Spotlight Series: Damien Quinn from Kelly’s Hotel
- June 2, 2020
- Chef Spotlight
In today’s interview we chat with Kelly’s Hotel Head Chef, Damien Quinn…
FINDING AN OPPORTUNITY IN THE CRISIS
MLF: HOW DID YOU ADAPT SO QUICKLY TO TAKEAWAY ONLY? WHAT CHANGES DID YOU ADOPT?
Damien Quinn: “We were already doing a small amount of take away before COVID-19 hit the industry, so we luckily had a solid foundation to work off. We quickly reviewed what was already selling well in pick up, and already had packaging available, so it was really about scaling up, and quickly. We engaged our patrons via social media, with extra push through Facebook. Pickup was facilitated through our bottle shop drive through onsite and we kept it simple, hot food in a hot box and cold items in the fridge.
To keep everything safe we got rid of all plates and we brought in takeaway packaging only. The kitchen’s still preparing food in the same way, but with a focus on a menu that held well and, importantly, travelled well. Béchamel Sauce on the parma to improve how it travels and tastes.”
MLF: HOW MANY STAFF HAD YOU HAD WORKING DURING LOCKDOWN?
Damien Quinn: “We had 15 staff out of 20 in some form. Saturday nights saw service staff down by 7 people.”
MLF: HOW SUCCESSFUL HAS HOME DELIVERY AND TAKEAWAY BEEN DURING THE LOCKDOWN?
Damien Quinn: “Trade was back to 30-40% during complete lockdown, and we’re hopeful it will go back to normal as restrictions continue to ease.”
MLF: YOU’VE INTRODUCED FAMILY ISOLATION MEAL PACKAGES – HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE THESE BEEN AND WILL YOU BE KEEPING THEM IN FUTURE?
Damien Quinn: “Our family iso meal packages have been very popular. Our clients actually requested these, so we put them together as a package deal and we advertise them on our Facebook page.”
MLF: YOU’RE ALWAYS VERY ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND THE LOCKDOWN WAS NO DIFFERENT. WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND WORKS WELL ON SOCIAL THAT YOUR CUSTOMERS RESPOND TO?
Damien Quinn: “It’s actually our Manager who runs our Facebook page. We have a different and unique sense of humour, it’s our brand voice and it’s what attracts people to the page — it works for us.”
WORDS OF WISDOM
MLF: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER VENUES CONSIDERING DOING CLICK AND COLLECT AND HOME DELIVERY?
Damien Quinn: “You need to have something that people want, you must supply them what they want to buy, and also what others can’t supply them. You also need to make it easy for your customer and stick to what you do and do well. Even if your patrons aren’t dining onsite, you still need to give them a full experience, even if it’s via take away — from order to pick up, the packaging and the meal itself.”
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