Brendan and Jenny O’Loughlin, IrelandBrendan and Jenny O’Loughlin are general managers of the public inn, The Cat with No Tail, which forms part of Heron and Brearley (H&B) and Okells Inns Estate in the Isle of Man.
The couple met on the Island after both individually relocating from Ireland in the mid-1990s. Both began their journey working with the H&B Group as bar staff, progressing to supervisors after quickly learning the trade, and have been valued employees of the public inn group ever since.
Jenny explains what drew her and Brendan to the Isle of Man, how they met and fell in love on the Island, created a family, and achieved their dreams of managing a pub in the process.
Brendan and I found the Isle of Man through friends and family; Brendan was visiting a close friend for a weekend and after falling in love with the Island’s charm, decided to stay on permanently!
My sisters had recently moved across from Ireland, and it was through a chance meeting while I was visiting, that I met Brendan – the rest they say is history!
Neither Brendan or I had any experience in the hospitality or pub trade before we moved here, but it was something that had always interested us; we are both outgoing people, and enjoy face to face interaction, having both worked in customer-facing roles, so it wasn’t a huge leap for us.
We secured our first job at The Queens, a local pub based on the central promenade in Douglas. The H&B Group were looking for bar staff after the pub’s recent refurbishment and we were immediately taken under the wings of the existing supervisors who taught us everything.
The H&B Group were supportive from the get-go. When it came to training and experience, we were given every chance to progress our career, and quickly had the opportunity to become relief managers for The Prospect and The Cat with no Tail. It is thanks to the incredible support and coaching from our mentors, that we became full managers of another pub in the chain, O’Donnells, within the year.
Over the next five years we had our two children, and I decided to take some time out and enjoy watching my young girls grow up. I must admit, I did miss work and the H&B family dearly, not to mention our customers; many of whom we became friends with.
In 2013 I decided to rejoin the group and was delighted to find the same level of support and attention still available. We’ve been at The Cat with No Tail ever since, which has a focus on food and family. Myself, Brendan, and my team, all have an incredible work-life balance - it really is a lifestyle, and not a job!
The H&B Group have been incredibly supportive both on a professional and personal level. Not only have they invested in a huge amount of training for us, but they’ve given us the opportunity to work for a range of pubs in the group, across a variety of positions. Not only that, but they were also encouraging of me in taking a career break to raise my family. So much so, that one of our daughters now works alongside us, becoming one of the group’s youngest Designated Officials – a true family from top to bottom!