National Hospitality Day: Case Study
The hospitality industry has had a challenging 18 months, but it’s great that we’ve been able to get people through the doors at the Virgins & Castle again!
We’ve chatted to our amazing Virgins & Castle Host Grace, to get her thoughts on the hospitality industry and her new role at the pub.
1. What job did you have before joining Virgins & Castle?
I worked as a retail bank manager for ten years where I managed my own team. I was unfortunately made redundant from this role which then put me in a new, exciting position of change.
Being in the banking industry for ten years, I had to make the challenging decision of what to do next and there’s so many options out there. I felt that it was time for a change, and therefore this was a huge opportunity for me to review my career and what I was going to do next. I then started to sign up to recruitment agencies to help find the next career move which was right for me.
2. Why did you switch to hospitality?
When looking for a new career, I had to think about what makes me tick. I love working with people, so it was important for me to have something sociable and to be involved with the local community. In my previous job, I was used to working with a team of people and having a customer facing role, and so I was keen to have these elements in my next role. This is when the hospitality industry came to mind...
3. Why did you choose Virgins & Castle?
So, it all began with a trial shift at the pub. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful, which really made me feel at ease. I love being around people and socialising - so I felt this was the right environment for me.
Both the management team and the pub team have made me feel super valued and comfortable. Having worked here for about 4 months now, the pub team really do feel like my own little work family! I also love the flexibility of working at Virgins & Castle, as it fits in perfectly around my family life (which can be difficult to find).
One thing that really stood out to me when choosing this role at Virgins & Castle was that you feel really supported and listened to. There’s also so many great perks and benefits around well-being including Hospitality Action which provides support to all members of the team - no matter what your role or job title.
The business has clear values which they’ve set out and you can really see these come through in the customer service and experience provided at the pub. You feel empowered to come into work and be yourself, and I feel my strengths are recognised and nurtured. The pub is owned by the award-winning hospitality company Caviar & Chips. And as I have experience managing team members, I’ve been lucky enough to get more involved in the coaching, training and wellness of employees too. There’s always new opportunities within the Caviar & Chips family, and I feel like the business looks to develop both the employees and the company.
Another added bonus of working at the pub is that you get to see dogs on a regular basis too!
4. What do you enjoy about the hospitality industry?
I enjoy building relationships with people and using interpersonal skills, which I feel comes hand in hand with the hospitality industry.
Working in a pub, you see a variety of people come through the door on a weekly basis, all with different stories and backgrounds. Some may be celebrating an anniversary and some may be celebrating a graduation - but what I enjoy the most is being able to be a part of their day and celebrating with them. Even if it’s just bringing them a free glass of fizz for a toast, it could make their day! The role makes me feel empowered to provide the best experience for customers, and go above and beyond to ensure they’re having the best possible service whilst at the pub.
5. What advice would you give for people who want to get into the hospitality industry?
My advice would be to have an understanding of what makes you tick, and when you’re at your best. If you’re happy chatting to people, connecting with customers and looking for some flexibility then this could be the industry for you.
There’s so many different roles within the industry, so consider when you feel most comfortable, when you feel you’re contributing and how this fits into you as a person. Would you thrive managing people? Running a pub? Being a host? Working in the kitchen? Just get out there and go for it! Get some experience and see if it’s for you. In my experience, I did a trial shift at the Virgins & Castle and discovered this was right for me.
6. What’s your favourite food and drink on the Virgins & Castle menu?
This is a hard choice, but I love the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I’ve also recently discovered Truffle Oil and Parmesan Fries… And how I can forget about the delicious Chocolate Brownie (I’m a massive dessert fan)!