A FORMER professional ballroom dancer is the new manager of Maison Blanc in Henley, writes Phil Simms.
Kat Tyler, 26, had previously spent four months as manager at the patisserie’s sister shop in Burford.
She said: “I came into the company as a general manager and I was posted here because it needed a new set of eyes.
“There is more going on in Henley — it has a larger customer base and business has been picking up through word of mouth since I have been here.”
Miss Tyler, who lives in Cowley, manages nine staff and says her number one priority is customer service. She said: “I am stripping everything back to basics and making sure all the staff know the steps to make our service excellent.
“This could be offering a second drink or just making sure the customers are okay — it is about raising the bar.”
She has encouraged free use of the first floor of the shop as a meeting place for community groups, including one for knitters.
“Of course they have the benefit of having the coffee shop downstairs,” she said.
Miss Tyler is originally from Perth, Australia, where she spent 15 years competing in ballroom and won three successive state championships. She was forced to retire when she injured her back after being accidentally dropped by her partner in a lift during a dance routine.
She became a barista and two years ago came to England on the advice of her brother who had moved to London when he was 16.
Miss Tyler said she enjoyed working in Henley, adding: “I like the community feel.”
* Maison Blanc is offering a 50 per cent discount on takeout purchases to Henley Standard readers. All you have to do to take up this offer is show a copy of this article when making your purchase. The offer is open until Thursday and valid for one redemption only. For more information, visit maisonblanc.co.uk