Working in restaurants

03 June 2005
Working in restaurants

EveryoneÁ¢Â€Â™s serving food Á¢Â€Â" from pubs, to kiosks in leisure developments, to caf-bars Á¢Â€Â" and thatÁ¢Â€Â™s before you get to restaurants. Think quick service, casual dining, gastropubs, hotels, cruise ships and fine-dining restaurants to name just a few eating-out environments. And that means more choice of career for you.

In addition, many restaurants Á¢Â€Â" particularly restaurant groups Á¢Â€Â" can offer fast-track career progression and employers are increasingly realising that they need to nurture home-grown, craft-level employees. That means there are really worthwhile career opportunities for enthusiastic, people-orientated candidates just like you.

Best Places to Work in Hospitality

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lister-charles-logo 100x100
Issues such as work-life balance, career development and training are now as important as a good salary. In recognition of this, the Caterer Group Best Places to Work in Hospitality Awards 2006 has recently been launched to highlight and reward best practice in the UKÁ¢Â€Â™s hospitality industry. For more information click here. To make a nomination, telephone Lisa Goold on 020 8652 3656. The closing date for entries is 31 October 2005.

Do your homework
HereÁ¢Â€Â™s a selection of restaurants and groups that may be able to offer what you want from a career. Why not log on and see?

  1. Ask Restaurants
  2. Blubeckers and Edwinns
  3. ChristopherÁ¢Â€Â™s
  4. Conran Restaurants
  5. DominoÁ¢Â€Â™s Pizza
  6. Giardino Group
  7. Gordon Ramsay Restaurants
  8. Hard Rock CafÁƒÂ©
  9. Las Iguanas
  10. La Tasca
  11. The Living Room, Mosquito
  12. Loch Fyne Restaurants
  13. Mitchells & Butlers
  14. NandoÁ¢Â€Â™s
  15. Pizza Hut
  16. The Restaurant Group (Frankie & BennyÁ¢Â€Â™s, CaffÁƒÂ© Uno)
  17. The Sports CafÁƒÂ©
  18. Tragus Holdings (Caf Rouge, Bella Pasta)
  19. Out of Town Group

    The Small Restaurant Group

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    kelly-young 100x100

    Kelly Young, 25
    Position? Restaurant manager
    Where? Chapter One, Farnborough, Kent
    Salary? Á‚£25,000-Á‚£30,000
    What first interested you in a career in restaurants? IÁ¢Â€Â™d originally intended to join the Army as a chef. But I first enrolled on an NVQ level 2 in kitchen and restaurant work at Boston College in Lincolnshire, and it was while I was on one of my placements at Gleneagles in Scotland that I decided I wanted to work in the restaurant and not the kitchen. The job satisfaction of looking after people really appealed, and I enjoyed working as part of the front-of-house team.

    Where did you work before Chapter One? I was head waiter at the Sheraton Park Tower hotel and then became junior assistant manager at the Hilton on Park Lane. I joined Chapter One in September 2002 as assistant manager.
    What are the main challenges of your job?
    As well as managing the 120-seat restaurant, I also run Chapter OneÁ¢Â€Â™s brasserie and 50-seat private dining room. Central to the job is building up a good rapport with guests and ensuring they always feel welcome, turning occasional visitors into regular customers, maintaining regular clients and building on our corporate business. IÁ¢Â€Â™m responsible for 15 staff, and to keep everything running smoothly I have to keep them happy and motivated. ItÁ¢Â€Â™s important to be a people person in this business.
    How important is training? ItÁ¢Â€Â™s ongoing, as thereÁ¢Â€Â™s always something for all of us to learn. We spend half an hour before each service brainstorming and looking at ways to upsell to improve our turnover figures, which we monitor closely. Subjects covered in training include menu knowledge, matching dessert wines to specific desserts, and reviewing our greeting and seating policy. I received fantastic training from Rob Smith, head of food and beverage at Birmingham College, in preparation for competing in the 2001 World Skills event in South Korea, in which I came fourth.

    How do you see your future? My career goal was to be a restaurant manager by the age of 25 and I achieved that in January this year. Now IÁ¢Â€Â™ve got there I intend to do the job well and continue learning, whether it be about man-management or dealing with costs. Hopefully my career will be with the Chapters company, maybe managing a number of restaurants as the group expands.
    The Selective Restaurants Group

    The group employs 80 staff across three outlets Á¢Â€Â" Chapter One, the 75-seat Chapter Two in Blackheath Village, south London, and Chapters CafÁ ½ at the Laban Dance Centre in east London which, as well as operating as a public restaurant, is used as an event venue.

    All training takes place in-house Á¢Â€Â" both in the kitchen and front of house Á¢Â€Â" and allows for progression through the company. Alan Irwin, for instance, started off as a commis chef at Chapter One and is now sous chef at Chapter Two.

    Training covers personal development and specific skills such as bread service, how to read the body language of customers, and wine service.

