Q&A with Eden’s NRBA Winner
4th October 2018
Daiva Step is Restaurant Manager at award winning English restaurant, La Rock in Sandiacre. Last year, she entered the NRBA (Nottingham Restaurant and Bar Awards) for the Best Young Talent, Front of House Award 2017/18, sponsored by Eden, and went on to win. This year, Eden will be sponsoring the new Special Achievement Award, which recognises a person or venue that works tirelessly for their community, a charity or cause.
A year after winning, Daiva gives her thoughts on the Awards, the industry and a career in hospitality:
Do you feel that front of house should feature in the Awards and if so, does it help drive better standards of service?
“Absolutely. I feel that chefs have been in the spotlight and dominated perceptions of the hospitality industry for quite a long time now. Things have started to change, and we are now entering an age where people are beginning to understand that restaurants need to be about an experience rather than just the food and chefs. Restaurants have to offer the whole package and front of house is an essential part of this. Quality of service can make or break a hospitality business and therefore, it’s important to show appreciation to front of house employees and highlight their importance and, in doing so, showcase hospitality as a viable career choice.
“Appreciation and recognition demonstrate how staff are valued by others, which in turn makes for better motivation and, ultimately, productivity. Personal satisfaction in the workplace reflects on the service provided. Happy employees equal happy customers.”
How did you get into the industry?
“It all started with a summer job to earn some money in order to support myself through university. Before I knew it, I got drawn into it and was loving every day. Personally, I find hospitality very rewarding – it makes me happy and proud of myself when I know I have made a difference to someone’s day by providing excellent and personal customer service. Another reason I love being in hospitality is due to the dynamics and energy within the industry. There’s always something new happening, being created or discovered – you never stop learning.”
If you could pass on any advice, what would it be?
“It’s always better to under promise and over deliver rather than the other way around.”
What, in your opinion, makes for outstanding service?
“It’s all about being able to understand what people expect and want, as well as what makes them happy. It’s essential to be socially aware and have an understanding of human nature and psychology, and you also need to be one step ahead and have a commitment to please and deliver excellence.”
You must have been pleased to have won the award last year?
“Absolutely – it was my one and only chance as I don’t fit the age criteria now, and I am very proud to have won it.”
What are your thoughts on service careers within the restaurant industry as a whole?
“It’s more of a lifestyle than just a career – and it can be a rather rewarding one. The restaurant industry isn’t an easy one to crack, it takes a lot of effort and time, however, passion makes it possible.”