Author Archives: Admin

Customer Service Training with Simon Scarborough

The Angels team was provided with silver-served customer service guidance from hospitality legend Simon Scarborough.

Simon, of Simon Scarborough Associates, joined Angels Samantha, Charlotte, Deb, Hazel and Lisa for the company’s spring presentation evening at Boscombe’s Shelley Theatre.

After listening to Simon outline his own vision and ethos surrounding customer service, gleaned from many years of experience in the hospitality sector, the team discussed the Angels’ own approach to customer service.

Following Simon’s talk, awards for November, December and January’s Angels of the Month were revealed, with Dawn Raggett collecting November’s honour, Wendy Westwood December’s gong and Katie Minns the first of 2018’s awards.

Simon, meanwhile, was made an honorary Angel for his customer service advice and expertise.

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Why go to the coast now?

New research from the National Coastal Tourism Academy has revealed the reasons why non-visitors forgo a trip to the English coast, which importantly uncovers a latent potential interest. But that interest will only be sparked if non-visitors are given a reason to visit now rather than go to other types of destination, opening up significant opportunities for economic growth in seaside towns.

The research, supported by the NCTA’s partner Hertz, surveyed more than 1,500 non-visitors revealing that a major challenge for coastal resorts is making sure a trip to the beach is front of mind; at present non-visitors feel ambivalent about a seaside escape.  To overcome this, the research suggests coastal destinations need to provide a compelling reason to visit; events, such as food and music festivals, tall ships regattas, air shows and carnivals, offer the perfect hook.

In addition, nearly half see the coast as closed in winter, other barriers mentioned were a preference for overseas destinations (34%) a fear it may be too expensive (22%) and a minority (9%) see it as too far to travel , despite the fact that no-one in England is more than 70 miles from the sea.

Those surveyed often associated the coast with traditional seaside resorts and once reminded about the breadth of coastal experiences that can be enjoyed, were open to visiting the English coast, with harbour towns and rural coast the most popular options.

The research also reveals that many non-staying visitors are actually going for a day trip; providing day-trippers with a reason to stay overnight therefore presents another key opportunity.

“The coast is an important part of the British culture, so it’s encouraging to see that even among those who haven’t visited the English coast in the past five years, there is an interest to come in the future.  The challenge now is to provide them with reasons to come sooner and stay overnight,” explains Academy director Samantha Richardson.

“We might not be able to change the vagaries of the British weather but promoting the enormous choice of activities and events staged year-round and different types of experience to be enjoyed off-season, rather than focusing on the sun-and-beach image that resonates with the public, might seem a bold step but could reap huge benefits and redress the “closed in winter” perception,” she said.

Richard Davies, General Manager, Hertz UK, added: “The coast is a fantastic natural asset for the UK, no matter what the season. We are very pleased that we are helping the coast reach its full potential by supporting the NCTA with this important work. With our extensive footprint of locations in coastal towns and cities across the UK, we see this new partnership as a logical fit and trust that, with the support of companies like Hertz, further coastal growth will be achieved.”

The new research also points out that the English coast is not homogenous and comprises a variety of destination types appealing to an equally diverse mix of people. To gain an understanding of which resort would appeal to which visitor profile, the survey presented respondents with six collages of images: Active Breaks, Coastal Retreats, Harbour Towns, Lively Towns, Port Cities and Traditional Seaside resorts.

Of these, the Coastal Retreats and Harbour Town categories were universally the most popular except for young families who opted for Traditional Seaside resorts.

“This new research will help different types of coastal resorts understand how their type of destination is perceived and who the markets are that could be persuaded to visit, given the right messaging. We now have an important practical resource for all coastal English destinations,” continued Ms Richardson.

“It would also be worth destinations considering how they could ‘package’ their destination with other types to bolster their appeal and generate overnight bookings.”

Read the full report HERE

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Merry Christmas everyone!

2016, what a year!

As this year draws to a close and we take this time to reflect, it’s been a fantastic year here at Crumbs.

We celebrated Anne Gardner MBE our Founder and former CEO’s 20 years of dedication to The Crumbs Project. Anne has now been installed as our life president in honour of her work with us.

We have cooked and baked our way through 2016, we have provided 420 buffets for local businesses, funerals and weddings. 10 hot food fork buffets and silver service dining events in our very own function room with trainees, interns and staff cooking and serving. We have delivered cream teas and wedding cakes in the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch areas. Our canapé service has been successful at networking events. We have also provided over 250 Christmas lunches this December!

For information on buffets, food services or cakes please check out our Food Services pages on this website.

New online shop coming soon!

We held our first ‘Fine Dining’ event called ‘Food Fiesta’ in August. This event was run by our trainees and interns, they designed the menu, prepared, cooked, baked and served their families and friends giving them all a chance to showcase their skills with great success.

At the beginning of the year, we started to supply Paragon Training with hot meals cooked at our training centre which was then transported to Paragon. By the spring a number of our trainees and interns started work experience in Paragon’s canteen. They prepared salads, cooked pizzas and served our hot food and drinks to the staff and students.

