Chris George, general manager, TGI Friday's, Fulham, London

14 July 2005
Chris George, general manager, TGI Friday's, Fulham, London

Opening a new TGI Friday's restaurant in Fulham is a far cry from Chris George's first job with the company, as a bartender in 1992. Having progressed through the ranks, George, 31, is now at the helm of the 230-seat restaurant in south-west London.

After working as both a butcher and a baker, but not a candlestick maker, George started behind the bar of the Manchester restaurant, where he received in-house training, before moving to the USA in 1996 to work in TGI Friday's restaurants in Pennsylvania and California for two years.

When he returned to the UK, George worked in London as a quality service manager, then an assistant general manager, before taking charge of the TGIs in Aberdeen and Glasgow.

In 2003 he won TGI's General Manager of the Year award for his success in turning around the then-failing Glasgow restaurant.

George returned south in 2004 to work as general manager of TGI's biggest UK restaurant, in Haymarket, London, where he helped make a tidy £7m in sales.

This year George was nominated for Whitbread's Award for Passion - something it is clear he has plenty of. Now in Fulham, George is still enthused by the TGI Friday's brand, and lives by his three principles: people, productivity and passion.

George hopes his next step will be towards a directorship position, which will be helped by the MBA in business studies he is currently studying for.

George, who works 50 hours a week, admits the hospitality industry is hard work, with unsocial hours, but believes it is his job to create a good working environment and give people recognition.

"One of my main aims is to get people to see hospitality as a career, not simply something to do while looking for one," he says.

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