Career: I grew up in Faversham and attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School before studying Communications, Media & Society at the University of Leicester. It was during the summer holiday after my second year at university that I got my first bar job, and loved it from the minute I started. Once I had graduated, I worked part time in both a local pub and an Italian restaurant as a waitress. It was a year later that I started working at The Limes, and I have been with Shepherd Neame ever since.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in hospitality?
In all honesty, I feel like the career chose me! When I started working at The Limes six and a half years ago, it was only meant to be a part time temporary position while I figured out what I wanted to do. Within ten months I had become the Deputy Manager, and two and a half years after starting I was given the opportunity to become General Manager at Ye Olde Beverlie, another Shepherd Neame pub in Canterbury. I like to do things to the best of my ability, which is what I feel gave me the opportunities to keep progressing my career so quickly within hospitality. I am always keen to learn new things, and there is always something new going on in hospitality so there is always plenty to learn.
What personal characteristics help you in your role?
A big part of my job is to greet customers in the pub and make sure they feel welcome and relaxed, so I feel that my friendly and chatty nature is well suited to this. I am also a very organised person, which is essential when running a business where there are always 101 things to do!
What qualifications are needed for your role?
When I first started, I didn’t have any qualifications that were relevant to the role. It has very much been a case of learning on the job, and the training provided by Shepherd Neame has been fantastic. They supported me to obtain my personal license, along with qualifications in areas such as cellar management, first aid, and health and safety.
What does a typical day involve?
One of the great things about hospitality is that there isn’t a typical day – it is full of variety! We have a small team at The Limes, so I am involved with all aspects of the business. Normally it begins with cleaning the pub and preparing it for the day ahead, then dealing with emails and as much administrative work as possible before midday. Then, once we’re open I like to be on the floor as much as possible, so that I’m there to greet customers as soon as they walk through the door. We also have a function room at The Limes which is often booked out for meetings in the day, and parties at weekends. We have live music every Saturday night, which is definitely my favourite night of the week.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
The best thing about my job is seeing people have a good time, and knowing that we have helped to achieve that. Given everything that has happened over the last 18 months with Covid lockdowns and restrictions, it is really special to see people coming together with family and friends and enjoying themselves!
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
For me, the proudest moment was becoming a General Manager at the age of 24. I was the youngest GM in the company at the time, which was a special achievement. Aside from that, I am incredibly proud of the improvements we have made at The Limes since I took it on in May 2019 – despite the challenges of Covid, the pub is going from strength to strength.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Probably partly because of my work, one thing I love to do most is eat and drink! I enjoy going out to different pubs and restaurants to see what’s on offer, although one of the downsides is that I’m never off duty, I’m always looking for ideas to use in my own pub! I am also a qualified personal trainer, and like to go to the gym and keep fit in my spare time.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a General Manager’s role?
Be prepared to put in the hard work. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up through the ranks. If you have determination and are willing to learn, then there is no reason why you couldn’t have a successful career in hospitality.
The Limes is located in the heart of Faversham, a short walk from the railway station and minutes from the town centre. It is open every day from noon, serving an extensive range of beer and cider on draught and in bottle, along with a choice selection of premium wines and spirits. It is also renowned for its food, serving a delicious menu of pub classics and modern British dishes, along with its famous range of burgers.
Visit https://www.limes.pub/ for more information.