Case study: HR mentoring

Two colleagues drinking tea with mugs to accompany a blog about HR mentoring

Established in 2016 and based in London, Bar Douro  is a Portuguese restaurant and wine bar employing over 30 staff across two sites. It is run by its founder Max, who spent his childhood in Portugal and was inspired by the family wine business. Its mission is to “share the spirit of Portugal with the UK through honest food, characterful wines and celebration of cultural stories.

The challenge

When Bespoke HR was first introduced to the Bar Douro team, there was no in-house HR resource. Instead, the management team had been dealing with recruitment and staffing themselves, on top of the day to day running of the business. This had inevitably resulted in the team becoming consumed with HR related tasks, particularly with the opening of a second restaurant site.  

It was quickly identified that in addition to the outsourced strategic support from Bespoke HR, there was a great deal of HR admin required which didn’t make sense to outsource.  Bespoke HR advised recruiting an HR Officer. The role would be based within the business, but supported and mentored by the Nicky Mori, Managing Consultant at Bespoke HR. The long-term strategy would be to develop the officer to gradually grow and develop responsibilities alongside the business.

The solution

Nicky recruited and onboarded Ana Laura Gomez as HR Officer in 2022. Nicky’s role was to act as a mentor but also to provide a strategic support system and help develop the role. 

Over the past two years, HR mentoring has involved:

  • Face to face meetings once a month to discuss issues and review performance.
  • Challenging decisions and ensuring that they align with the business strategy.
  • Identifying any skills gaps and mapping a clear progression route for Ana.
  • Providing an advice line for any challenges as and when they occur.
  • To mediate between operations and HR – ensuring that the values and KPIs are aligned.
  • Ensuring efficiency and best practice from all HR outputs.


Having an in-house resource has saved the Bar Douro team time and resource with the day-to-day HR tasks taken care of. Ana has been able to get to know the business and develop alongside it, but with the reassurance of support from Nicky and Bespoke HR. Two years later, and Ana is on her way to becoming HR Manager for the business. This will see her resume more of the strategic HR work and build up an in-house HR function for the business.

Working with an HR mentor from Bespoke HR has been brilliant. When you’re a sole in-house practitioner, it brings peace of mind to know you have the backup of a team of outsourced HR consultants. I’ve been able to access advice and guidance when I need it, which frees up my time to focus on my role.

Ana Laura Gomez

HR Officer , Bar Douro

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Written by:

Emma Mackley
Marketing Manager - Emma has worked in marketing and PR for over 20 years in a variety of public and private sector roles. After having children, Emma set up her own freelance PR and social media consultancy working with a range of B2B clients including exhibition organisers and trade associations