Bristol Audi’s Constant Striving for Excellence Chimes with The Chefs’ Forum Approach of Finding New Talent
Bristol Audi were one of the first major sponsors of The Chefs’ Forum. Steve Smith, Head of Business at the centre in Cribbs Causeway, explains why his company’s constant striving for excellence chimes with The Chefs’ Forum approach of finding new talent, and also reveals the two Bristol sporting and dining figures who inspire him.
Bristol Audi were one of the first sponsors of The Chefs’ Forum, what made you want to get involved?
Being a proud Bristolian I am aware of the growth and interest in the “eating out” scene in Bristol and especially the fine dining element.
This seems to go from strength to strength and now, in an area which has been void of this level of cuisine and service for some years, many Bristol restaurants and hotels are industry leaders.
When you consider what the Audi brand stands for in terms of technical excellence, unprecedented levels of customer service and choice and a desire to develop and train the best staff it just seemed a perfect fit to support The Chefs’ Forum. The forum works to promote and train the future talent and bring producers, suppliers, equipment providers and the finest chefs and hospitality staff together in the South West (and beyond) and that’s something we can identify with.
Can you tell us a bit about your approach to business, in particular customer service?
The motor industry, like the hospitality and dining sector, is very competitive and having the best product is no longer enough.
When dining at a Michelin star restaurant the food has to be excellent but the difference is the service and experience which often means a memorable out-of-the-norm experience.
It is the same with us; deliver a great product and great service with a difference and it becomes an experience people want to talk about, a positive memory.
One of the greatest comments I hear is “great I didn’t expect that”.
Do you see any similarities between your line of work, and high-quality catering?
Yes. Delivering on your promise and creating fans of what you do is what creates long-lasting loyalty from your customers.
How do you build, and maintain, relationships with other Bristol businesses and what are the advantages of those?
We try and purchase anything we can locally and we have great links with businesses who support us by buying our cars.
But above all we get involved with local projects and support local charities and communities wherever we can. This comes from local knowledge and awareness and again this is another way The Chefs’ Forum has helped in terms of making connections.
Who inspires you, and why?
This list could be endless in both business and personally but the first two names are Stephen Lansdown and Jonray Sanchez Iglesias.
Stephen’s business success fuelled his passion for Bristol sport and his relentless drive to achieve something locally with the Bristol sport community is unrivalled worldwide and will one day be the model for the world of sport and its connection to local businesses to follow.
Jonray, of Casamia fame, is someone else who inspired me. He and his brother Pete had a dream of what technical fine dining should be and despite many setbacks they achieved greatness in our city. More importantly his drive to continue this through life-ending illness right to the end will always be an inspiration to me, especially the way his family were galvanised to continue his dream despite the tragedy of his loss.
What advice would you give anyone who wanted to work for Audi, or a similar company?
Recognise why you want to work there and make sure you have the drive and passion which matches or exceeds what that company stands for. Above all, motivate yourself to succeed every day. A company worth giving this commitment to will put its team first, safe in the knowledge that they in turn will put the customers first – a recipe for success in any industry.