Back of House Team 2009: The Fiveways, Ormskirk, Lancashire

Related tags 21st century Customer service Training

Fiveways, a large, smart modern pub on the outskirts of Ormskirk in Lancashire, is one of the new breed of carveries developed by pubco Orchid Group....

Fiveways, a large, smart modern pub on the outskirts of Ormskirk in Lancashire, is one of the new breed of carveries developed by pubco Orchid Group. It used to be a Wacky Warehouse, but you can't tell. The playbarn has been converted into a stylish dining room and the new centrepiece of the operation is a long, sweeping carvery counter that takes the concept into the 21st century. But it's the people behind the scenes who are the real reason for celebration.

It's unusual that managers Annette and Robbie Heaton have run the pub for as long as 12 years, and it's even more unusual to find that the pair who head the kitchen have worked together just as long.

Craig Brookfield is kitchen manager and Dave 'Vinny' O'Neil head chef, two roles that don't often mix well. Yet Craig and Vinny not only make it work, they infect every one of their seven staff with their team spirit.

Craig sets the standards, leads the training and makes sure the pub delivers its budgeted GP, Vinny takes care of the food, and they share responsibility for the day-to-day running of the kitchen.

Each member of the team is multi-skilled and works flexibly to keep up with demand from 350 covers indoors and out, delivering an extensive menu and specials as well as the daily carvery, and keeping up a continuous conversation with those front-of-house.

The pub benefits from Orchid's training programme including a Food Academy, Back to Basics sessions and a range of NVQs with progress charted on a Training Ladder. In fact, the pub is a recognised training centre within the company and both Craig and Vinny support the central training team, an accolade in itself.

Since entering these awards, this has increasingly taken Craig into other Orchid pubs to act as a troubleshooter, leaving Vinny to take more responsibility at Fiveways.

Beyond the formal training, the pair lead by example, motivating and mentoring their people to be the best they can and share in their vision for the pub.

The back-of-house team don't hide their talents in the kitchen either. Every member is trained in front-of-house roles and take turns serving from the carvery where they have the chance to get to know their diners better and develop their customer service skills.

It's a rare pub in which the regulars will enjoy some banter with the back-of-house as well as front-of-house staff, and it all helps the Fiveways operation to gel around a common goal of making sure the pub is delivering the best possible customer service - and that's something even those stuck out in the kitchen can and must play a part in.

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