Group Catering Manager
00:01 Yeah, my name’s Siobhan J and I’m a catering manager for Baxter Storey.
00:06 I look after, basically, the contract catering for Deutsche Bank in London, so we provide a restaurant service for them and I feed about six thousand people a day. Not personally, of course.
00:20 I’ve worked for Baxter Storey for about seven years and I used to work for Pearson for Baxter Storey, running the operation at Pearson, Penguin Books and the Financial Times. I then had a baby and came back and Baxter were very happy to let me work part-time. So I did openings for them, opening new units, had another baby, came back and did the same and then, then I agreed to do four days a week and I’m now look after Deutsche Bank for them.
00:47 I come from a little town called Cockermouth in the Lake District. I think, when I was younger, I thought it was a hindrance, I thought that my opportunities had been limited by the choice of where my parents chose to live. Now I think it’s quite a good thing cos I think it made me stronger, it made me want to achieve more. I see my friends who still live there and I kind of think, oh look at me, I now live in London, I’ve made that big leap. I run a very big business for a big bank. I’ve not lost my head, I’m still that northern lass who was back then, but I can also see that it made me want to achieve more as well.
01:22 I had two very strong grandmothers who were great cooks, so loved doing cooking and just enjoyed well doing it and enjoyed the food side part of it as well and the whole background to it and I was pretty rubbish at everything else, if I’m absolutely honest. It broke my parents’ heart again cos they’re both teachers and all my brothers are very clever. But no, off I went to Sheffield Uni and did home economics and loved every minute of it, so.
01:47 Yeah my brothers all did maths and economics and posh things, they went to Oxford and Cambridge, but I didn’t. But I had to do what I enjoyed and whet I enjoyed was food. I’m the only girl, I’m the eldest and I just stood my ground. I was very lucky that my mum, my dad, all of them, were extremely supportive.
02:05 My dad had quite an antiquated view that, you know, as somebody himself who didn’t go to uni and had to back later on in life to learn to be a teacher, he thought that we all had to go to uni and do a proper degree and that was always his opinion but I’ve got to say, he altered it.
02:20 I left uni and went to work for McDonalds. Bit of a strange one but had student loans to pay and they did a really good management development system and then decided I’d take the big leap and move from up north to down south. Broke my parents’ heart and came to London and got a job working for a coffee company, helping opening new sites. And you, you’ve probably heard of Starbucks. I worked for them and then moved into contract catering. I’d never heard of it and literally went to an agency and they told me about a job in contract catering and explained what it was about and Monday to Friday sounded quite nice, so no weekends and no evenings, so and since then I’ve loved every minute of it cos you get to do what you love, which is food. And people but on quite nice hours.
03:06 I have a team of seventy who report direct to me of caterers and I have to motivate them and make sure they come to work for me, you know, they’re not just coming to work for their pounds, they’re coming to work because they want to come to work for you and that’s absolutely key and so you’ve got to use every trick in your book, if you like, to motivate people and that means being a people person.
03:26 Did I ever see myself doing it? Sort of ten years ago, yes, once I knew about the industry I could understand where I wanted to be but at seventeen, eighteen, no, I didn’t know I could be here and it was a shame because if I’d knew I, I’d have made a path for it quicker than I did do. In, in effect we manage a business, the actual product is, is something like totally separate and we manage businesses and that’s what we’re about. I think contract catering’s very good for leading a quite a flexible approach to keeping a work life balance and I’m avid about, I work four days a week and have a Friday off with my children.
Siobhan J, Group Manager, manages the BaxterStorey site at Deutsche Bank in London. She moved from a small town in the Lake District to London after gaining a degree in home economics and has worked in management for several large companies before joining BaxterStorey.
More information about Catering and bar managers
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Plans catering or bar services and supervises staff;
- Decides on range and quality of meals and beverages to be provided or discusses customer’s requirements for special occasions;
- Purchases or directs the purchasing of supplies and arranges for preparation of accounts;
- Verifies that quality of food, beverages and waiting service are as required and that kitchen and dining areas are kept clean in compliance with statutory requirements;
- Checks that supplies are properly used and accounted for to prevent wastage and loss and to keep within budget limit.
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