Dale sizzles in the kitchen

When Dale took on a part-time temporary Christmas bar job at Wetherspoons (Metrocentre, Gateshead) in 1998, he never dreamed that it would be the start of a long career.

The then graphic design student stayed on after the Christmas season, as the pub was looking for permanent bar staff – and has never looked back.

In December 2023, Newcastle-born Dale celebrated 25 years with the company at his current pub, The Keel Row, where he has worked as a kitchen manager for more than five years.

Dale is pictured with his pub manager Karen and area manager John.

Dale, 44, recalled: “Not long after deciding to stay on, I was asked whether I would like to be cross-trained… to be able to work on the bar and in the kitchen.

“I remember my first shift in the kitchen – a couple of staff members had left, and I was really thrown in at the deep end.

“I was offered a pay increase and promotion to team leader, to remain on the kitchen team, which I accepted, working my way up in the kitchen and, when I finished university, going full time.”

Dale Royal, Kitchen manager

Dale moved on to The Quayside as a kitchen team leader, running the kitchen for a year or so, before being promoted to kitchen manager.

That was more than 20 years ago.

He also had spells at several other Wetherspoon pubs in Newcastle, including Union Rooms (now closed) and The Mile Castle.

Dale admitted: “When I started with the company, I didn’t have a plan.

“I was really getting through university and seeing where things went.

“When the opportunity came up, going full time with Wetherspoon really made my decision for me.

“There was no real formal training, like there is now – it really was learning on the job.

“I still remember those early days at the Metrocentre and realise how many changes and improvements I have seen in the past 25 years.

“Then, the company was more bar orientated, but now food is a huge part of the business.”

He added: “The job is always challenging. It is hard work to hit and maintain the high standards expected, but you have to give it your best.”

Dale concluded: “It is a good job – and I don’t see myself working anywhere else.”

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