Hospitality At Night

Increasingly, we live in a 24-hour world, yet many are still in the dark about the hospitality stars who are meeting the nocturnal needs of our customers. Thirty-year-old food service assistant Kara White sheds some light on working the night shift and balancing her busy schedule.

What is your shift schedule?
I work 8pm-3:30am, four nights a week. I sometimes do the odd day shift and help with any overtime.

What does a typical night shift look like?
A big part of my role is checking stock, making sure the fridges are well stocked with our ‘grab and go’ items and our products are displayed correctly. I also manage the vending administration and check if any sandwiches or dessert pots need preparing.

I prepare breakfast, washing and cleaning up as I go. Breakfast is served for the shift workers at 10pm, then the night shift chef prepares lunch for 1am.  There’s always a lull – it hits you about 1 in the morning – but we turn the music up a little louder, have a singalong and carry on! During lunch, I’m either serving customers or on the till; this is my favourite part of the day as I enjoy chatting to our customers. As it’s quieter on Fridays, I often cook for the lunch shifts.

Why does working a night shift suit you?
It fits with our family life. Working night shifts mean I’m able to spend the day with my two (soon to be three!) children, which means I don’t have high childcare costs. My partner works day shifts, and I work nights; he pays the mortgage and I pay the bills. We don’t see a lot of each other, so Sunday is our only family day together. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way as I love spending time with my children (in between naps!)

What do you enjoy most about working night shifts?
Firstly, my commute, as there’s no traffic. I enjoy the fact I get to spend time with my children during the day, that’s the most important thing to me.

I wouldn’t say night shifts are quieter, we serve about 30-40 customers each shift, but the atmosphere always feels calmer compared to the day shift. It’s still a hive of activity with music blaring from the radio, and I love chatting to the customers too, I know them all by name.

What food do you serve at night?
Night workers tend to eat differently to days. A few favourites are the pork chops, or sweet chilli wraps. The vegetarian option often sells well. For breakfast, they love a warm Danish or a warm cookie fresh from the oven in the afternoon. Whatever I serve, I always make sure it looks appetising. Last week I made a pregnant shift worker up a bowl of salad specifically for her. I have a great relationship with our customers, as I see them every day.

Favourite song to listen to whilst on shift?
I love a bit of everything, we listen to the radio or Spotify and have a good sing along. I do love a bit of Sum41.

What are your future ambitions?
I previously worked as an assistant store manager at Bicester Village, but took a step back when I wanted to start a family, and a career in management must go on hold for my family. My children will only be young for so long and I won’t get that time back. My manager Ellice is keen for me to go on BaxterStorey’s supervisor training course. For now, I’m enjoying spending time training my team with the vending. It gives me satisfaction training my colleagues, seeing them learn and develop makes me happy.

Ellice Hudson, Account Manager said: “With our distribution centre contracts growing and growing, it is essential that we have a strong team to drive our business forward, and the night team are no exception to this. Our night workers are equally as important to our day team workers as the wheels of distribution don’t stop turning.

“As the contract grows, so does the development of our night workers. We offer hospitality industry training which allows our employees to learn on the job and gain a qualification at the end of their course. We encourage shift workers to engage in these opportunities whether it be Level 2 Commis Chef or a Level 4 Management Diploma”.

Interested in applying for a job with shift work? Come and join our family.


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