Lee Dinsdale interviews Duane Lineker, partner at O Beach Ibiza
Lee: This is the Logros Show Making Ibiza Series and we are live here in O Beach with one of the partners Duane Lineker, how’s is going Duane?
Duane: Good to be here.
Lee: Thank you very much for joining us. I was just saying off air you’ve been recommended to speak to, since everybody we’ve been speaking to here for the making Ibiza Series said you’re a great guy and good operator here in Ibiza so looking forward to hearing your story.
Duane: Thank you very much that’s nice to hear. Let’s see if I can live up to that mantle.
Lee: For the purpose of everybody listening we’re going to be finding out about the story of O Beach. Where did it start from and what your involvement is here. We’re going to be talking about entrepreneurship as well and also for all you holiday makers looking to come to Ibiza for 2021 what’s in store at O Beach and in some of the other businesses as well you have.
So just a little bit of an intro, where are you from?
Duane: I’m Duane Lineker; I’m one of the partners at O Beach. I have been in Ibiza 12 years now so I certainly call it home. Originally born in Leicester but kind of moved out from there when I was 10 down to London, then to Spain since I was like 16 so I’ve been in Spain, Marbella for a while then to Ibiza and now 12 years here. Been going with O Beach now, I think it’s going into our ninth season so very excited and just hopefully we can get a proper season this year and not something like what 2020 was.
Lee: Let’s get into what you were doing when you were 16, 17 years old before you got to Ibiza?
Duane: I was trying to become a professional golfer which is a very different career path to running beach clubs and bars in Ibiza. I went to uni in America at 17 trying to become a pro golfer via that route and never quite made it. I realised I wasn’t quite good enough at 18 and thankfully I had a great family business to walk into and my dad was in need of a family member to step in so I went to Marbella and Ayia Napa to help run the bars there and never looked back from being in the hospitality industry from that really.
Lee: So was it going to Lineker’s then?
Duane: Linekers in Ayia Napa’s firstly when I was literally 18 and then down to Marbella after that for the winter there. I stayed there for eight years and kind of helped run the bars. We had five bars down there at that stage and it was a quite a big task for an 18 year old stepping into some big bars and big industry you know.
Lee: What was life like then when you’re 18 in those bars on holiday?
Duane: Well I wasn’t on holiday I was working and I’ve always been able to kind of separate work and holiday which is one of the reasons maybe I’ve been reasonably successful so far and been able to keep level headed. You can lose yourself in that environment at 18, 19. Don’t get me wrong I had some wild nights and friends come over and you get kind of a bit carried away but no it was a great time and really good fun working and living in Marbella and around the bars and learning a lot as well. I was like assistant manager or looking after my dad’s in investments down there and learning a lot as an 18 year old in that situation.
Lee: I guess you were pretty young then being thrust into that kind of role.
When you think back to that experience what are some of the key things that you learned there about managing such a size of operation?
Duane: I think just making sure that you’ve got good people around you as well. Obviously my dad had business partners down there. Paul who’s still his business partner now taught me a lot in terms of making sure I was on top of staff and watching everything that was going on and understanding the atmosphere of them sort of places as well. Making sure that the staff are happy enjoying themselves, but also not taking it too far because in this industry in the bars we want the staff to have fun we want them to enjoy themselves; we don’t mind them having a couple of drinks with clients and stuff but there’s a level that they can get to and if they step one step too far then it can go wrong quite easily.
Lee: I can imagine in Ibiza it is quite similar?
Duane: Yeah and that lesson I learnt there has definitely transcended to Ibiza and even more so obviously the temptation in Ibiza and the kind of well we’ll say 18-hour party operation that Ibiza runs now is very tempting especially for first-time workers in Ibiza . You have to explain to them and they have to go out and enjoy themselves but the reason they’re here is to work and the work is keeping them here financially and legally so it’s important that they know when to turn it on and when to turn it off and when’s work and when’s play.
Lee: I think that advice goes with you throughout whatever age you are.
Duane: I think so. I think Some people are still trying to learn it for example my dad he’s not sure when to turn it off and turn it on and maybe Tony my business partner but this is certainly a good lesson to learn.
Lee: Shout out to Tony Truman. It was Tony who hooked us up here with the interview so if you’re just joining us this is the sounds of Dwayne Lineker who’s one of the partners here at O Beach. So we’ve had a quick short story of what you were doing at 16,17 and now we’re going to hear more about what’s happening in terms of O Beach and all the other businesses. Firstly just describe or tell us all the businesses that you’re involved with in here in San Antonio?
