The build up to Christmas has been a whirlwind for our Graduates. This month Jackson and Marina share what they’ve been up to:
This month I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside the amazing team at The Works in London, and what an experience it’s been!
The first two weeks I spent working alongside retail manager Harvey Parker. He’s been a huge inspiration to me, as he’s worked his way up through numerous BaxterStorey Academies to get himself to a management position. It’s been good to get a full understanding of the day to day role of a restaurant manager – managing the paperwork, problem solving and customer service. Harvey trusted me with completing the weekly stock take, cashing up and menu planning with the head chef which was a real learning curve. I love the amount of involvement Harvey has with helping chef to write the weekly menus. As a graduate, I think the most valuable thing to be given is trust. Even if you fail, it gives you the opportunity to learn.
I’m now working alongside deputy manager Lily and hospitality manager Zoe helping organise events. Until I started, I had no idea how fast paced and exciting it would be! As the client regularly requires bespoke events, the hospitality team are expected to always bring new ideas and creativity to each event. I’ve been supporting Lily with writing the quotes and running the events. It’s been a real eye-opener, seeing how an event runs from start to finish.
We recently hosted a credit card launch for 75 guests and the client asked for bespoke branded edible products. We sourced a company that creates bespoke chocolate bars in the shape of a credit card and branded macarons. Organising the event from start to finish was so much fun – it makes you appreciate the importance of attention to detail.
What a busy few weeks it’s been! I’ve been getting stuck into our client’s Christmas events, from afternoon teas to evening functions – it’s been mulled wine galore! I’ve spent this month with the conference and events team helping manage the hospitality bookings. After just two weeks, I was surprised when Sandra, our head of hospitality, asked me to manage the meeting rooms on three different floors (that aren’t usually managed by us) for a whole week. And this wasn’t all! I was going to be managing a team of two agency staff, as well as organising an area in the retail kitchen to be used as a temporary pantry. It all sounded so nerve-wracking until I actually started!
That Monday I came into work with a ‘can-do’ attitude and a smile on my face and what happened? I absolutely loved it! I learnt the importance of delegating tasks – preparing the next food and beverage deliveries, clearing rooms, staff lunch breaks, daily team briefings – the list goes on. I soon realised how important communication is.
This experience was definitely a highlight for me since I started the programme – it certainly tested my managerial skills and my ability to think on my feet (especially when the lift breaks down and a hospitality order for 20 has to be delivered using the lifts!)
By the end of the week, I was so used to planning my days ahead with the schedule of the following day’s bookings in hand, that I really missed it the following week. Sandra has been a great support, I’ve learnt so much from her during my time in hospitality.
The other Grads are also amazing, we have a Whatsapp group that we’re always talking on and sharing our experiences with each other. We recently went bowling for our Grad Christmas party with Sharon and Stephanie, which was so much fun. It’s nice to know you’ve got that support around you; Sharon is only ever a phone call away and she really does give the best advice.
I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner; the past few months have flown by. It’s been incredible, overwhelming and exciting and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!