Driven by a passion for experiencing food and wine in completely unique settings, D&D London has grown from one property in 2006, to a collection of 42 diverse restaurants, bars and a hotel. We caught up with Head of Talent, James Grist, to discover the skills that have made it all possible, and why he comes to Les Roches to find them.
As the name would suggest, D&D London are based primarily in the UK capital, but have locations in Manchester, Leeds, Paris and New York. “D&D is a luxury hospitality company, we focus on three things primarily: beautiful venues, quality food and quality people”, James said.
“Primarily we are restaurant-based. We do have one luxury hotel in the City of London – a 5-star boutique hotel with a Michelin Star restaurant on the top. From the restaurant side we operate anything from a neighborhood restaurant all the way up to fine dining brasseries.”
D&D London understand how important their people are to the success of their business, one reason why they are frequent attendees at Les Roches on-campus Career Days.
“Les Roches is attractive to us for the standard of the students that come out of here”, James commented. “We want those students to be part of our success and be part of our future as well. We’re an expanding business, and we need the best of the best.”
“We are looking for 10 more students to join our expansion. The interest has been outstanding, and really a lot of interest in F&B.”
The importance of soft skills
For James, there’s more to the perfect candidate than an impressive CV and excellent technical skills. As with all modern hospitality brands – soft skills, empathy and understanding are hugely important to D&D London.
“We know the standard of the skills that are being taught to Les Roches students. So, when we are here this time around we are focusing on how the students engage; how they react when we are talking and actually reading their body language, to see if they are a cultural fit for us.”
“I think that is what I look for. I look at students and I think if they were coming towards me as someone that was working in the restaurant, would I instantly be appealed to them.”
“When I engage with them, I expect them to have empathy. I expect them to listen to my story. If I’ve had a tough day in the office I want them to acknowledge it. I want them to be able to empathize with that. I want them to just read between the lines and understand that every guest wants something.”
From a career day to a career for life
Few industries can offer a career (and life) experience like hospitality, encompassing progression, travel, global job opportunities, multicultural workplaces and an international network. D&D offers all of this within one company, as James explains.
“They would have the opportunity not only to join us from, maybe a Floor Manager, but then they can have an entire career with us, and they can go up to a General Manager level”, he said.
“We do have an alumni member with us, who is able to explain their story as well, and what they’ve achieved in their MIT (Manager in Training) program.”
“My advice to Les Roches students is take your time to get there; because when you get there it will feel so much better.”
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