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Caterer.com People Awards 2018; what makes a winning entry?

We talk to Dishoom; winners of the Launch Campaign award 2017

The 2018 Caterer.com People Awards recognise the bravest and the best in hospitality recruitment, retention and development.  The awards are now open for entries and the deadline is 25th June.

There are 13 categories including Launch Campaign. If you have an Launch Campaign to be proud of, now’s the time to get the recognition you deserve! Enter here.

Our 2017 Launch Campaign winners were Dishoom. But why?

In a crowded and competitive market, a well-executed launch campaign is key to the success of any new opening. In the Launch Campaign category, judges look for employers who demonstrate a creative, well crafted, expertly delivered launch campaign that engaged applicants with their brand and delivered the talent they needed for opening.

Dishoom did it the Dishoom way.

Dishoom were the proud winners of the 2017 Caterer.com People Award for Launch Campaign.

“Winning the Launch Campaign award really is the cherry on the cake after a brilliant first year at Dishoom Edinburgh,” said Andy O’Callaghan, Dishoom’s Head of People. “It truly added to the celebratory spirit of our first birthday. This was a huge achievement for the team, and an absolute testament to their hard work and dedication. We’re absolutely delighted,”

Infectious enthusiasm

Dishoom’s enthusiasm for what they do is infectious. The Indian Street Café’s mantra of ‘seva’, the selfless and open-hearted act of giving and serving manifests itself in everything they do.

Already operating five successful locations in London, each with a unique story to tell, Dishoom felt it was time to share the love and the decision was made to open a brand new restaurant in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

“We LOVE Edinburgh!”

“Edinburgh is a festival city, stunningly beautiful, full to the brim with heritage and history. And of course, Edinburghers are proper foodies. There are certain similarities to London, but it has a charm all its own.”

There may well be similarities to London, but the Scottish hospitality scene does have significant differences. “We’ve found there’s an amazing bar scene in Edinburgh,” Andy said. “We’ve loved getting involved in local events alongside the local industry; from taking part in Tales of the Cocktail to liberating our Permit Room Bar from beneath the kitchen at Edinburgh location and transplanting it into St Andrew Square for the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Hiring the best to launch the best

Ask any hospitality employer and they’ll tell you that recruiting a top team for a launch poses challenges at the best of times, so how did Dishoom pull it off? “Opening our first site outside London, in another country in fact, was a massive step for us. We didn’t underestimate the challenges ahead. Our ambition was to hire the best team in Edinburgh and launch the best restaurant in Scotland.”

To choose people who were right for their culture, the recruitment team met every promising applicant face to face. “Our openings-walli and training-walla, who had already helped us open five restaurants in London, hosted open days at an Edinburgh bar to meet applicants and put them through their paces with activities designed to see how big-hearted and first-class they were,” Andy said. “We made it clear how well paid our team would be, and that they would have stellar opportunities for growth and development. As well as talking to them about the awesome events we put on for our team, like the Family Mela, a huge summer party where we close all of our restaurants so we can all get together.”

A big, barmy family

In Andy’s words, Dishoom is “a big, barmy family made up of all sorts of personalities and nationalities.” To build this family atmosphere, they sent their whole Edinburgh team to London so they could meet some fellow Dishoom-wallas and get a taste of what it’s like working in one of their restaurants. On returning to Edinburgh, they cemented the bonds of the new team with a Havan, a Hindu ritual used to bless a new venture.  Also making sure there was plenty of time for socialising in the training schedule, with pizza nights.

Strong opening success

Dishoom’s Edinburgh launch recruitment campaign generated over 1,200 applications. They finally settled on a strong opening team of more than 100 people who embody company values and a passion for delivering first-class food, drink and service. Unsuccessful applicants were even invited back for breakfast on the company.

The launch was a massive success. “We’re absolutely delighted,” Andy O’Callaghan said, “It’s a brilliant restaurant, and a fantastic team. The response from Edinburghers has been really positive; we’re serving around 6000 of them a week. We were overjoyed to be voted the Scottish public’s favourite restaurant in Edinburgh, winning The List Eating & Drinking Guide Readers’ Award.”

Every minute detail obsessed over

What of the future for Dishoom? Interestingly, despite their success, they don’t want to rush things. “We love sharing Bombay’s lovely old stories like the Irani cafés. Every Dishoom is a labour of love which makes each restaurant so unique and special; it’s a lot of work. So far, we’ve opened less than one new restaurant a year because we are committed to making sure all our restaurants, and all our people, are absolutely the best they can be. With the amount of care that goes into each opening, every picture on the wall, every awesome person we hire, every training session; every minute detail considered and obsessed over, we simply couldn’t grow much faster,” said Andy. “We don’t have any specific plans that we can share at the moment, but it’s likely that we will open more restaurants, as and when we have more Bombay stories to share.” We congratulate Dishoom on their spectacular win and wish them every success in their future plans.

The closing date for this year’s Caterer.com People Awards is June 25th. The awards dinner will take place on October 1st at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London.

To find out more and to enter visit www.caterer.com/people-awards