    The Medium Restaurant Group

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    lisa-barry 100x100

    Lisa Barry, 25

    Position? General manager
    Where? BertorelliÁ¢Â€Â™s, Charlotte Street, London
    Salary? Á‚£30,000-Á‚£35,000
    When did you start working in restaurants? I got a job as a waitress while I was studying modern languages at Warwick University. I was immediately hit by the adrenaline rush you get from working in the business. On graduating I joined the Groupe Chez GÁ ½rard as trainee manager at the companyÁ¢Â€Â™s flagship restaurant, Opera Terrace.

    How were you trained?
    For the first six months I learnt every aspect of the workings of a restaurant and spent time in the kitchen, as a runner, as a waitress and as a cocktail barmaid. ItÁ¢Â€Â™s vital in this job that you understand how every position in the restaurant works. My training now tends to be off-site and covers subjects such as leadership skills and effective management.
    What are your responsibilities? I manage the financial control of the business, promote the restaurant to help develop the business, and ensure that all the company standards and beliefs are met.

    What are the main challenges of the job? Making sure that every single person Á¢Â€Â" both customers and all 50 staff Á¢Â€Â" are happy. Ensuring thereÁ¢Â€Â™s harmony among staff, as well as enthusing and motivating them, while at the same time making sure customers achieve the standards they deserve, is a big balancing act.
    Where will the future take you? IÁ¢Â€Â™m happy to stay with the company as there are lots of opportunities for movement. IÁ¢Â€Â™d eventually like to manage a number of restaurants within the group or maybe work as a troubleshooter, helping restaurants that need improving.

    Groupe Chez Gerard Restaurants The company employs 750 staff across 24 restaurants, which are split between four different brands: the Parisian brasserie-style Chez GÁƒÂ©rard, the Italian eaterie BertorelliÁ¢Â€Â™s, and two fish brands Á¢Â€Â" Livebait and CafÁƒÂ© Fish. Most sites are in London, but there are also some restaurants in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cambridge.

    Most training takes place on the job. Employees can widen their professional skills by moving between sites which vary in size, complexity of operations and types of customers served.
    New training opportunities are available with Groupe Chez GÁƒÂ©rard with the launch of new management and chef development programmes.

    The Large Restaurant Chain

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    helen-johnson 100x100

    Helen Johnson, 23
    Position? Restaurant general manager
    Where? Pizza Hut, Lincoln
    Salary? Á‚£23,000-Á‚£28,000, plus quarterly performance-related bonus
    How did your career in restaurants start? I took a job as a waitress with Pizza Hut when I was 18 while I thought about what I wanted to do with my future. I was so impressed by the opportunity for career development that I decided to stay, and eventually became restaurant general manager by the age of 21.

    Have you had much training? An enormous amount, right from day one with the companyÁ¢Â€Â™s induction course. At every level, there are training opportunities Á¢Â€Â" either carried out by an in-store trainer or at off-job sessions. The early training Á¢Â€Â" Customer Mania Plus Á¢Â€Â" was aimed at ensuring the staff were able to deliver exceptional service to all customers. Training continues at management level and is known as Developing Champions. All the skills and knowledge I have today are the result of Pizza Hut providing me with the tools for development.

    What are your main responsibilities? Training and developing the 45 members of my team is a key part of my job, alongside managing and measuring business results.

    Is it challenging? Absolutely, particularly when it comes to motivating so many different types of people and keeping them working to Pizza HutÁ¢Â€Â™s standards.

    What are your plans for the future? I love the training side of my job and have already been involved in delivering some of the Developing Champions training in Birmingham and London. Currently IÁ¢Â€Â™m seconded on the training and support side of a roll-out programme of a new computer system for the whole company, for both front and back of house. My future will definitely involve some form of training as I love developing people and seeing them succeed.

    Inside info on Pizza Hut Pizza Hut (UK) employs almost 20,000 people throughout 635 outlets. The company, which is a joint venture between Yum! Brands and Whitbread Group, is currently opening more than one new outlet in the UK per week. Its philosophy is that by putting people capability first, satisfied customers and profitability will follow. It has a clear training and development programme for staff at all levels, and aims to fill 80% of management vacancies up to board level internally.

    A graduate scheme has been launched this year, resulting in the recruitment of 10 trainees who will start on the two-year scheme in September. The company is also developing a fast track scheme, enabling staff with high potential to progress through the ranks quickly.

    Key Attribues of a good Restaurant Manager

  20. Passionate about dining Á¢Â€Â" loves and understands food and wine.
  21. Good communicator Á¢Â€Â" to ensure customersÁ¢Â€Â™ needs are met and staff understand what needs to be done.
  22. Drive Á¢Â€Â" prepared to put in the extra mile.
  23. Caring Á¢Â€Â" for both staff and customers.
  24. Creativity Á¢Â€Â" prepared to try new ideas.
  25. Ambitious Á¢Â€Â" keen to develop.
  26. Organised and methodical.
  27. Positive attitude Á¢Â€Â" an upbeat personality will help to override difficulties.
  28. Adaptable and flexible Á¢Â€Â" in order to cope with a myriad of chores.
  29. Á‚ Inspiring Á¢Â€Â" vital in leading and influencing a team.
  30. Á‚ Ability to delegate.
  31. Talent spotter Á¢Â€Â" to be able to nurture and develop managers of the future.
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