In September we started to supply hot lunches for Bournemouth language school Anglo Continental. This has proved to be a very successful not only in the training at our Crumbs centre but also giving trainees work experience in Anglo’s kitchen and coffee shop.

Our church lunches have been a hit with local elderly residents. Interns and trainees have played a big part in the cooking, baking and meal service. It has been another fantastic opportunity for us to contribute to serving the local community.

Congratulations to Martin our former trainee who runs our Snakpak service on his 10th anniversary at Crumbs!

Martin is a great member of staff team – he has grown the service and shares his skills and experiences by training others. Martin plans to grow the service further – interested in our Snakpak service? Please email Martin at or call 01202 519320

Our lunch clubs are running very well; we have former trainee Caroline (now a paid member of staff) up skilling to run two of the lunch clubs. This will free Kathy up to grow the service. We have a new location Stevenson Lodge, we have introduced a new breakfast/lunch menu at Craiglieth to fit in with the popular café culture, Bure house continues to thrive and we had 34 customers in for Christmas lunch at St Kilda’s this year.

Our Work-steps programme made visits to Bournemouth job fairs this year. Trainees have been supported into employment, work experience and voluntary work.  Work experience has taken place with Nando’s at Castle Point, Marsham Court Hotel, the Community Café at Muscliff Park and Wesley’s Café in Poole. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank local businessman Simon Scarborough for all his support and advice on Work-steps matters. Simon has given up some of his free time to spend it with trainees looking for paid employment, giving them confidence and work experience opportunities.

Six former trainees have entered paid employment this year. Thank you to Domestic Angels, Dingles, Caresouth, Sturtons and Tapper’s of Winton, Pokesdown Primary School and Best Training for looking beyond our trainee disabilities. Well done and best wishes to Lee, Kelly, Alex, Daniel, Stephen and Sara.

We rejoined as signatories to MINDFUL EMPLOYER’S Charter. MINDFUL EMPLOYER is led by employers and is for employers. Which is about increasing awareness of mental health, helping you deliver your business, providing support networks and information, and making it healthier to talk about mental health.

We have celebrated with Open days at our training centre for local Rotary clubs, supporters of Crumbs, Friends of Crumbs, residents, customers, key-workers, referrers, friends and families. We gave tours of our new training facilities, meeting the staff, trainees, interns and Board members.

We have given talks to parents, carers and teachers at Linwood School, members of Ferndown Golf Club, New Horizon Widows group, rotary clubs and other local organisations.

It’s been a fabulous year for funding and donations. Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.

The BIG Lottery

Lloyds Bank Foundation

TSB in Boscombe

Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth

The BIG GIVE – Christmas challenge

Talbot Village Trust

Esme Fairbairn

Incorporated Bournemouth Free Church Council


Hit Training

JP Morgan

Nando’s Jurrasic Coast Challenge

Ferndown Golf club

New Horizon Widows

Friends of the Bournemouth Quakers

The Training and Learning Company

United Church Ferndown

Hibberd Court residents

Mrs Josephine Seccombe

Mrs Almaz Lewis

Mr Peter Prior

Mr Richard Davis

Ms Marcia Owen

Tesco at Branksome and Kinson for gift donations for raffles prizes

Thank you to Lloyds Bank for their volunteer work at the Crumbs Centre, Alison and Irina from the Coop in Moordown and to the young people from NCS, for your work and the new bench which we have dedicated to former trainee’s Sean Pearman and Vikki Copland and former member of staff Stephen Gulliford.

Thank you to our other volunteers Bakery/kitchen – Andrea, Solome, Asmita, and Paul, Drivers – Jonathan, Rob, Sandra and Chis, Lunch clubs – Chris C, George, Kath, Admin- Janet and Annie.

Thank you to Skills & Learning Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole, Southwest Regional Assessment Centre (SWRAC), Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and Hit Training for supplying tutors and assessors this year for literacy, numeracy, I.C.T classes and catering training.

We also welcomed two new members to our staff team Jane our new kitchen assistant and Derrick our new administrator to our staff team.

Well, I think that’s enough of us, however before we go please welcome Anne Gardner our life president with a few words.

“And thoughts on being elevated to Life President……………………….   Seriously, at first, it sounded a bit pompous!  Only “chair of funding and evaluation” sort of kept my feet sensibly anchored to the ground.”

“On another tack, a sense of pride that the staff team now at the helm, were putting their heads above the parapet and looking to take charge: ambitious to grow the business themselves, putting their acquired knowledge to good use for the advancement of our beneficiaries both now and into the future.  Looking to have Crumbs recognised as further education for persons who, when they come to us, are often furthest from the workplace with a limited choice organisation from where to acquire the skills most relevant to independent living and some choice of employment.”

“And last, but by no means least, a sense of gratitude to Douglas and the Board for their commitment to setting Crumbs on a path to sustainability for the vulnerable adults who will always be a part of our Society.”


