There is a popular Maori whakatauki (saying/proverb) that asks, ‘He aha te mea nui o tenei ao?’ What is the most important thing in this world? ‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’. It is people!
Few would argue that customers and patrons, whether dining or chilling with a cocktail, really are the most important things in the world to a hospitality business. Any business puts its very survival at risk when that basic tenet is overlooked or taken for granted. Customers must always feel welcomed, valued - loved even! Memorable experiences are built on genuine interactions. The goal is to create memorable experiences and be the destination of choice in Ponsonby.
So in a hospitality context, the proverb reminds us of the importance of those people on whom the ultimate success of the business will rest: the staff. Great food and a warm and inviting environment are not enough. A truly great restaurant is built on a strong and cohesive team able to draw on all their skills, experience and knowledge to recognise what it is that the customer is looking for - even if that customer isn’t quite able to articulate what that might be!
As any restaurateur will tell you, getting that ‘dream team’ working together, trusting each other and working seamlessly, whilst also conveying a calm and effortless efficiency is the holy grail of the restaurant trade.
Good people, really good people, are highly valued and always in great demand. So building that great team is only the beginning, the real ‘trick’ lies in keeping the team together, in the right place, moving in the same direction, at the right speed. For Restaurant Manager, Neha, “seeing our customers really enjoying their food and having a good time is one of the best parts of working at Mekong Baby.”
Six years on and Mekong Baby continues to thrive, in large part due to the efforts of the brilliant and dedicated team of most important people who, day after day, night after night, bring Dominique’s vision to life.
“The unmistakeable buzz” of Mekong Baby in full flight was what brought recently arrived bar manager and self-proclaimed cocktail supremo Marcin Kulak through the doors. With 17 year's experience as bartender, cocktail ‘mixologist’ Marcin reckoned “even the busiest London eateries can’t compare with what we have here.”
Marcin’s favourite cocktail of the moment is the Chilli and Guava Margarita. "A timeless classic with a Mekong twist."
Chilli and Guava Margarita
45ml chilli tequila
Shake and double strain into martini glass
Carefully sugar rim and garnish with chilli head
It’s appropriate to leave the last word to another Mekong Baby staff member, Courtney Rupe, “I simply love coming to work every day because we have such a great team. And did I mention the delicious food..?”