Shining star of Dundee’s Restaurants
Tina Wort of Dundee’s
Words by Stacey Carrick
Tina Wort is a true inspiration. Not only is she proudly in charge of two of the most popular and successful restaurants in Cairns — Dundee’s on the Waterfront and Dundee’s at the Cairns Aquarium, she is extremely motivational and full of life.
Tina was recognised for her leadership skills and her character as a finalist in the recent Cairns Business Women’s Club awards in the Manager in Business of the Year 2022 category.
“It was overwhelming to be nominated, yet at the same time rewarding; for something that I am truly passionate about,” she said.
“Just to be nominated amongst the other inspirational finalists made me feel like a winner. I think you should always be true to yourself and tell yourself that you are a winner and approach any situation with a positive mindset.”
Despite the hardships she faced as a child — dyslexia and sight difficulties — Tina is a successful leader, a role model to her staff and passionate about exceptional customer service and mouth-watering cuisine.
“From a young age, I learnt systems to get around my weaknesses,” she said.
“When I see people struggling, I love to help them because I understand what it’s like to struggle through life.
“You want to be treated normally, so you treat people the way you want to be treated.
“If you can’t handle something, don’t stress about it, work out a solution.
“I love working out systems with people so it will benefit them in their roles.
“It is because of the struggles I experienced as a child that I never turn a potential staff member away, everyone needs a chance to shine.
“At Dundee’s we give them just that — their chance to not only shine, but to grow and positively impact the world around them.”
Tina believes in personality as a key factor in the hospitality industry.
“In hospitality, 80 percent is your personality,” she said.
“I can teach anyone to carry three plates, or to put an order through the computer, it’s your personality that is the most important quality.
“Friendliness is extremely important, and really listening to what the customer wants.
“I love to have an inspirational chat to my staff, I love to sing to them, I am also hands-on, I will work beside my staff and wash dishes if I need to.”
Tina said Dundee’s is an icon in Far North Queensland, established in 1986 it has been a pioneering business, and key player in bringing FNQ to the domestic Australian and international markets.
“Dundee’s is like a family to me,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of friends through the restaurant.
“My husband James is the executive chef — he is my rock, he keeps the wheels in the kitchen turning. I’d be lost without him.”
Originally from New Zealand, Tina arrived in Australia in 1997.
In 2001 she applied for a position as a restaurant manager at Dundee’s.
“I was successful and have never looked back,” she said. “I am now the proud director and general manager of Dundee’s.”
Tina said freshness and quality of produce is very important. “We use the finest of Australian and local produce and we are committed to supporting local and Australian producers. The Dundee’s tagline says it all — “Flavours of Australia”.
Dundee’s even sponsors local sporting teams and are silver sponsors for the Cairns Jockey Club.
“We believe in atmosphere, menu choice, food quality and service,” Tina said.
“Some staff have been with us for more than 20 years, others are brand new. We love training, mentoring and aiding in the growth of each individual team member. We encourage them to reach their full potential and be the best that they can be, not only at Dundee’s but outside of work in their own lives.
“I could not have done this alone, it is the phenomenal team that I have had the privilege of working with that has allowed me to lead and manage them.
“If the past two years have shown me anything, I am proud that I continued to believe in myself, I have led from the front and despite the odds being against us, have remained positive. We have come out on the other side stronger than ever.
“As a leader, I believe that it is the leader’s commitment, compassion, motivation and forward thinking that contributes to the success of the business. In times of doubt, self belief is essential.
“In times of trouble, always lead from the front. In times of strife, remain positive and persevere.
“I also believe in living life every day like it’s your last, treating people the way you want to be treated and always kissing your loved ones when you go out the door and when you come home.”