Bartenders in the making

Spirit Lab’s owner and Director, Emanuele Mancini, opens up about their role in the hospitality industry and what makes them stand out amongst the numerous training schools in the UK.

1. Tell me a little bit about Spirit Lab.

“We focus on high-quality training for five-star establishments. After Brexit – and COVID – we have been receiving a high demand for qualified staff in order to make up for the many losses of the last few years.

“Hotel groups and other big companies have been reaching out to us to find the right fit for their venues, probably short on time and resources to carry on with in-house training while still catching up with the consequences of both the pandemic and Brexit.

“We are trying to help and support hospitality by being the link between these groups and the new recruits, tailoring our offers according to our clients’ needs.”

2. How did you get into the drinks industry?

“I almost got into it as a game, all the way back in 2004-2005. I was studying Marketing and started working as a bartender to earn some pocket money; I have always had a passion for this industry.

“I ended up travelling a lot, which I always loved doing, and worked in Australia and Dubai for a while. I then came back to London where I worked at Café Royal in Piccadilly, and that’s when I got the first idea for Spirit Lab – the food and beverage manager wanted the senior staff to mould the junior staff in order to develop their skills at 360* within the bar and hotel.”

3. What are your goals for 2022?

“The industry is still recovering. On one hand, there is a desire of being able to offer premium service; on the other, there isn’t enough man-power to satisfy the numbers.

“We want to revive the world of hospitality, and I’d like for us to gain more visibility and continue the journey we started seven years ago.

“Our biggest achievement is seeing our students earning their qualifications and go on to make a career for themselves, growing into their role while performing to the high standards we prepare them for, and recovering their tuition fee investment as soon as the third month of their employment.”

4. What makes Spirit Lab stand out?

“We are family. We try and give our company a unique touch, and we work hard to give our students a proper training with valid qualifications.

“I am trying to give Sprit Lab a certain style; I like having a very personal approach, and we have very small classes so that we can truly teach them everything they need to know. Not only that, but we care about our students so much, that we try and keep in touch with them even after they leave us.

“In the future, I’d like to branch out, but we will always be focusing on quality over quantity.”

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