Instead of the usual reviews and rotas, the menus for the week and the marketing reports, sales and all the related regalia of a regular Monday morning meeting, the staff of the John Barleycorn just outside Kent were told to get themselves to the nearby Stanstead airport for a one-day trip to Dublin, courtesy of their boss and licensee Bernard Lee.
According to Bernard, ”The John Barleycorn is a fantastic pub and that’s because of the team we have working here. They do an amazing job and it wouldn’t be the same without their hard work, so I just wanted to say thank you”.
An early flight to Dublin had been booked and the party returned home that same evening “… somewhat ‘tired’,” reported Bernard.
During their day in Dublin the party visited The Auld Dubliner and Oliver St John Gogarty’s in Temple Bar.
“I just wanted them to sample the flavour of Irish hospitality,” explained Bernard, who used work in Beamish & Crawford in Cork, “They loved the Irish hospitality, something that’s unique to Ireland and I wanted my team to see it for themselves and by George they did!”
“It was a fantastic day out and a brilliant surprise,” declared Cellar Manager Dennis Cook who’d worked at the pub since it re-opened in 2009, “We didn’t expect it, we thought we were just going to a have a bit of lunch together."
Bernard chose a pub with traditional Irish Stew and local music and was well pleased with the results.
“Not only was I greeted by the staff but the photo you see here was taken by the staff of the outlet opposite the Auld Dubliner!! As an added bonus, our party bumped into the finalists of the X Factor while over in Temple Bar and all my girls were all-a-flutter over it.”
With his experience of working in B&C and hosting the brewery’s customers to an Irish experience, Bernard wouldn’t hesitate to advise other UK publicans to see the Irish pub in action here.
He’ll be retiring next year and hopes to show his staff the same day again next year before he does so – “… but I won’t be telling them just when exactly – and we’ll probably stay overnight too next time”.
That kind of innovative motivation is hard to beat. I wager it will pay Bernard off well in time to come.