Delivers Excellence in Customer Service & Gourmet Cuisine
Ben Welch, The Food & Beverage Manager at The Manor House Restaurant here at Poplar Springs Inn & Spa, loves this industry. Recently, Welch joined the Poplar Springs team and with 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, he’s excited to make his mark here.
“Poplar Springs has brought me back to why I got into privately owned, higher hospitality. The mantra here is treat every guest like a VIP, because they are. We have regulars that have been supportive beyond what you would expect in this industry. Our guests enjoy visiting with us and are like extended family and dear friends. I am pleased to be back in this type of environment,” explains Welch.
“I appreciate the camaraderie amongst the staff and management. I have a different management style; it’s about treating your staff, as well as you treat your guests. We work in a demanding industry and we have to enjoy who we work with because we become a family. I love watching the progression of each individual person. I am an extension of our managers and staff. We all work collaboratively. We work with everyone. I appreciate the staff and the owners and I instill the mission of excellence throughout.”
Welch shares that his mentors were an important part of his career development and ideology, “My old Clubhouse Managers from RTJ, Henning Iversen and Steve Pluta, were very inspiring to me. They blended the work hard while having fun mentality more than any manager I ever worked with. I was lucky enough to work with them and pull wisdom from our experience to help mold my own management style.”
His career includes amazing positions in the industry ranging from the “Mom and Pop” locales to the private, prestigious Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. “I was a Chef for years before I moved into management. I truly love food and still get the ‘itch’ to jump on the line and prepare a dish – every once in awhile I still get that chance.
He describes “anticipation, execution and exceed” as the three objectives for making guests’ experiences phenomenal. Welch describes that all the staff he manages will “anticipate our guests needs. We want to know what they will eat, or what their favorite dish is. I want our guests to be offered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc that would pair nicely with the herb and panko encrusted chèvre cheese and pomegranates they select.”
When describing what he means by execution, Welch states, “Our staff will ensure the promises made will be executed. By exceed, I wish that all of our customers’ experiences exceeds expectations. We have to offer customer service that is exceptional. All of our team wants to ensure all guests have special moments with us. For celebrations like an anniversary, our staff will help you create the memorable evening visitors delight in, such as a bottle of red wine, a box of chocolates or a split of champagne in the room. Or, maybe a table next to the fireplace with a special dessert from Executive Pastry Chef Maggie. We want to include the ‘wow’ factor for you.”
How does Welch create the perfect atmosphere in The Manor House Restaurant? “Attention to detail is the key. Knowing what direction the sun will shine in the windows and know that you don’t want the clients facing that direction,” shared Ben. “Both the taste and presentation mirror the motto impeccably.” Welch offered this advice to individuals seeking a career in this industry, “The biggest ‘tip’ I can give is first, make sure it is what you want to do. This profession is demanding of your time, energy and patience. But, this industry will reward you with a comfortable living, a plethora of friends, colleagues, and business connections and most importantly a feeling of accomplishment.”
Outside of the professional realm, Welch enjoys reading. It is a favorite hobby of his. “I am a fan of history – from the Aztecs and Mayans of South America and the Lost City of Z; to the American Revolution and the deep rooted American history. I have a strong passion for learning and continuing to exercise my mind.” One of his other hobbies (more like a past profession) is assisting in the development of culinary delights. Additionally, family time is important and he explained, “I enjoy spending time with my brother and his family. My one year old niece, Mads, is the cutest, most heart melting member of my life.”
Poplar offers a wide array of fine dining options. Since he is slightly biased about the fare that is served, Ben says, “I can’t choose just one menu item as my favorite. If I had to choose, I would have to partake in 3 courses – it’s the only way to explore the flavors of the menu.” Welch frequently refers to the 3 courses he enjoys as Chef Woody’s Signature Shrimp and Grits because “it is unbelievably mouth watering”. Next would be the Duo of Duck because the “crispy skin on the confit leg with the richness of the Seared Foie Gras on top of the creamy sweet potato purée finished with a sweet pomegranate reduction. It is unmatchable ,” describes Welch. He also recommends that guests save room to finish their culinary experience with Executive Pastry Chef Maggie’s Homemade Chocolate Brownies. “Something so simple but made with such passion and understanding of love that it seems so complex to the pallet,” Ben said when explaining this dessert amongst the multitude of amazing offerings.
During your next visit to The Manor House Restaurant, introduce yourself to Ben Welch and enjoy the discussions and his professional dedication to hospitality. Which is evident in his plans for creating memories and traditions for Poplar Springs guests while delivering a unique, quality experience – the true symbol of hospitality and Welch’s professional accolade.