Uisge Beatha at Òran Mór

Oran Mor exterior

Interview with Toni Howard, Restaurant Manager at Òran Mór, Glasgow.

Toni Howard has worked in the hospitality industry for over 17 years, gaining a wealth of experience and knowledge, both in the UK and abroad.

Òran Mór is a renowned destination venue in Glasgow’s bustling West End. In 2013, Toni, along with Bar Manager David Ogston and 4 other staff from Òran Mór, attended a Whisky Ambassador course which was held specifically for them at their venue by our Tutor, Kenny Macdonald.

How important is training and development in your business?

It’s extremely important to us. It equips staff to give better customer focus which encourages repeat business.

What prompted you to undertake the Whisky Ambassador programme?

We have over 350 whiskies but staff knowledge was fairly slim. We get lots of tourists coming in so being able to engage with customers and give advice and recommendations is the key to giving a better customer experience and maximising sales.

What were you hoping for when you did the training?

Quite simply – for better knowledge and understanding of the product we sell. We want our staff to be well-rounded and knowledgeable.

Did it match your expectations?


What did you think about the programme in general?

It was very informative and allowed us to know enough to sell more. We now understand the diversity of whisky, how key it is to the country’s economy and we have learnt some great stories that we can pass on to customers.

What differences in knowledge, confidence and behaviours have you seen since you all undertook the programme?

All staff that haven’t attended rely on those that have when asked for information by the customers. We are looking to ensure that ALL staff attend. It’s key to our sales.


How have your whisky sales improved?

We have had up to a five-fold increase as the staff are confident in suggesting different whiskies for the customers to try. This gives us the opportunity to sell more premium whiskies, so even if the customer doesn’t have any more drinks, they are spending more on the drinks they do buy. We have also noticed that customers are coming back to try the ones that they didn’t have on previous visits.


Customers are impressed that staff are so knowledgeable.


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