guests feel welcome with hotel customer service’ Available at:

’12 Important Customer Service Skills in Retail and How To Teach Them to Your Team’ Available at:

‘The importance of customer service in the hospitality industry’ Available at:

Retention, Engagement and Morale

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Employee Retention

(Toner Buzz)

Employee retention is an organisations ability to keep staff within a organisation and reduce their turnover. Benefits of having high retention to an organisation are cost reduction, morale improvement, experienced employees and improved work culture (10 Benefits of Employee Retention for Businesses)

How to increase employee retention:

Methods of increasing employee retention include offering competitive benefits. This will make employees think of the organisation more positively and act as an incentive for them to stay working in the organisation. Examples of benefits are holiday time, work events/staff bonding days, perks such as food & drink, and flexible hours allowing for a work-life balance.

Offering training and development opportunities. If people see an opportunity to advance within your organisation, they will be less likely to look for it elsewhere. By offering upskilling and advancement opportunities employee retention may increase.

By providing recognition for good work and constructive feedback on how to make changes to work if necessary, staff will feel more valued in the workplace and will be more likely to stay working there.

(What is Employee Retention? Everything You Need to Know)

Employee Engagement

(5 Powerful Steps To Improve Employee Engagement)

Employee engagement examines how connected people are to their organisation and how motivated they are to do their work to the best of their ability and stay working within the organisation. Benefits of employee engagement are higher productivity, lower absenteeism, higher customer satisfaction and lower employee retention.

How to increase employee engagement:

Motivating and challenging work: Employees will be more engaged and motivated if they are doing work that utilities their strengths and gives them the opportunity to develop new skills

Having a good leader: Having a leader that supports and inspires their team is vital to good employee engagement as people will become more invested in their work and engaged with the company.

(What is Employee Engagement? What, Why and How to Improve it).

Employee Morale

Employee morale is the attitudes and outlooks employees within a business have. It’s important to have good employee morale so it does not impact your employee retention, productivity and engagement levels (Employee Moral: Definition, Affecting Factors, and How to Boost Morale).

Common causes of low employee morale in the work places are poor communication between management and employees, internal changes that lead to job anxiety (e.g., layoffs) and poor leaders who do not support their teams (15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale).

Keep reading to learn different ways to boost morale in your organisation!

How to boost employee morale:

A method to boost employee morale in the workplace is to promote diversity. Bringing together a diverse group of people will bring together a wider range of ideas, skills, and experiences that will boost morale by making the workplace more enjoyable and creative.

Allowing more short and regular breaks can refresh your employees and may result in them being more relaxed, productive and using their time more efficiently. It will also allow for more socialization in the workplace making it a friendlier place and boosting morale.

Teamwork promotes collaborative work and new ideas. Incorporating more of this into your organisation may improve production and give your employees a break from doing the same tasks everyday making them more invested in work.

(15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale)

Useful Skillnet Engagement, Retention and Morale Training Courses, Podcasts & Links:

The following information will help you gain a further understanding on employee engagement, retention and morale in the hospitality industry through courses, podcasts and quick reading links!

Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet Courses:

Retention, Engagement and Morale 5th September. More information at:

Communicating for Performance 7th June. More information at:

Helpful Podcasts:

The Gap: Perspectives on Employee Retention with Clint Pulver

Engaging People Podcast by decisionwise

How To Boost Employee Morale With Simple Changes To Your Workspace by Biz Bros Podcast

Quick Reading Links:

‘10 Benefits of Employee Retention for Businesses’ found at:

‘Increasing recruitment and retention with the 4 pillars of employee engagement’

‘How to improve employee engagement with 10 simple ideas’

‘Employee Morale: Definition, Affecting Factors, and How to Boost Morale’

‘What is Employee Retention? Everything You Need to Know’

’15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale’

Network Collaboration

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Hospitality Courses 2023

County Wexford Chamber Skillnet and Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet are working together to provide subsidised and relevant training to meet the skills gap needs of Hospitality Provider within the Southeast Region.


