15 questions with Diarmuid Keating, Head of Food Services

Diarmuid Keating

We are delighted to introduce our new Head of Food Services, Diarmuid Keating. Diarmuid joined the team in 2021. Diarmuid has extensive experience in all facets of catering, from managing large single-site businesses to overseeing franchises with almost 20 premises.

Having worked for a variety of well-known employers, and in a diverse range of professions, he has a broad knowledge of the commercial catering industry. This know-how and insight will be invaluable in growing the commercial catering offering for Neylons.

Thank you for your time Diarmuid

  1. Why did you choose to work with Neylons?

My first interview with Maria and Colin highlighted to me that Neylons was a company with a set of values that cares for its employees. This was further embedded in my second interview which included Sylvie. In my experience, I have seen companies claim to have a set of values and behaviours as more of a tick box exercise (it’s like the Mona Lisa without the smile) but to witness it live and in practice, by the owner, Sylvie is a rare find which I wanted to be part of.

  1. What does a typical week look like for you?

No two days are the same and my week usually starts on a Monday morning with a sales meeting. From attending meetings with clients, business development, processes to improve our food service delivery, supporting managers with their catering operations to the implementation of projects to help realise the opportunities and the commercial potential of our catering business.

  1. How would you describe your job to a bunch of kids?

My job is to support a team of great people working in Neylons and our clients in my role as Head of Food Services for the catering part of the business. Helping to ensure we source the best ingredients and deliver quality safe food to our customers. If we do this right, we get a good name for our catering which will help get us more catering outlets to run.

  1. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

Helping colleagues to develop skills to reach their full potential and developing trusting relationships with our clients to win new catering contracts as the end result.

  1. What is one of the career lessons you’ve learned so far?

People must be treated as individuals. Always acknowledge their importance and show them respect. They’re people first, employees second. Superior work must be encouraged, recognised, and rewarded. Everyone responds to expectations. If you treat people as if they are capable and smart—and get out of the way—that’s exactly how they’ll perform. People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.

  1. Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

My Father and Mother gave me the desire and passion for working in the Hospitality business as they have worked in hotels all their lives. Together with my aunts and uncles as chefs and managers, they operated the Victoria Hotel in Cork which gave me a strong grounding for a career in the Hospitality sector.

  1. What would be three words to best describe you?

Trustworthy, confident and loyal

  1. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I was trained in close protection security.

I climb Slemish Mountain every year on St. Patrick’s day.

I did volunteer work for the homeless when I was in London and St Vincent DePaul Ireland.

  1. What do you like to do on your days off?

Spending quality time with my family and friends. Hillwalking and I’m an avid reader of books. Listening to classical music.

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The ability to get rid of world hunger.

  1. What is on your bucket list?

To do a round-the-world trip following the routes taken by Michael Palin.

Follow Route66 from Chicago to Los Angeles riding a Harley Davidson.

Go to a live Andre Rieu Christmas concert in Maastricht.

  1. What is your hidden talent?

I completed a decorative plasterwork course to make ornamental moulds, cornices, centrepieces, corbels etc, and using these skills I helped restore Ormond Castle which is an Elizabethan Manor House located in Carrick on Suir in Tipperary.

  1. Motto or personal mantra?

Be quick to admit mistakes and slow to criticize. Above all, be constructive.

  1. What tv show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?

Every Christmas with the risk of annoying my family  I love playing the movie It’s a wonderful life made in 1946 starring James Stewart.

The message I think it conveys is That sometimes we need to follow our dreams, but if it doesn’t happen, good things can come from it. The support of our family and friends can lead and sustain us through challenging times.

  1. You are happiest when…?

I can make a difference in a positive way for the people I meet to help make their lives better.