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What do NASA, Wembley Stadium and Wellington International Airport have in common?

05/12/2014

Delaware North has a philosophy: “creating special experiences one guest at a time”. Those five words sum up the approach that has won the global food service and hospitality company half a billion customers, and some of the most prestigious contracts on the planet. From NASA’s Kennedy Space Complex Visitor Centre to London’s Wembley Stadium, Australia’s Tennis Open, and Wellington’s International Airport.


But the family-owned company that will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2015 also knows that a philosophy only means something when it’s put into action. And for this world-leader, it all starts with the staff, says Delaware North New Zealand Business Manager, Harish Purohit.

“We believe that if our team are successful in their roles, we’ll be successful in our business,” says Harish.

The company employs 65 staff to run seven different food and beverage concept stores as well as the conference centre at Wellington International Airport.

The team includes chefs, cooks, sandwich makers, baristas and front-of-house. They offer a wide range of quality cuisine to satisfy thousands of international and domestic customers.   

Seven staff have upskilled on-the-job in a training programme that led to them being awarded a nationally recognised New Zealand Certificate in Hospitality (Food & Beverage) Level 3 qualification. Another seven have already signed to this programme, which has been developed by ServiceIQ and industry to help New Zealand’s café, bar and restaurant businesses consistently meet world-class industry standards, including the all-important customer service. in addition, five of the initial group are moving onto ServiceIQ's First Line Management programme.

The ServiceIQ training works in with ‘Guestpath’, Delaware North’s innovative continuous improvement process for staff and management companywide.

“By giving staff the opportunity to increase their skills and gain qualifications, you raise the benchmark for strength in the team and you are creating momentum in the business,” says Harish.

“We support and mentor our staff so that they have their own goals and a sense of direction. For instance, if people have been coming to work every day for a couple of years there needs to be something in it for them more than just getting paid.”

The pay-off, says Harish, are energised team members who are motivated to take their skills higher while providing a special experience for customers.   

“Our customers can expect to receive a superior service from knowledgeable and helpful staff.”   

It’s also the thrill of seeing staff achieve. Like the time one of Harish’s team gained their barista qualification.

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“It was one of the best moments of my 15-year career in hospitality. I realised how much the qualification meant to her, and how much she appreciated the company supporting her to achieve something she was passionate about,” he says.

“If you want to be successful and want to make an impact, you have to have a passion for what you are doing. You have to believe in yourself, monetary incentives or what you earn doesn’t make a huge difference.”

Harish says the ultimate goal is to have 75% of the team upskilled and holding New Zealand Certificate qualifications by 2016.

“It’s a dream but I’m 99.9% sure we’ll get there.” 

Delaware North is headquartered in New York and employs over 55,000 people worldwide.

The company began in 1915 operating theatre concessions. It was founded by the Jacobs family and today it remains family owned and operated. The company’s “walk the Guestpath programme” involves senior executives including the company’s owner occasionally working on the floor so they can remain connected with the operations and the team.  

“When owners share their vision with their team it helps to make a positive difference for everyone including the customer.”


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The New Zealand Certificate in Hospitality (Food & Beverage) Level 3 qualification is just one of many ServiceIQ training programmes that can help you build your business with highly-skilled and knowledgeable staff. Remember, ServiceIQ is your industry-endorsed training partner and we’re here to help you succeed.

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To find out the best staff training options for your business and how we can help, please call 0800 863 693 or email intel@ServiceIQ.org.nz