Trainee Management - Sam and Emma Story

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How did you come to work for Samuel Smiths?

Emma: I moved to London in 2011 started working at the Red Lion in Soho.  I then worked at three other pubs before coming to work at the Windsor Castle in 2015.

Sam: I grew up in Lincolnshire.  I was working for a supermarket but was made redundant in early 2015.  I moved to London to work at the Windsor Castle for some managers who I knew from home.

How did you find it working at the Windsor Castle?

Sam: We really enjoyed working there.  New managers had taken over and were really growing the trade.  It was exciting to be a part of that growth.  It was also great to learn from the managers how to run a successful pub.

I loved working on the bar and meeting new people.

Emma: Having been working at Samuel Smith’s for five years I’ve a learned a lot about people management which has been very helpful for me as a manager.  I learned that for example you can’t ask a member of staff to clean a toilet if you are not willing to do it yourself.

As a foreign person coming to a new country I was not very good at English and I was not very confident but I found that working behind the bar was a great way to improve my confidence and get better at speaking to people.

How did you come to be running your own pub?

We worked hard and were always committed to improving ourselves.  Our managers at the Windsor Castle mentioned to us that there might be an opportunity for us to run our own pub.  We were very excited at the prospect of this and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.  We took advice from our managers about how we could improve and become excellent managers.  This stood us in very good stead for running our own pub.  In early 2016 the Area Manager offered us the position of Management Couple at the Horse & Groom on Great Portland Street, which we were pleased to accept.

How have you found running your own pub?

Emma: It was daunting when we first took on the Horse & Groom.  However once we had ironed out the creases and got things how we wanted them, it runs smoothly.

Sam: I love the fact that as a manager I am the face of the business and get to engage with every customer who walks through the door.  We love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  We know people by name and we make them feel at home when they are inside our pub.  They then come back and tell their friends about the pub.  By doing this we have increased the trade and made lots of new friends.

Emma: We have increased the food trade at the Horse & Groom by making sure that the food always comes out quickly and is always well presented.  It’s great to see customers enjoying their food and then coming back.  I take great pride in making sure that the food looks fantastic when we take it out to the customers.

How do you see your careers progressing?

Sam: We have recently been asked to run a bigger pub which will be re-opening in November after a major refurbishment.  This is a very exciting opportunity which we are really looking forward to.  Again we will work very hard and have every intention of smashing the targets which we are set.  We are pleased that our Area Manager has seen potential in us and is wanting to push us forward to bigger and better things.

What is different working at Samuel Smith’s compared to your previous employers?

Samuel Smith’s London pubs have staff accommodation so coming to work for them meant that we got the opportunity to live in central London for very little cost. Neither of us are from London originally but we love the lifestyle here and have made loads of new friends.

I have found that at Samuel Smith’s there is no limit to what you can achieve if you work hard.  At the supermarket I hit a glass ceiling and was never going to get promoted further because I did not have a degree.  However at Samuel Smith’s this glass ceiling doesn’t exist and the only thing holding back your career development is the extent to which you are dedicated and committed.

As long as you stick within the Samuel Smith’s policies, you get independence and are not micro managed.  Support is given if you need it.