We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all in the new year!

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Training time

It is a universal truth that it takes time to make people better, through experience or training. However, in the hospitality and service industries – particularly in SMEs – time is short; staff turnover is high and business cannot easily be put on hold.

Therefore it is time that is a barrier to training. Not cost, not language, not ability, not relevance. Service industries need their people on site.  They accept that the job could be done better; but the job still needs to be done. For example, at an outdoor tourist attraction, if the sun comes out, which will a business choose?  Training or having its business running at capacity?

It is development in business that leads to growth; and training is part of that. But as an employee, the reaction to training is often ‘I hope this doesn’t mean double the work when I get back.’  For line managers, it is ‘how can I cope while they are off playing with flipcharts and getting free food?’

Apprenticeships are perhaps the closest to the ideal balance, a blend of time in the workplace with an accepted portion of time learning and training.  They learn the skills while practising them; and the arrangement is part of the deal.  There is a skill however in finding a way to use this model to benefit other types of employees.

In recent years the rise of the online training course has made some headway.  However as an alternative this carries its own issues; such as access, retaining information, distractions – and of course it still takes people out of the business; unless you are confident your employees will do it on their own time.

So what is the solution?

If training takes time, then every minute needs to count, and directly benefit your particular business.  Industry standards in the form of recommended courses can never be as effective as a bespoke session tailored to your particular needs.  Your reception staff are working within a unique business setting (yours!); so the training you give them must take that into consideration.

For example, waiting staff may need customer care training; but with the understanding that they are waiters, not reception staff.  Your housekeeping staff may need some basic training on quality care and how to create a wow factor; but not training on giving a warm welcome.  And in development terms, if your business caters for (or is keen to attract) a certain market segment; any training should be designed with this in mind.

So the answer is to make every second of your investment count.  Make training tailored to your employees; don’t book them on to generic course that caters for all. Ensure it is relevant to the group and at a time that is convenient to the business.  Make sure the trainer is prepared to come to you – not only is it good practice to train within the work environment; if you need a member of staff desperately, if only for five minutes; you know where they are.  After all, time is money.

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A Polite Reminder

There is a growing issue in hospitality in the form of a missing skill, a skill vital to interacting positively with customers.  It is a deficiency which is not often recognised or addressed, because one might assume that it is automatic in those who are looking at hospitality as a career.  However, the fact that this is an assumption is part of the problem!

The issue is politeness.  Good old fashioned courtesy.  Please and thank you, opening doors, standing back for others to go first, smiling and shaking hands.  Helping elderly ladies and gentlemen down the stairs, carrying bags, making eye contact – skills which are often learnt by example as much as anything else.

The issue is compounded by the fact that at a very basic level, a fundamental level, customers expect to be treated politely – after all, they are not spending money to be treated rudely.  The British way of not complaining is no longer a saving grace – in today’s review culture, where the smallest slight can be amplified into a mountain of criticism, the basics need to be right.

Of course, courtesy is often automatic in those of a certain age or who have been well-trained; or those whose education was relatively consistent (teachers provide good instruction in how to behave in the classroom setting).  But there are those entering the profession, whether customer-facing or not, who lack an understanding of how to behave with politeness.  Not through deliberate or wilful rudeness; or though a lack of understanding of the ‘service’ culture, but simply because they have never been set an example; through lack of consistent education or parenting.

You would think that a desire to work in a service industry includes the understanding that you need to treat people well.  But it would be a dangerous assumption that everyone wishing to make a career in has the ability to do so, whatever their nationality or upbringing.  If an elderly lady is made to stand in a reception queue, because a member of staff does not recognise it would be polite to fetch a chair, what message does that give to the customer?  If, on reaching the desk, she is greeted with ‘Just wait a minute, I’m still busy?’ how will she and other customers react? What would you do, as a paying customer?

It is true that different cultures place differing levels of importance on courtesy; and the various taboos and expectations of each need to be learned by those who come into contact with them.  But the basics are broadly similar wherever you are.  And if a member of staff does not understand these basics, how can they offer a high level of service; or learn more complex expectations.

So look at your existing employees carefully and assess their skills. Do they treat customers, and indeed their colleagues politely; or do they need some additional training?  When recruiting, how do prospective employees behave – are they polite to you, as a prospective employer?  Are you confident in your team, or do basic courtesy skills need to be part of your induction process?

The upside of addressing the issue, and putting it right, is that courteous acts of consideration are remembered fondly, and can greatly enhance a visitor’s stay.  They create a positive memory, which is good for business. So make sure they have the understanding; then polish and hone their skills.  It can do nothing but good.  And thank you for reading.

Simon Scarborough Associates offers a number of training opportunities for staff at all levels, designed to make your customer service the best it can be.  From basic skills to understanding the expectations of international cultures, we can assess your needs and make recommendations.

Please do contact Simon to discuss at or call him on 07801571357

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