With a company tag line Hospitality with Personality, we caught up with one of Delicious Dining’s largest personalities Tapas Barcelona’s General Manager, Yannick Hugoo
It is only natural that Delicious Dining’s biggest restaurant, Tapas Barcelona, has a big personality at its helm. Yannick is one of the group’s longest serving employees having been with the company for the past ten years.
He started his careers in hospitality as a Kitchen Porter in a back street pub in Chelsea London.
“I was looking to complete my Yacht Masters in English and my best friend was working in London and said come and work with us; you will soon learn English.” Five years later Yannick had perfect English and, having worked his way up to General Manager of a swanky London restaurant he decided to leave the city lights and return home to St Malo.
However, it wasn’t long before he was back in the UK; he accepted an offer from the White Star in Southampton where he worked two years before joining Delicious Dining.
Since working for the company Yannick has managed all three of the Group’s Banana Wharf restaurants and Dock Gate 4 (now Grand Café) and has recently appointed as General Manager of the group’s flagship restaurant Tapas Barcelona.
Yannick describes the venue as convivial, friendly, quirky and beautiful, in part due to its size and interior. “A typical Tapas day will start at 9 am for me, that way I have an hour to myself before staff arrive at 10 am, I deal with admin, chase up customers and bookings. There are lots of parties in Tapas as we are a big venue, and they take a lot of organising.
For Yannick, essential qualities for a general manager is twofold, providing excellent quality customer service and making sure the staff are well trained.
When asked what advice he would give to someone who wanted to open a restaurant because it looks easy and fun, the Frenchman is quick to point out that it can be but it’s not always like that. “It's a hard job with unsocial hours and we also have to deal with some demanding customers at times.” He wryly admits that while it can look fun, he will gladly invite anyone to work with him for an evening to give it a try.
When asked what advice he would give the 25-year old younger self he is quick to respond “Don't think you know everything, because there are lots you don’t know when you are young." And unsurprisingly, he advises people starting out not to change the way they are as he knows personality is essential in the industry. “I have a personality that I haven’t changed, in so much as I am very extroverted, very fun to work with and a bit crazy. Lots of people have called me the Crazy French Nut, but it’s also what makes a venue different, customers come for the food, the restaurant and also the people.”
Time spent away from work Yannick is the first to admit that he doesn’t do enough sport, but is a massive film buff. “For me once I’ve finished my shift my pleasure is to be on my own and disconnect from the craziness of running a restaurant on busy nights, but more importantly, to enjoy a nice bottle of wine.” Perfectly natural for any Frenchman.