Case Study With Caroline Boyle of Salamanca Restaurant
Caroline Boyle is the Owner/Managing Director of ‘Salmanca Tapas Bar and Restaurant’ and ‘Mexico to Rome’ in Dublin. Salamanca was founded in 2002 and was one of the first tapas bars in Ireland. A multiple award-winning restaurant, it is still at the top of the list for Spanish tapas in Dublin. Caroline took over as Managing Director of Mexico to Rome in 2013, after managing the restaurant for 12 years. Salamanca Tapas Bar and Restaurant also published ‘A Taste of Salamanca’ recipe book to celebrate its 15th year anniversary in 2017. ‘Salmanca Tapas Bar and Restaurant’ has 32 staff employed and ‘Mexico to Rome’ has 20 staff employed.
- Improving management capabilities and staff training
- Staff retention and turnover
- Business development and improving customer experience
Prior to joining the Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet, the training Salamanca and Mexico to Rome staff undertook was of a practical operational nature, as opposed to valuable business management or customer care training. Most of the training was internal, using in-house manuals and senior staff members training new staff from their own experience.
Offering training and development has helped Caroline retain high performing experienced staff and improve the overall working environment. The training Caroline participated in has allowed her to focus and manage the whole business in a more effective manner.
Caroline’s vision for upskilling her team was that staff across the business would learn new skills, so she could focus on long-term business development and delegate the day to day running of the restaurants to the team. The Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet provided access to tailored Restaurant Management and Customer Care Training courses which have improved overall productivity.
Caroline explains the importance of great customer experience for her restaurants “The customer is king, it’s that simple. We want our customers to have a great experience every time they visit one of the restaurants. Delivering a top-quality service is more important than ever, customers have a higher expectation than they did 20 years ago”.
- With better team leadership in place, the staff’s communication skills improved which had a positive effect on overall customer experience and retention.
- Staff retention has improved as staff value the investment in training. The positive working environment has meant key staff are more committed to staying on long-term.
- Overall productivity has increased as leadership and business planning processes have improved.
The training received from the Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet improved the overall working environment as head chefs learned new management skills that helped the kitchens run smoother. Key front of house staff returned from training invigorated, sharing ideas and positively impacting the atmosphere on the floor. This resulted in improved customer experience and sales.
Keeping long-term staff in the highly competitive Dublin restaurant industry can be difficult especially as external factors such as living costs and high rents have increased staff shortages. Key staff members value the training received as the courses have helped bring out their business and sales skills. The environment has become one of knowledge sharing and staff are more empowered to retain their own customers.
The development of a business plan as part of the Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet Management Development Programme, has allowed Caroline to focus more on business development as she has delegated the daily running of the restaurants. The training has helped Caroline think more laterally as she focuses on driving better business results.
Ultimately, Caroline believes that the tailored training the Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet provide has improved staff retention, her own leadership skills and overall business development.
Caroline says: “Running two restaurants is a huge commitment. Becoming a member of the Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet has been a win-win. The access to tailored training is invaluable for staff development and retention. Sitting down and taking the time to revisit my business plan has allowed me to step back and manage in a more effective manner. I plan on continuously upskilling my staff and myself, so we continue to learn new skills and grow the business.”