Duane: Well not just San Antonio, in Ibiza in general. Within the group we’ve got ten businesses so O Beach, last year we opened Bam Bu Ku, we’ve got Lineker’s bar which is my family’s named bar sports and sports bar but with music and has a great atmosphere there to watch the football obviously got the Euros coming up this year which was meant to be last year but, with everything going on it got delayed a year so that’s exciting for Linekers. We’ve got Itaca which is a beach restaurant bar which does events as well at night and got a license till five in the morning so it becomes like a mini little club at night as well and has some great events on. We’ve got Skinny Kitchen which is a health food restaurant around the port of San; really good healthy food a lot of vegan elements on the menu. We’ve got STK which is on the other side of the island Marina Botafoch so it’s a really high-end steak restaurant, really high-energy dining; a lot of great musicians playing there and things like that, dancers so it’s a good fun venue to go to a bit later in the evening. Coming back to O Beach and Bam Bu Ku which opened last year, a family orientated beach club which there wasn’t anything really similar to that on the island. You can bring your kids and drop them off with our nanny’ s who will look after the kids for a few hours while you as an adult go and enjoy your lunch without kids pulling your hair and screaming and everything so that’s a really good family style beach club.
Lee: Do you think Ibiza is then moving more towards families as well in terms of looking at what they are offering because I know Bam Bu Ku was something new that came up this year in San Antonio?
Duane: I think it’s always had a family side to it I mean a bit further North, La Siesta, Santa Eulalia even in Playa D’en Bossa actually one of the biggest family hotels there White Island, there’s quite a good offering for families. There still needs to be more I mean we’re lucky in probably a couple of good water parks but the beaches are fantastic here. There is a lot to do for families; there’s still great venues the food obviously is fantastic on the island so I still think there’s enough for families to do. It’s certainly a place that my friends and their families love coming and really enjoy the island so definitely got enough for families to come.
Lee: Okay and then the big one O Beach 2021. Is there anything you can reveal based on information that you have so far?
Duane: We’re very excited. Obviously last year was such a difficult year and we did get open. We were open for the majority of the season from first of July until I think 20th of august 20th September or so. This year we’re opening on the 21st of May and just to coincide with hopefully the UK lifting the travel restrictions I think that’s on the 17th so most of the holiday tour companies are starting their flights around that 17th, 20th sort of mark so we’ve timed it hopefully with that as well as obviously lifting the restrictions in the Balearics and Spain in general. Hopefully by then the vaccination drive will have gone a lot further in the Balearics and with that the restrictions slowly will become lifted. We’re not sure exactly where they’re going to be yet but we know for sure that it’s going to be a lot better than last year and with the testing solutions and things for travel and everything it’s going to be a lot quicker a lot more streamlined and hopefully a lot more fun for everyone that comes.
Lee: Yes absolutely so if you’re just joining us this is the making Ibiza Series and we are joined here by Duane Lineker who’s one of the partners of O Beach here in San Antonio. We’re going to be finding out a little bit more about what it’s like being involved in O Beach some of the plans for 2021 and also if you’re looking to come out to Ibiza or indeed out to the Balearics to work Dwayne’s going to give an update of what information there is so far because depending on what the Brexit rules are so on and so forth. So this is the Logros Show and a shout out to Tony Truman as well who set us up with the interview. If you’re just joining us we’ve been talking about Dwayne’s earlier history and the different businesses that the Lineker family have involved and also with his partners and now we’re going to find out, if you’re coming to O Beach what are you going to expect?
Duane: You are going to expect to have a lot of fun; I think that’s the main thing. People save up a lot a lot of their hard-earned money to come here to enjoy themselves in Ibiza and O Beach is thankfully one of the to-do’s in Ibiza and on a lot of people’s lists and I think when they come here they need to be surprised and wowed by the experience and hopefully we supply that. Obviously, the venue is a very beautiful with amazing service which is one of the most important keys to our success and the approachability of the staff, the communication and the show that they kind of put on for the guests. The entertainment we provide as well is second to none. We’ve got an amazing production team that creates some weird and wacky and wonderful props and events and shows that kind of go with the ambience of the music and obviously taking some cocktails under the amazing Balearic sun. I think you’re just going to have a full day experience eating some amazing food, drinking some great cocktails and being with your friends in a great environment.
Lee: Sounds great and usually on the Logros Show and even in the making Ibiza Series we ask about opinions depending on what kind of business you’re in and certainly you’ve been in the hospitality leisure industry for a while, and so the question to you is, what in your opinion makes a great hospitality business ? What are the key values that you want to make sure you’re providing?
Duane: I think the first one certainly in hospitality is customer service and making sure that the clients aren’t wanting for anything that they would expect to receive in a venue such as O Beach or STK or Linekers. Atmosphere in hospitality is key as well making sure that there’s a pleasurable high energy atmosphere and somewhere you’d want to come back or want to tell your friends to go to.
