A Friday Chat With Searcys Senior Operations Manager at 116 Pall Mall, Orshada De Silva4 February 2022
Orshada De Silva joined Searcys part time in 2011 while studying, and caught the bug for the hospitality world. Over the last 11 years, he has worked in five different Searcys venues, gaining experience before coming to 116 Pall Mall as Searcys Senior Operations Manager.
Hi Orshada! Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started working in hospitality and when did you join Searcys?
I joined Searcys back in June 2011, working as a front of house team member at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar by Searcys. At that time it was a just part time job, as I was studying ACCA full time. I was surprised how much I started to enjoy the time at the St Pancras though, so I decided to change the career and stayed in the hospitality. There was always plenty of opportunity to grow within the company and I was supported with many trainings and development programmes.
Throughout this period, I have worked in five different venues across Searcys’ business. At the moment I’m part of one the Searcys newest sites, 116 Pall Mall, which is home to Institute of Directors. We have seven different event spaces, the brasserie and terrace, two lounges and a fabulous Champagne Bar.
What do you like most about the job?
I get the opportunity to work in different venues across the business, which allows me to gain more experience and expand my knowledge about the various types of customers and contracts. I would say 116 Pall Mall is the most interesting of all the venues I have worked in so far with Searcys, because we can cater for small groups with bespoke menus or for up to 1,200 people at one time. It’s different challenge every day at 116 Pall Mall, and no two days are ever alike.
Tell us your three things that few people know about the venue you work at?
- We have live Jazz planned for the first Thursday of the month for the whole year 2022
- We can cater up to 1,200 people at one time
- Our Champagne Bar and the Carlton Lounge brasserie are open to non-members as well as to the members
What is the secret to success for great customer service, do you think?
Communication, having high standards, and most importantly consistency to create that lasting impression. I always say the “Customer Journey” plays a crucial part of who we are: we strive to pay attention to each and every single guest or member, and try to go beyond their expectations while maintaining the high standards.
What are three tips you will get a person who starts the job at front of house?
- Always smile… first impressions count!
- Pay attention to the task which you are assigned for (attention to detail)
- Know your product inside out
What is the most popular menu/event type at your venue?
The Afternoon Tea we serve in the Carlton Lounge is one of the most popular things, and we host it every Saturday.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are working on a series of Champagne Masterclass events, which will be held at the Champagne Bar once a month. Guests will be able to learn a bit about the Champagne region, history and background while they are sipping a glass of it, and of course they will be food matching to the Champagne.