Dawid and Michelle Croukamp
Dawid and Michelle Croukamp, Low Wood Bay Food and Beverage Manager and Low Wood Bay Deputy Manager respectively, both embody the English Lakes +1 ethos. Dawid, originally from South Africa, joined the Low Wood Bay team in 2001 on a working holiday and enjoyed it so much that he stayed. Michelle knew from the age of 6 year’s old that she would have a career in the hotel industry. After studying Hospitality Management at university, she joined English Lakes in September 2000. Dawid and Michelle competed against each other for the title Most Exceptional Young Tourism Manager in 2006 which Dawid went on to win. Not to be outdone, Michelle took the title the following year.
Michelle comments, "There is a real sense of family within the company. The culture is progressive and there is a continual and ongoing investment in the product and the staff."
Gary Tennant, Restaurant & Banqueting Manager started his career at the age of sixteen when he joined the company as Pot Wash in the kitchens of Lancaster House. Showing consistency of service and dedication to whatever duties he was asked to perform, it was not long before he was identified as someone with supervisory and management potential.
It is a testimony to the close working relationships within Lancaster House, that Gary identifies that all his long-established friendships have originated within the hotel. One of the highlights of Gary’s job is when he officiates as Master of Ceremonies at weddings. “I get a real sense of satisfaction when I’m driving home after having taken part in a couple’s big day, safe in the knowledge that I have helped to create a special atmosphere and provide a professional service.”
When asked about his approach to customer care, Gary replied, “my personal goal is that every person who visits us in the Restaurant or Bar at Lancaster House is treated as if they were a guest in my own home.” We don’t think we can say higher than that!
If you spend any time with Ricky Robinson, Maintenance Assistant at Lancaster House, you will appreciate the close sense of family within the hotel. He says, “It’s the best crew I’ve ever worked with.” Ricky suffered a heart attack when he was only 43 years of age. This experience gave him a new outlook and his love of life and sense of humour are quite infectious. Nothing is too much trouble for Ricky and he enjoys going the extra mile for customers and colleagues. He has lost track of the number of guests’ cars he has helped to start when batteries fail, tyres he has changed and engines he has ‘tweaked’ – all to save our customers the associated inconvenience.
He particularly enjoys it when customers return time and again which develops a mutual recognition and shared conversations – all part of that ‘home from home’ experience that Lancaster House is known for. Ricky’s personal outlook on customer care is simply, “treat people as you would like to be treated – it’s not rocket science.”
Steven Fox is Food & Beverage Services Manager at Waterhead. After 19 years in the hospitality industry, he joined the English Lakes team in 2004 just as the Waterhead was undergoing a major refurbishment. Customers are always impressed when Steven can remember their names, even when he has not seen them for a period of several years.
"I particularly enjoy the family-orientated culture of the company. The atmosphere is friendly and unstuffy and the personal touch is always encouraged. We don’t always get it perfectly right, but there is always a genuine desire to give our guests a great experience."
Brian Jenkins started working for the company as a kitchen porter in May 2008, just as English Lakes took over the management of The Midland. Previously, Brian had worked for twelve years as a Facility Manager and had followed the restoration of the building very carefully. During that time he built up a wealth of knowledge about the history of the building and the culture in which it existed.
It wasn’t long before Brian was recognised as a perfect candidate for the emerging role of Concierge within the hotel. He is regularly praised for his friendly and informative tours around the hotel.
Brian’s dedication and professionalism was rewarded when his colleagues at The Midland voted him Employee of the Year 2008.
"I have watched the staff team develop since I started with the company. Through good management and excellent training, we have learned to pull together to deliver a +1 service."
Sam Pickup has worked at The Midland since November 2008 in various departments before settling in her role as Waitress. Her friendly and personable outlook has made her popular with guests and staff alike. Sam never gets tired of seeing the reaction of the customers as they walk into the iconic building or when they witness the amazing sunsets over Morecambe Bay. Like all of our of +1 champions, on the rare occasions that a guest has a less than perfect experience, it affects Sam personally and she is committed to doing everything in her power to restore the customer’s confidence.
We encourage our staff to be innovative and creative in all that they do. Sam sets a perfect example of this in action, and is delighted when her ideas for improvements in procedures and service are encouraged and implemented. She says, "Since working for English Lakes, I’ve discovered that customer care is not just in word; the company is fully committed to looking after their staff as well as their guests”.
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