To celebrate the start of a new year, we caught up with catering manager Geraldo Barros, as he shares how it felt to be named BaxterStorey’s A Round of Applause winner and how he’s managed to keep his team motivated during the pandemic.
How did you feel when you found out you were the winner of BaxterStorey’s A Round of Applause?
For a moment, I was lost for words (and for those that know me will know that doesn’t happen often!) Last year was so difficult for so many and I think this initiative really showed that we have an amazing team of people within the BaxterStorey family!
I can honestly say I love what I do, and always try my best to do a good job and motivate my team no matter what the circumstances are. It was an absolute honour to win the Award and it’s given me even more motivation to keep challenging myself every day and to continue to push boundaries.
What do you enjoy most about working in hospitality?
I was a journalist in Portugal for 15 years before I moved to the UK and decided I needed a career change. I am a real people’s person and would describe myself as a foodie, so hospitality seemed the perfect fit for me. I enjoy taking the time to get to know our customers, what they like and dislike or what they’d love to see on our menu offer.
I’m a true believer that if you’re hard working, innovative, enthusiastic and surround yourself with good people, you will achieve great things. Hospitality certainly gives me that!
How have you managed to stay focused and keep your team motivated during the pandemic?
I know my team will laugh when they read this, but I tend to say there’s no point wasting your energy on things you can’t change. Running Wharf Kitchen in a pandemic has been a huge challenge, but instead of thinking about the negatives I always tell my team that there’s a lot we can achieve if we remain resilient and are willing to adapt.
I’ve always been open with my team, sharing the latest updates with them, whether it be from the Government, BaxterStorey or Siemens Healthineers so they can understand where we are and where we need to go. Andy’s used the quieter times to perfect his baking skills, Leticia and Olivia came up with new promotion ideas and I created ‘Gerry’s Deals’ – a fun initiative to promote some of our retail products. When things get tough, you celebrate the small wins and support each other.
What’s been the biggest challenge of working in a pandemic?
Being able to continue to provide the food offer our customers are used to when there’s been difficulties for suppliers. We’ve had to adapt our ordering processes and streamline our food offer which hasn’t been easy. Being open with customers, explaining why we’ve started to do things differently has helped to overcome some of the hurdles.
Are there any positives to have come out of the last year?
Absolutely – we’ve learnt a lot about ourselves. We’ve had to think outside the box, develop new sales initiatives and had to become more effective with stock management. It’s brought us closer together as a team too. We’re like a small family here at Siemens Healthineers and supporting each other where possible has really helped to keep spirits high.
What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone working in hospitality at the moment?
- You must be able to adapt quickly. It’s all about being proactive. If you wait for others to show you the way before doing something, chances are it will probably be too little too late.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Some ideas will work, others won’t but that’s all part of the learning process.
- Most importantly, think about your team and your colleagues. Be more tolerant and supportive. Everyone is different and deals with things differently. We are all different, but we are all in this together.