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How I got here

28 October 2004
How I got here

The expression "married to the job" is particularly pertinent for Icelandic-born Hreinn Agustsson, who met his wife, Marie, while working in the hospitality industry.

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In 2003 the Agustssons went to work at the Patio hotel, Clydebank, where he looked after the hotel's food and beverage department. While at the Patio he was teamed with current boss Lucy Franchi, which made his move to the new-build Glasgow Tulip Inn in July 2004 easier. The 144-bedroom hotel, which has three conference rooms, was built three years ago and is Agustsson's first taste of working at a new-build property. "It's great working somewhere new, as guests tend to be automatically happy with the product." He works, on average, nine hours a day; and with Marie working as front office manager, often on different shifts, the couple don't have to contend with living in each other's pockets. Agustsson has a lot of contact with the operational staff at the hotel, and although he concedes he's on his feet a lot, looking after the restaurant and bar with the food and beverage manager, he wouldn't have it any other way. "I like being involved and dealing with problems there and then," says Agustsson. "I guess it's the way I've always done things since moving from the kitchen to front of house." In fact, Agustsson's first love was cheffing, which was where his career began in his native Iceland. A working move to the USA in 1999 - where he worked at the Nimrod and then Dome restaurants in Falmouth, Massachusetts, as chef and then assistant manager - changed all that. "I did some front-of-house work and simply loved the interaction with the customers, which you just don't get in the kitchen." Deciding the kitchen wasn't for him, he moved to Scotland in 2000 and joined Jurys Doyle's management training scheme working in food and beverage, slowly taking on increasing responsibility as he proved his ability. By 2001 he had assumed the role of senior duty manager and bar manager at the Jurys Glasgow hotel. In 2002 he spent a few months as a consultant, turning around the Glen Lusset restaurant in Clydebank, which he found hugely rewarding. "The most gratifying thing for me was the staff and customers that came to thank me for the improvements I'd help make." Agustsson is an advocate of hands-on training in busy environments. It's fine to know the theory behind what you're doing, he says, but nothing can compare with actual work experience. Now at the Tulip Inn, he adds: "No two days here are the same. I can never say how my working day will be - that to me is the beauty of my job." Career highlights 2000 Moves to Scotland and joins the Jurys Glasgow hotel as food and beverage controller/duty manager 2003 Joins Patio hotel and becomes deputy general manager 2004 Becomes deputy general manager at the new-build Tulip Inn, Glasgow
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