Lee: For sure and I think Ibiza has quite a few Instagram able places doesn’t it?
Duane: I think we’re lucky to have such beautiful beaches and the islands look and feel is amazing. We have some iconic venues like Pacha and the Ushuaia and ourselves, Destino, there are some amazing venues.
Lee: With running such a sizeable operation here, for everybody listening who may be in the hospitality industry what would you say are some of the key challenges that you face and how do you overcome them?
Duane: Well we were talking before and having usually 350 staff, I think the key is having good staff. A good hierarchy around you making sure that the problems are solved as quickly as they come around and obviously with having that many staff there is a lot of problems that come. Everyone’s individual and likes things differently. Everyone expects their own personal treatment and their personal way and to be able to accommodate everyone you need some really good senior managers and supervisors .Thankfully so far we think we’ve got that and I rely on them heavily so I think recruitment is a really big, big important factor in anyone’s success.
Lee: Okay we’ve been hearing about your story of coming through from originally wanting to be involved in golf then coming here to Ibiza and haven’t been back since so a familiar story to many people. Now there are a lot of questions being asked about the rules now with wanting to go working overseas. I know you’ve got a big British contingent; what can you share so far – what do you know?
Duane: It’s been quite difficult to find out exactly what happens after Brexit in terms of employing British employees in Spain in general because we’ve got businesses across Spain so we’ve been trying to find out and it has been very difficult. We’ve actually got someone that’s thankfully got through the first step which was getting an appointment at the consulate in the UK to try and become a resident in Spain. It’s different if you’ve already worked in Spain or if you’ve already got an NIE from previous years and NIE numbers like national insurance number. So if anyone is lucky enough to have worked in Spain or got one of those numbers then the process is a lot more simple you can just come back to Spain with that card, then get offered an employment job and be able to then apply for your residency based on that employment or contracts of work or contract of living abode rental contract et cetera. If you are new to the whole thing and haven’t got an NIE the process is a lot more difficult currently. We are hearing rumours that because the great relationship that Spain and the UK have as two countries and a lot of Spanish go to work in the UK in the hospitality industry and then obviously a lot of British do the same coming to Spain to spend seasons, we are hearing that there may be in the future a let up on the Brexit rules just for these two countries. My sister’s actually going through the process at the moment and it is very difficult. It’s actually the same as if we was American, Australian or Taiwanese to get a visa in Spain and then to be able to work from being British you have to put a lot of money into a bank account, you have to have a rental contract or a job offer. So yes it’s a very difficult process at the moment; it’s not exactly clear how that can be done if you’re completely new to it and I think this year our business won’t be looking to employ anyone British that hasn’t worked for us in the past or hasn’t worked in Spain in the past because the process is just going to be too difficult this summer with the coronavirus restrictions and travel restrictions that’s in place at the minute as well which is not helping anything.
Lee: Okay so that’s the current news but that can change I guess at any time do you think?
Duane: As I say we have been hearing rumours and usually there’s no smoke without fire. There are conversations happening that something may be announced in April or May whereas there’s a short-term work visa option without going for all the processes of opening bank accounts and putting large deposits in bank accounts to create some visa or anything so hopefully in the short term that will find a solution.
Lee: So for everybody listening who may want to come work in Spain or indeed want to come to O Beach the first question is what do you look for in terms of your staff and also how do they go about doing that?
Duane: Well we usually set up recruitment weekends and recruitment drives in the UK and everyone applies online. We’ve got an online platform on our website obeachibiza.com, anyone can apply for a job obviously in various categories depending if you want to become a chef, a waiter a dancer or anything or a DJ. So that’s the way to apply and normally we would set up interviews and things like that but as I said this year’s with the restrictions in place and with probably a little bit less capacity than normal we’re not going to be recruiting highly. There are still jobs available but it’s going to be a lot more difficult but in the long term hopefully once this situation and Brexit kind of clears itself up then we will be recruiting again and we’ll be looking for some very talented staff some energetic, fun-loving and dedicated. I think you’ve got to be dedicated and honest as well as having that entire sort of rapport with clients and experience as well is obviously very important coming into a highly busy venue. You can’t just kind of walk in and know the ropes straight away so experience from the UK is great.
Lee: That’s brilliant so be dedicated, honest and have some experience. Thinking back to when you were 16, 17, 18, what advice would you be giving to younger people these days in terms of education, training, further employment?