Higher Certificate in Hospitality Management Studies – 35% Funded
Schedule: Starting September Annually
This is a two-year day release course in Hospitality Management
Studies which provides opportunities for individuals who wish to
pursue a career in management in the hospitality industry. It is aimed
at complementing the practical experience gained by individuals
working in the industry, with an academic focus in college.
Qualification: Higher Certificate, progression opportunities into Higher
Institution: TU Dublin
Delivery: Online with 2 evenings a month on campus in Dublin

Emerging Hospitality Managers Management Development Programme
Schedule: May/September/November
This 5-week Programme will provide emerging and/or new
managers with the skills and knowledge to significantly improve
people management skills and develop and deploy proven business
disciplines such as think and act collaboratively with fellow managers
for the overall benefit of the hotel and the full team. The programme
consists of 5 modules.
Qualification: QQI Level 5 Team working Skills
Institution: LEAP Leadership
Delivery: Online with 3 weekly 90 minute sessions for 5 weeks


Standard Operating Procedures for Food & Beverage (up to 10 staff)
Delivery: eLearning completed at any time
Duration: Approx. 6 hours
Accreditation: Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet Certificate of Completion
The eLearning Standard Operating Procedures training programme is suitable for those who are working in or are new to the restaurant/hospitality setting and are looking upskill in the standard operating procedures.

Professional Kitchen Management
Delivery: Online, run monthly pending demand
Duration: 1 day
Designed by chefs for chefs and/or owner managers, this one-day intensive workshop will guide you through all areas of kitchen management fundamentals.
By the end of this course, learners will be able:
1. To know how to effectively price and design profitable menus
2. To understand wastage, tax and margin pricing
3. To understand the different allergens
4. To calculate labour cost effectiveness

Applying Lean in Food & Beverage
Delivery: Online, run monthly pending demand
Duration: 3 hours
This webinar will give the participants a good basic understanding of how LEAN and Six Sigma can be applied in a food and beverage setting. Throughout this webinar learners will be provided with many practical examples which they can implement within the business.

We are constantly adding to our training schedule.

Click button below to access full brochure.

Any questions? Contact us on

Proud Sponsors of Irish Restaurant Awards 2023

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We are delighted to announce that we are proud sponsors of this year’s Irish Restaurant Awards. This is the 14th year of the Awards and we look forward to celebrating the best of Irish Hospitality in 2023.

The Network Manager, Naimh O’Malley, has attended the awards launch on Thursday 12th January  in Locks Restaurant, Dublin.

Nominations for this years awards can now be made via from 12 noon, Thursday 12th until 12 noon, Thursday 26th January 2023.

As with previous years the Irish Restaurant Awards process begins with an online public vote hosted via the Irish Times. This is followed by the judging process of National Experts, followed by Regional Events in the four provinces at which County Winners will be announced, a Dublin Shortlist and culminating in the All-Ireland Irish Restaurant Final.

Paul Lenehan, President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland commented at the Launch; “The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to recognize excellence within the Irish hospitality industry. These awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs and hospitality businesses and their talented staff year-round. Our Awards seek to highlight the overall high standards, passion & innovation present within Ireland’s food scene to ultimately celebrate the best of hospitality throughout the Island of Ireland”.

This year, there are 21 categories in which the general public can nominate. These categories are made up of 17 Main Award categories and 4 National Award categories and there are 2 brand-new award categories this year– Innovator of the Year and Learning & Development. We are delighted to be sponsoring the brand new Learning & Development category. We feel that many hospitality businesses excel in this area and have contributed to their staffs life long development and therefore, should be recognised for their efforts. Our Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet stand will be present at each regional event where we invite you to discuss your training and development needs with us and discuss how we can assist your business.

For more information on the Irish Restaurant Awards please visit:

Wishing the best of luck to all nominees in the coming weeks!

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet Team.

Wellbeing in the workplace

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Wellbeing in the workplace

People can spend up to a third of their waking hours at work, so it stands to reason that the workplace has a big impact on our physical and mental well-being.

The Importance Of Wellbeing in the workplace

Promoting employee wellbeing benefits both the organization and its employees. Stress may be avoided and productive workplaces where people can thrive are created by promoting wellbeing. A key enabler of employee engagement and organizational performance might be good health and wellness.(The importance of mental health in the Workplace)

Employers Support

It is important for employers to show that they genuinely care for the physical and mental well being of their employees and that they hold equal importance. This creates a safe and secure work environment for their employees which may significantly increase their general happiness in their day-today lives and their overall performance in the company. Employers should conduct regular check-in’s with their employees, one-to-one to establish their support.

Training programs should also be available to employees to emphasise that both their physical and mental wellbeing is a priority. “Headspace” is a great App that contains many courses beneficial for your employees overall mental and physical well being in the workplace. (Headspace, Headspace for work demo).(Headspace, Headspace for work demo)

As an employer its important also to monitor your employers to encourage them to open up. You can use numerous screening tools, like surveys and questionnaires, to ensure that your staff are content and healthy. This is a practical technique to make sure that your staff members are content and confident in themselves. (The importance of mental health in the Workplace).

