Ireland Guide

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What Are The Secrets of Success in Food and Hospitality?

Having travelled the country for many years seeking out the best of Irish food and hospitality to recommend to readers of our guides, we’re often asked for advice from businesses on how they can make improvements (preferably without spending a fortune!), how they can gain recognition for their efforts through reviews – and, most of all perhaps, how they can win awards.

As an independent guide we’ve never felt able to report back to establishments about our visits, or to offer consultancy. We’ve always tried to raise standards through highlighting the best – in the positive reviews that we publish, and through our annual awards.

But, useful and encouraging as it is, highlighting excellence is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sharing the customer-focused knowledge that we gain on our travels, and we know that our observations would be invaluable to owners and managers who want to do things better and get the credit for it (in terms of both recognition and profit).

So we’re delighted to have joined up with leading hospitality training and mentoring experts, Conor Kenny & Associates, to offer a practical Business Development Programme, in which we will be able to share information that has not been available before, and so help businesses to make vital improvements through seeing things from the customer perspective.

In order to achieve best results through this innovative programme, places are strictly limited.

This 6 Day programme will be held at a number of venues around the country, beginning on Tuesday 11th February, at The Marker, Dublin and ending on Thursday 29th May at The Merrion Hotel, Dublin.

Click here to view a video about the course or to register your interest or for bookings please contact Linda Halpin on 01 663 3685

The following information, released to the press this week, outlines the plan and further detail is available from ourselves or Conor Kenny & Associates (see end of release).

*Press Release*

Georgina Campbell’s ‘Falling Standards’ Wake Up Call Inspires New Hospitality Business Development Initiative

“Our tourism numbers are up, but how is our service?” is one of the key questions being asked by leading food and hospitality authority Georgina Campbell.

Georgina, who has promoted higher standards in Irish food and hospitality for many years, notably through the independent, customer-focused assessment and awards programmes for her respected Georgina Campbell’s Ireland guides, is concerned that we may be letting ourselves down in crucially important aspects of our hospitality industry, just when visitor numbers are growing again – and we need to be at our best.

Areas of particular concern, according to Ms Campbell, include tired furnishings – “not only general tattiness like worn upholstery and frayed carpets but, more seriously, also basic comforts, such as mattresses and bedding long overdue for replacement” – and lack of engagement from poorly motivated staff with inadequate training.

On the upside, Ms Campbell notes encouraging trends in Irish food. “Provenance is king to the well informed diner and it is pleasing to see Bord Bia’s ‘Just Ask’ initiative yielding results, with many chefs now proud to champion local producers on their menus.”

“But,” warns Ms Campbell, “Many a good kitchen is let down front of house and poor service is an issue in too many establishments of all types, so proprietors urgently need to understand the value of investing in staff training.”

Encouraged by the strength of public recognition that followed her comments on falling standards at the Guide’s 2014 Awards, Ms Campbell feels she can no longer continue to observe this worrying situation from the sidelines, and she has now taken the initiative to help fill the need for training and increased customer-awareness.

So today, along with leading learning, development and business mentoring company Conor Kenny & Associates, Georgina is delighted to announce an exciting new learning and development programme, which will help Irish tourism to reach its potential by assisting hospitality businesses to learn, develop and prosper, often through becoming more customer-aware.

The initiative is a specially developed six day Business Development Programme held over four months, with courses led by Georgina herself, Conor Kenny, and industry experts on his team. Held in venues chosen to demonstrate best practice, it is the only programme of its kind, combining the experience of a respected independent food & travel writer and opinion former, and the expertise of facilitators who can give practical, immediately implementable advice on management, branding, PR and much more.

Both companies (Georgina Campbell Guides/Conor Kenny & Associates) believe that raising standards in Irish food and hospitality is achievable through growing individual talent, learning and development – and, most importantly, giving businesses the expertise to improve quickly, measurably and effectively in a post-recession Ireland.

Commenting on the new Business Development Programme and Collaboration with Conor Kenny & Associates, Georgina Campbell said:We are often asked for advice (‘How do we raise standards?’,‘What makes a great hospitality business and what makes it more profitable?or even, ‘ What do we need to do to  win Awards?’ ). While, as an independent guide, we have never felt able to offer individual consultancy, we are very pleased to offer immediate practical help through this programme. We represent the customer: we can be their eyes and ears, and also their voice, so our observations often hold the answers when it comes to raising standards and improving business. Financial investment may well be required in some cases, but sometimes solutions can be surprisingly simple and inexpensive to put in place – and it usually comes down to putting the customer first. Once we had decided to take action, we needed to work with a company that shared our philosophy for independent advice and who are as driven as we are in pursuing higher standards. Creating a relevant, current and powerful Business Development Programme with Conor Kenny & Associates is a very practical step towards customer satisfaction, supporting the hospitality industry in a way that immediately helps drive businesses to a better and more profitable future.”

Commenting on the Programme and Collaboration with Georgina Campbell, Grace Gallagher, Managing Director, Conor Kenny & Associates said:Every day we work with hospitality and tourism businesses, so we know what matters most. Our work is based on three key principals. Getting the most out of a business, getting the most out of people and helping both of those to be as original, relevant and professional as possible. Everything in this 6-day programme is original material, designed exclusively for the tourism and hospitality sectors. We are a little anti ‘one size fits all training’. In our experience, it does not. All of the workshop leaders are experts in a particular niche and, as well as learning from ourselves, Georgina and our expert course leaders, we have placed great emphasis and time on the enormous benefits of meeting like-minded business owners. Finally, as everything we do is about helping a business to grow, we are strictly limiting the number of participants to allow for maximum interaction with course experts, Georgina and each other. Collaboration with Georgina Campbell was a very natural marriage. For many years, we have admired the integrity, leadership and independent honest voice of Georgina Campbell Guides. Their philosophy and eagerness to raise standards matches ours completely and we are very excited to be designing and delivering the programme along with Georgina.”

Commenting on the launch of this unique programme, Georgina Campbell said:For many years we have focused on helping to raise standards by highlighting excellence in Irish food and hospitality. Over the last five years, perhaps partly because of damaging recessionary cost-cutting, we have seen standards fall in many areas, notably service, failing customers and causing market share to drop. But it is too easy and even naïve to keep blaming ‘world recession’. Unfortunately, that offers cold comfort to disappointed customers or the many wonderful independent hospitality businesses that need encouragement to survive. Whilst it is heartening to see visitor numbers slowly increasing once more, it is no longer good enough to hope that romantic marketing will entice a whole new generation to our shores – and, more importantly, neither can it ensure that they will enjoy their stay and wish to return. What matters most is the experience they have when they come here, and that means that poor standards and product (whether mediocre accommodation or indifferent food), poor marketing and poor service won’t be forgiven no matter how evocative the message. Today’s market is a very different picture to ten years ago. Together with leading learning, development and business mentoring company Conor Kenny & Associates, led by Grace Gallagher, we can make a difference. They have been at the front helping hundreds of Irish hospitality businesses to learn more, offer more, sell more, profit more and employ more. This is clearly the right direction, both for businesses and their customers, and we are very pleased to be working with them.”

This 6 Day programme commences on Tuesday, 11th February and finishes on Thursday 29th May 2014.

For more information: Log onto

For bookings please contact Linda Halpin on 01 6633685


For further information or comment, please contact;

Georgina Campbell, email:


Grace Gallagher, email:


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