Duane: Well I think trying to gain as much experience as possible in whatever setting you do even if that is taking maybe a job that isn’t quite what you had in mind but it will lead on to better things. If you’ve got more experience than someone that’s maybe got more qualifications as well. I’ve never been one that looks at a CV and looks at qualifications first I’m more inclined to look at experience first so it doesn’t really matter to me if you’ve got A levels and A stars and things like that. The interview process as well if you can portray that in an interview rather than on a piece of paper or CV that’s going to get you a long way as well.
Lee: Great so again just reiterating, hard work, experience as well so it’s not always about academic results. Find out more about getting work experience if you’ve not done so already.
For people who haven’t been to Ibiza before how would you firstly describe the island and then after that lets get into your top tips of things to do and restaurants and beaches and so on and so forth?
Duane: Well I’m a massive fan of the island that’s why I’ve chose to put my life here. As I say I’ve had my marriage here, built my house here, got my two daughters born here so it certainly feels like home now. I think when you’re coming to Ibiza for the first time I think there’s always so much excitement about coming to Ibiza I mean every plane that lands here there’s that clap that goes down and people that live on the island are like it’s getting a bit old now but it just shows the shows the enthusiasm and the excitement that people put in to come into Ibiza. That’s because I think the island just has a special energy and I know that sounds gimmicky or cheesy but I really think it does but I think that’s part of it the anticipation to come to Ibiza is part of that energy. I think that obviously as a destination and for people that don’t know you can probably drive around the island in three hours, everywhere seems to be 20 minutes from the centre of the island or anywhere you want to go is 20 minutes but I mean to do the perimeter of the island probably take you three hours.
You could actually probably walk it in just over 24 I reckon so it’s small but it’s just got high quality offerings but affordable offerings as well. You can come here with a budget of 50 euros a day or you can come here with a budget of 5 million euros a day and I think some of the wealthiest people in the world choose to holiday here so that must mean something. In terms of the gastronomy of the island it is fantastic we have some amazing restaurants some of the best restaurants in my opinion in the world maybe not Michelin star style but for quality of food and entertainment and backdrops and settings there’s some stunning places. Obviously the nightclubs speak for themselves they’ve always been the kind of key driver and factor in Ibiza’s success and music , it’s always been an electronic music hub and obviously some of the biggest name DJ’s or all of the biggest name DJ’s generally have a residency here once on the island weekly or monthly. I think that it’s got everything and then obviously you add into the daytime the beaches are stunning the waters so crystal clear, Formentera which is obviously a small island off of the coast of Ibiza but is connected in so many ways and the boat takes 20 minutes to get there. You’ll see no sea in the world like it and I’m thankful I’m lucky enough to have been to the Maldives and some other fantastic places in the Caribbean but the Formentera water is unbeatable.
Lee: Okay this sounds a great description. What are your top three beaches or restaurants for people who might like to come and google and have a look at those places?
Duane: As I say there’s some fantastic gastronomy on the island and locally I think we have some really good local food. Es Boldado is like a little hidden gem that I love to go with my family. it’s not pretentious it’s very local and very down to earth but some great fish and paellas and local cuisine from there overlooking the backdrop of Es Vedrà which is a stunning rock formation that comes out on the west coast of the island. Then you’ve got places like Lío which is unbeatable and unforgetful and so memorable if you’ve ever had the chance to go there; it’s a very, very expensive restaurant but if you’ve got enough money to do it then it is worth every penny because you will never forget that experience. Then obviously I’ll probably big up one of my own and say STK quality of food and service and the entertainment again is impeccable so I’ll big up them three.
Lee: Brilliant thank you this is the making of Ibiza Series and I think finally last question for you is what do you think makes of Ibiza?
Duane: I think I’ve probably described it; I’ve put my heart out there for it so we’re very lucky with the people that live here and the atmosphere that everyone creates. It is a little community, a little family and I think anyone that comes here generally will speak praise of it and I don’t think there’s many people that have got bad words to say about Ibiza so I highly recommended it if you can get here.
Lee: Thank you very much for joining us and 2021 wish you all the best.
Duane: Thank you we’re going to need it, there’s a long road ahead but we’ll get there. I’m sure we’ll have lots of smiling faces enjoying the beach club very soon.
Lee: Okay right brilliant thank you thank you very much everyone for listening this is the Logros Show and this is making the Ibiza Series.
What is this Interview About?
The story of O Beach
Lineker’s family businesses in Ibiza
Working in the family business
Places to visit in Ibiza
Who May Be Interested In This Article?
Those wishing to work in hospitality in Ibiza
Anyone wanting to come to Ibiza on holiday
Those wanting to know if Ibiza is a family friendly holiday destination
Making Ibiza is a series of Live FM radio shows broadcast from different locations in Ibiza with people who work in Ibiza from the world of Business, Culture and Wellbeing.
More interviews here: www.unityradio.fm/making-ibiza