Graduate Storeys: Barista Training, Event Planning and Smoothie Bowl Pop Ups

It’s been a busy couple of months for our Graduates. This month Louise and Rachel share their highlights:


Louise Barker

It’s been a busy couple of months on the Graduate Programme and I’m loving getting stuck into the hospitality department at Social Co restaurant. I’ve been responsible for vending of the coffee machines  and getting involved in canape receptions and formal fine dining dinners.

Working in the hospitality kitchen was a real eye opener – a totally different experience to working in the retail kitchen. The food preparation requires real attention to detail; I’m proud to say I’m now an expert when it comes to making canapes. One of my favourites has got to be the coconut King prawns with Thai green dip!

After hanging up my chef whites, I was welcomed by the friendliest hospitality team, who always have a smile on their face. I’ve been delivering hospitality orders to meeting rooms and learning how to set the tables for our fine dining events. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly discovered how challenging hospitality can be with last minute orders coming in, but it’s made me appreciate the importance of communication within your team.

The Graduate Programme training sessions have been brilliant; the allergen champion course was really thought-provoking – it’s so important to understand how to communicate allergens and dietary requirements to our customers. We had so much fun perfecting our latte art on the Barista Skills course with trainer James too.

I’ve also been working on an exciting side project, creating a smoothie bowl pop-up to be launched throughout both my locations. It’s been so much fun, getting hands on in trying out the different smoothie flavours and learning how to cost the menu. Last week I had to present my idea to my managers which was nerve-wracking, but exciting!

Next month I’m moving on to restaurant management; I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the business operates. There’s so much variation in this job which I love – no one day is the same. My mentor Sharon Daniel and general manager Wes have been so supportive, encouraging me to say yes to every opportunity that’s thrown my way. Wes has recently given me the responsibility of a new health and safety project about compliance management, which I’m looking forward to getting stuck into!


Rachel Warr

This month I’ve been working in the hospitality section, providing the catering for client meetings, large functions and fine dining dinners. I’ve spent some time shadowing our lovely restaurant supervisor Nicole Pippo who I’ve learnt so much from, including how to set up for a large hospitality function.

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to run the catering for an event at one of our flagship sites – I had so much fun! It involved transporting croissants, sandwiches and a selection of canapes across to different buildings, so everyone had to get stuck in and lend a helping hand – we had a real laugh! I enjoyed getting creative when setting up the breakfast and lunches, making it look appetising.

What I love most about the Graduate Programme is that it gives you exposure to all areas of the business. Previously I was running Bowls of Bali (our smoothie bowl bar) and this month I’m getting stuck in to understanding the financial side of the business and how to close the books.

I’ve learnt so much, from the importance of allergen information to completing a monthly health and safety audit. Bring on the next few months!

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