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Foodservice Cateys 2019: Regional Manager of the Year - Rebecca Armstrong, the Genuine Dining Co

14 October 2019 by
Foodservice Cateys 2019: Regional Manager of the Year - Rebecca Armstrong, the Genuine Dining Co

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Rebecca Armstrong, or Bee, as her colleagues call her, is the Genuine Dining Co's youngest ever operations manager and is thriving in the role.

She joined the company in December 2016 and was initially responsible for catering, hospitality and events for the L'Oréal head office contract. She successfully managed a team of 17 with 90% staff retention and made it the group's top-performing site, leading to her promotion in April 2018. She now manages seven sites and 43 staff, and is on course to deliver a forecast-beating 15% revenue growth.

Her employers describe her as instrumental to the company's growth, heavily involved as she is in the tender process, assisting with ideas to best position the business. They say her financial performance is due to her focus on pushing innovation at every opportunity, developing service standards and food trends.

For instance, her focus on team training and development involves her running monthly management training courses, designing bespoke training plans for her sites and succession planning. She rewards employees with Amazon vouchers as a way of recognising those who have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.

She is also codeveloper of the Genuine Dining Co's graduate trainee programme, leading the project, which has received more than 300 entries.

Armstrong uses Genuine's audit app to follow her site scores and identify areas that require attention. Her introduction of a "Genuine Agency" has allowed her to redistribute staff where necessary to support sites and cover absences and holidays.

She explores new food trends through monthly pop-ups that bring suppliers and customers together, allowing the latter to find out more about where their food comes from and to hear the stories behind what they are eating.

On top of this she promotes the hospitality industry. She volunteers with the Girlguiding organisation, runs cookery classes and CV writing sessions, and is a passionate supporter of industry charity Springboard, for which she is an ambassador. She organised Springboard's 2018 Team Velo Challenge fundraiser, which generated more than £30,000.

Her success has been recognised by the industry as well as the business: in 2019 she won an Acorn Award and an ACE Robyns, and last year was shortlisted for an ACE Robyns and the same Regional Manager Catey.

Our judges described her as a "highly impressive" young manager committed to team development and a worthy winner of the Regional Manager of the Year Catey 2019.

What the judges said

"On reading this application it was the standout entry. It was inspiring to see someone so focused and relatively new taking on such a challenging role and excelling."

David Bridge, food and craft, learning and development manager, ISS

"Amazing passion and drive for someone at the start of their career in this industry. Inspirational and such a deserving winner of this award."

James Greetham, strategic business development director, Bartlett Mitchell

The shortlist

Rebecca Armstrong The Genuine Dining Co

Phil Clerkin Compass Group UK and Ireland

Jayne Matthews Gather & Gather

Past winners

2018 Greg Bramwell, BaxterStorey

2017 Marie Arthur, Sodexo

2016 Catharine Barras, BaxterStorey

2015 Matt Wood, Restaurant Associates

2014 Michele Ribaudo, BaxterStorey

2013 Chloe Green, Lexington Catering

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