A Friday Chat with Dobromir Barosov, Searcys Catering Manager at The King’s Fund1 April 2022
For this week’s Friday Chat, we hear from Dobromir Barosov, who has been with Searcys for eight years, climbing impressively quickly through the ranks until he came to his current position as General Catering Manager at The King’s Fund. Located in stunning Cavendish Square, the venue is popular with everything from conferences to weddings to private cocktail parties (Dobromir’s favourite!). With a mix of classical architecture and hi-tech AV capabilities appealing to a wide range of audiences, The King’s Fund is full of surprises.
Thank you for joining us Dobromir! Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you start out in hospitality?
I got into catering by accident, but the reason I’ve stayed in it is because I simply love working with people. Even after all these years, I’d definitely agree to work with people is the most difficult yet rewarding thing I do every day. I started working in catering in 2009 and spent my first five years in hotels around central London. In 2014 I joined my first Searcys venue – 30 Euston Square – as a supervisor. I was promoted many times, to C&B (conference and banqueting) manager, to head of conferences, deputy operations manager and finally operations manager. I moved to this role as General Catering Manager this September. I look after the whole venue: the catering, the kitchen, finance, HR, everything.
What do you like most about your job?
Working for Searcys has given me the opportunity to go around different venues, gain more experience and improve my knowledge about different types of businesses. Organisers often arrive feeling stressed and overloaded, and then we deliver a great event and see how happy they are, and it makes it all worthwhile.
What is the success of great customer service? The secret formula?
It’s pretty simple, in my opinion: consistently delivering a high standard of service, creating a memorable experience for our customers.
What are three top tips you would give someone who wants to start a hospitality or catering role?
- Enjoy what you are doing
- Be positive and smile
- Keep learning and trying to improve yourself
Tell us your three things that few people know about the venue you work at, or unique reasons why customers should choose your venue?
- We’ve just launched integrated hybrid technology available at every event space. We’ve got cameras and microphones in the ceiling, so people can join from wherever and feel that they’re in the room. It was a big investment, and the work was completed last month, changing everything. We’ve already had 90% of events using it – even if you only have 5 people joining remotely, it’s worth it. Three events last week actually had the presenter dialling in remotely while everyone was in the room, and it worked perfectly!
- Secondly, ‘we’ve got an outdoor space with Japanese style Yakitori grill available for events –I hardly know of any other venues using this, it’s what Michelin-style chefs use, and the quality and flavours coming from it are unique.
- Finally, and most simply, we’ve got exceptionally versatile classic and modern spaces available, in the heart of London.
What is the most popular menu or dish at the moment?
Actually, it’s the British Hot Fork buffet menu – simple hearty classics such as roast chicken, cod and vegetarian tart. I’d say 70% of our event organisers order this, maybe because it’s traditional and done really well.
What is your favourite event type and why?
The events I love working most are when we have cocktail parties and weddings, joyful events where people are coming to have fun, enjoy the food and the service we advise.
What about the customers? What is the most frequent request these days?
Vegan offerings are really the biggest request we’re getting these days, and we’re working on increasing this all the time, adapting to changing tastes. At the end of February, we had a full vegan conference of 130 people, where we served vegan Hot Fork, cakes, biscuits, and plant-based milk, you name it! It went very well, and we were happy with the presentation and delivery.
What has been your most unusual customer request?
Related to the above, the client asked for a vegan pick mix counter, with special vegan sweets. We managed to organise it and they went down a treat.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are working on a new summer package that will include the traditional BBQ offer for the outside area. Our chef has just recently created a signature homemade duck burger with truffle, and also a new skewers menu. The latter has some Japanese influence, also almost exclusively British ingredients, so it’s really interesting and delicious.
Last of all, as Searcys approaches its 175th anniversary, what would your one wish for the company and your colleagues be?
I wish for everyone to enjoy what you do, and for us to be able to continue to deliver more memorable moments to our customers for many years to come.