Simone Taylor, branch manageer, Heal's

24 November 2005
Simone Taylor, branch manageer, Heal's

Simone Taylor, 25
Branch manager
Where? Heal's, Tottenham Court Road, London
Which company? Digby Trout

Isn't Heal's a designer furniture store? Yes, but I look after its 100-cover restaurant, overseeing brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. We usually do business lunches from 12-2pm and then in the afternoon the shoppers come in. This is one of Digby Trout's smaller sites so I do lots of things - order stock, organise the rotas and payroll and even dabble in the kitchen.

What qualifications have you got? I've got a 2:1 in international hospitality management from Oxford Brookes. As part of my programme abroad I went to France and Australia, then I worked at a restaurant in Oxford for a year.

So why Digby Trout? It focuses on freshness, innovation and quality. I wouldn't work anywhere without that ethos. It's proved to be a good move. My development has been fast. I started in October last year and became assistant manager at Liberty's. Then in July I got this job.

Did they give you extra training? The training's been brilliant all the way along. Even though I have a degree, I've had the opportunity to take courses in calculating GPs, first aid, health and safety, customer care, employer law, hygiene and personal licences.

What do you like about contract catering? Staff can transfer between the different contracts, so although you still work for the same company it keeps it fresh. And I have got a life - I even get some weekends off. Contract catering used to have a stigma, but it's not at all like that.

What are your prospects? Development is good within this company so I could move to a larger site with a different style of management and more layers. I'd also like to be out there winning the contracts eventually. I've learned lots of skills that are transferable so I could go back into restaurants if I ever want to. I may work abroad again as I love the different cultures and food.

Digby Trout is part of Eliance, the venue catering division of Elior. Contact Lyn Cameron, HR manager, on 020 7336 7052 or e-mail For website, log on to

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