As an employer it is also important to encourage a healthy balance between work, personal life and flexible working hours at work.

It’s crucial to be inclusive at work and to keep a positive business culture if you want to ensure that you are encouraging a happy workplace. Also encourage your employees to connect with their colleagues regularly.

Types of Wellbeing in the workplace

It is important to recognise the types of wellbeing to ensure that they are being maintained throughout the duration of your employment in a company. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Physical wellbeing

is about taking good care of your physical body so that you can function as efficiently as possible in your regular activities. Your mental health is significantly influenced by how physically you are feeling. Being physically healthy involves keeping an eye on your nutrition and exercise routine. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Emotional wellbeing

is about being conscious of our ideas, feelings, and how those things influence how we act. We can better respond to daily difficulties and demands by being conscious of our emotions and how they affect us. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Occupational wellbeing

is about having the opportunity to learn, advance, and grow in a secure, healthy, and supportive work environment, and feeling qualified and capable enough to carry out your day-to-day responsibilities. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Social and cultural wellbeing

Social wellbeing refers to your capacity for social interaction and the development of ties with others around you that help you in your daily life, extremely crucial for preserving good health, wellbeing, and a sense of community, as well as for feeling respected and cared for. Your cultural welfare has an effect on your social wellbeing as well. You experience this when you feel accepted and encouraged to openly express your unique differences. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Financial wellbeing

is understanding your finances and being able to balance, save, and spend money effectively and within your means in order to manage and plan your finances. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Environmental wellbeing

Having a secure and healthy work environment is crucial since your surroundings and interactions with them have an impact on your health and wellbeing. Your welfare depends critically on your ability to reduce risks and hazards and obtain the resources you need to do so. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

  1. Intellectual wellbeing

achieving both personal and professional fulfilment at work while retaining a sense of balance in our lives outside of work. It also entails developing your knowledge and abilities and taking part in imaginative and mentally challenging activities. (Minding your wellbeing programme)

Helpful Podcasts

Below are some helpful podcasts, that you can conveniently listen to whenever, wherever on Spotify and become educated on wellbeing in the workplace.

Training Programmes through RH Skillnet

Here at the Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet, we support workplace well being with onsite and public training courses to suit your needs. Contact us for more information

Contact us

  • Email:
  • Phone: 01 6779901


Network Learning & Development Strategy 2023 – 2025

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Network Strategy 2023 – 2025

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet are in the process of planning our 2023 – 2025 network strategy for submission for Skillnet Ireland funding later this year. This funding will allow us to continue developing and delivering learning and development activities and programmes for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Over the last 3 years we have developed and delivered a range of programmes and initiatives, including:

  • Food & Beverage Skills training
  • Customer Care training
  • Professional Kitchen Management
  • Management Development & Leadership Programmes
  • Positive Wellbeing
  • 3 levels of Certified Hospitality e-learning programmes
  • Restaurant & Hospitality Skills/ Rebrand Yourself programmes for Jobseekers
  • Digital Standard Operating Procedures
  • We are currently developing:
  • LEAN e-learning programme – Creating Continuous Improvements in F&B
  • Sustainability for Small Hospitality Business e-learning programme
  • Basic English Language course for hospitality
  • Research report focusing on attracting and retaining talent

Over the next 3 years we will continue to run a range of learning and development initiatives, including public courses, in company training, and workshops which will be delivered through different methods – in person, virtual and blended.  We will also continue to run our range of e-learning training programmes.

What do we need from industry? 

Working with industry over the coming weeks to determine the skills and knowledge needs of employers, employees and jobseekers will be vital for a successful application. We are looking to engage with industry members to discuss how we can help meet the training/learning and development needs of industry.

What do we need to know from industry? 

We need to know:

  • high-level trends, opportunities and threats facing industry
  • current skills gaps amongst employees
  • training courses and initiatives employers need for employees
  • training budgets and preferred method of delivery for training
  • additional resources industry need to attract and retain talent (research, frameworks, competency models)
  • future skills needs (digital, sustainability, SME leadership, workforce innovation)
  • what skills/knowledge new entrants to the sector need to have

How will we do this? 

We will be doing this through one to one calls with members, a number of focus groups and an online survey.

How can you be involved? 

  1. Complete our Training Needs Analysis here: 
  2. Register for our virtual Focus Groups on September 7th & 8th by emailing our Network Manager Niamh –

Contact us

  • Email:
  • Phone: 01 6779901