Club Operations Manager
Kirsty joined 67 Pall Mall having worked as Assistant Manager at Oblix Restaurant, where Rainer Becker, the chef and businessman behind global concepts Zuma & Roka launched a ‘New York-style’ restaurant in the Shard. Prior to this, Kirsty worked as Front of House Manager for Smart Group, an events management company, and for Scott Dunn, working in luxury villas and chalets in Majorca and Val-d’Isere. Kirsty joined the Club before opening as Lounge & Events Manager, and became 67 Pall Mall’s Operations Manager when the doors opened to the first floor in October 2017.
Read her recent interview:
Head of Operations, Kirsty Dalton is praised for the successful development of the operations team at 67 Pall Mall. She’s injected a good dose of personality into the excellence required for a private members’ club. In this interview, Kirsty shares an insight into her role, as well as a few tips of the trade…
67 Pall Mall is the number one private members’ wine club in the world. We have one of the best wine lists on the planet with 4,400 wines representing 42 countries. Over 700 of these are served by-the-glass, and 32,000 bottles of both Members and Club collections are stored underfoot in our cellars. With this great list comes great expertise; our 17-strong sommelier team guide our Members through this unrivalled collection.
I oversee the Club operations at 67 Pall Mall. This involves running a smooth and impeccable service across all three floors (Lounge, Clubroom and our events space), and strengthening the link between the kitchens, sommeliers and our Members.
The most ‘visible’ part of my role is the “front-of-house” management, which includes 67 Pall Mall’s fantastic waiting staff, friendly reception team and brilliant cleaners.
We are different from other restaurants, bars and private members’ clubs due to our unique concept and our positioning as the link between the wine industry, the trade experts and wine aficionados.
Above all, we differentiate ourselves by creating and developing our own voice and personality. This is so important when it comes to recruiting new members of staff – our team are encouraged to be themselves, and it is vital that any new team member will fit in with our brilliant spectrum of characters!
I joined 67 Pall Mall having worked as Assistant Manager at Oblix Restaurant, where Rainer Becker, the chef and businessman behind global concepts Zuma & Roka launched a ‘New York-style’ restaurant in the Shard. Prior to this, I worked as Front of House Manager for Smart Group, an events management company, and for Scott Dunn, working in luxury villas and chalets in Majorca and Val-d’Isere. I have been in the wonderful world of hospitality for a while!
I was part of the founding team at the Club in 2015 and joined as Lounge & Events Manager. For those of you reading who work in the hospitality industry, you will know that opening a new venue is challenging! However, joining the Club was truly a life-changing opportunity for me.
Opening 67 Pall Mall was incredibly exciting, hugely successful, and a real achievement for the team. There are always stumbling blocks and hurdles to get through with an opening, however 67 Pall Mall have a very special, supportive and nurturing team. These qualities were very evident, very early on, and strongly remain to this day.
I learnt a huge amount from the Club opening in 2015 and the launch of the Clubroom in 2017, developing internally from a Manager role into Head of Operations. This is something I am extremely proud of, and it is this form of internal development that I apply with my own team.
I lead a team of 50+ people and, whilst I consider myself to be very approachable and fair, I have very high expectations and aim to deliver the highest standards. I am able to do this thanks to my incredible team, thus a vital part of my role is to oversee their personal development.
We do not want to deliver a stuffy service – we adapt and sometimes break the rules to make our Members feel as though they are part of a fun, yet respectable environment. Our staff are always happy, engaging and they seamlessly find the right balance. We achieve this by supporting a strong personal development programme for the team to learn new skills, gain qualifications and see a colourful future within the company.
I want to ensure that members of my team are well trained. They must be able to achieve high standards with care and enthusiasm. This directly reflects on the quality of their work, and Members can certainly sense this during service – and of course, ensuring that we deliver the best service to Members is the most essential part of my job as Head of Operations.
No two days are the same thanks to our great Members and the number of events organised at the Club involving wine, food, music and culture.
On a regular day, we’re busy as soon as we open at 7am with Members using the Club for breakfast meetings – the coffee machine is constantly on overdrive! The team then prepares for a full-on lunch service, followed by events and dinners in the evening. We’re open until 1.30am on weekdays and have adapted opening times on weekends when the Club is slightly more relaxed…
When the clock strikes 5pm, the Club morphs into a more social space where chatting with the Members is important and expected. My team have more opportunities to engage, hence why personality is so important to me.
We are industry leaders, and the focus of wine makes us instantly stand out in terms of opportunities.
Yet, as I’ve touched upon before, internal promotions are a huge part of what I aim to deliver for my team – I am a big believer in progressing the team from within and promoting staff to higher positions and this certainly makes us stand out as an employer. Most of my management team have made their way through the business with gradual progression; one team member growing from Bar-Back to Manager, to pick just one example.
At 67 Pall Mall, we additionally have a wealth of tools available for personal and technical development that we can tailor to each employee. Our team are trained on presentation and management skills and bespoke training on health and safety, first aid, coffee, food allergens, equality and diversity and food safety. Among the many company perks, our team work with the highest quality of equipment and we offer exclusive benefits such as being fully trained on wine with the WSET, getting a Personal Licence to sell alcohol, and being exposed to 4,400 wines through wine tastings, masterclasses and many entertaining social events!
Personality is a huge thing here. It is imperative that we have staff who always wear a smile and can engage with Members. Our team need to be enthusiastic, have a positive attitude and aim for a future in high-spec hospitality.
If I were to describe our culture and what we look for when hiring new team members, it’s about finding the right fit for the team as well as excellent service skills. By the right fit, I mean people who are passionate, professional, consistent and welcoming. I am not after a strong ego, instead I hire people who are approachable, engaging and passionate.
They must aim for the highest levels of quality, have immaculate presentation and a great personality!
I have spoken about the unique nature of a day-in-the-life of a team member here at 67 Pall Mall, however the exclusive benefits usually enjoyed by the wine industry are a huge perk of employment; the WSET course, working with the best sommelier team in the world and opportunities to explore so many wines and meet the winemakers is such a special and inspiring addition to the working life at the Club.
We have an incredible membership and an unbeatable atmosphere, which makes 67 Pall Mall incomparable to other bars and restaurants. Importantly, we are not as stuffy as some private members’ Clubs can be. We breathe new life into Clubland and, I know I’ve said it before, but we do gently break rules!
And finally, we are in the process of opening new Clubs (Singapore next year with further destinations to be announced…) so it is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the team.
Let’s say I have a very cheeky sense of humour! My team understand that they can be relaxed and themselves – yet they have a level of respect too, ensuring our team and service runs like clockwork…
Big thank you Kirsty, and for all readers, do get in touch with us to join as a member or to be part of the team and visit the Career page