The inside scoop: what it's like to be back working in a pub after lockdown
It’s been just over three months since the doors of our pubs, restaurants and bars closed and our teams hung up their chef whites and poured their last pints. The moment our government announced that we could reopen, the M&B family got busy preparing our pubs and restaurants so we were ready to safely welcome our guests again.
We spoke to Casey who works as waiting staff at one of our businesses to find out what her time away from the pub has been like and how she feels after her first week back to work. Here’s the inside scoop:
What role do you do and how long have you been with M&B?
For the last three years, I’ve worked for M&B as a Team Member at the Plough in Harrow, which is one of our Premium Country Pubs. The flexibility of this job has allowed me to gain some great experience in the hospitality industry whilst studying for my degree at university.
What did you miss most while away from work?
Just being productive, admittedly I fell into a bit of a rut during the lockdown and felt like I would accomplish nothing with my days, there are only so many zoom quizzes and Netflix series you can watch. Being back at work, back with my team and seeing the regulars has really helped me to mentally get out of that rut and get back to my old self.
How did you feel coming back to work?
At first, I was nervous and quite anxious at the idea of coming back to my restaurant job, but once I was made aware of the new procedures that have been put in place and I saw them in action I was instantly eased. M&B has been really supportive throughout the lockdown, sharing regular updates on what’s happening within the business and giving us all the information we need on new procedures to make the return to work as seamless as possible.
What was the first order you took when your pub reopened?
It was a table of two of our regulars who shared that they couldn’t wait to come back to see us. They ordered a Dirty Burger with added halloumi and 7oz Fillet Steak, medium with beef dripping sauce and a side of onion rings. Our regulars probably know the menu as well as we do and know how to put together a mouth-watering meal.
What has it been like working in a pub since they reopened?
I thought I would have forgotten how to do everything, having been away from my waiting job for such a long time, but once I stepped back into the pub everything came flooding back. It has been so nice to be reunited with the team and the transition has been much easier than I thought it would be. Every single guest has been lovely and really understanding which has made us even happier to be back.
What has been changed in your pub post lockdown?
There has been a lot to learn and get to grips with since we have reopened our Premium Country Pubs, but I’m grateful that these new measures are in place because it makes the pub feel like a safe place to work. The changes have been carefully planned so that you still get that warm and inviting pub feel and we have had lots of positive feedback from our guests which has been lovely!
A couple of the main changes are…
- We ask all our guests to sanitise their hands when they arrive, and we explain the new safety measures to them.
- We do more detailed cleaning throughout the day for example, after each guest leaves we clean all table surfaces, table legs, chairs and chair legs before the next guests are seated.
- All our menus are now paper disposal ones, they are thrown away after our guests have used them.
- There is social distancing throughout the pub – our table layout has been changed to ensure our tables are at a safe social distance and there are social distancing signs around the pub to remind everybody of the new measures.
How do you feel after your first week back and what’s been your favourite part?
It’s really good to be back, the pub feels really safe and our guests are happy. It’s almost like there wasn’t a 3-month break (although my feet are adjusting more slowly to the new routine)! Being reunited with the team and welcoming our regulars back to the pub has easily been the best part of coming back to the work. We’ve kept in touch virtually as a team during the lockdown, but nothing beats seeing each other face to face.
Find out more about #lifeatmab
We’re over the moon to have welcomed Casey back but the since the safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority we’re making sure that any changes made are in line with government guidelines. It’s the hard work of Casey and the rest of the team that has helped us provide a brilliant service for our guests, where everyone is safe, comfortable and reunited with their perfectly cooked 7oz Fillet Steak. Want to join the M&B family? Explore our bar jobs or find your perfect opportunity by searching our head chef jobs.
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So, the job search is on. Many people dread the process and see it as a race to the finish line where they’ll receive the prize of a job. While that should be your ultimate goal, there’s no sense in rushing it. Your CV is a great place to start and take time to figure out your core skills, which pub and restaurant job is right for you and which type of company you want to work for.As you write the perfect CV you need think about what the recruiter is looking for and what will cause them to sort you into the no pile. CVs should display a bit of your personality, but still be professional. So you know that cringe email you made when you were 10? Don’t use it!Here are some more dos and don’ts when writing your hospitality CV:DoInclude why you want to work in hospitalityAsk yourself why you want a hospitality job. Maybe salt bae inspired you or you recently found your flair for whipping up recipes at home. Perhaps you just love food. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t?Write a personal statementWrite a short paragraph at the top of your CV introducing who you are and what you can offer the company. Be clear and concise.Include KeywordsYour personal statement is the perfect place to sprinkle some keywords that the hiring manager is looking for. If you’re applying for a job in hospitality, interpersonal skills, knowledge of health and safety and quality assurance are a must. Look at the job description and pick out other keywords.Use the STAR approachRather than claiming to be, “An experienced bartender with a track record of quality customer service”, back up your claims. The STAR approach will help you reveal more about your experience and give the hiring manager concrete evidence of your skills.Explain gapsIf you have some time off between education and work where you did some casual catering work or went travelling, explain this on your CV. Simply leaving a gap might raise some eyebrows so it’s best to straighten it out and avoid any confusion.Shout about your achievementsPeople tend to play down their skills and achievements, at least around their friends and family, but there’s no time for that with hiring managers. You need to talk yourself up and shout about your proudest achievements. However, it’s important to remain humble because 65% of employers agree that they’re put off candidates who are arrogant.Don’tStuff it with buzzwordsWhy is stuffing your CV with buzzwords a no go? Because they can come across as unimaginative. You may be a great team player and second-to-none when it comes to problem-solving but simply writing those on your CV looks inauthentic. Back up popular buzzwords you use with the STAR approach and think about unique words that the hiring manager won’t have skimmed over hundreds of times.Include negatives If you’ve had a bad experience in a previous job or didn’t particularly enjoy the role you were in, keep the negativity out. Think about your CV as a ‘good vibes only’ space. Employers want to see what you learnt from previous jobs, not listen to you vent about what you didn’t like.Offer irrelevant informationSorry to break the news, but a recruiter doesn’t want to hear about your glory days as the egg and spoon champion in primary school, and probably won’t be too fazed that you know how to cook the perfect roast potato. Think of each line of your CV as "prime real estate" that should only be used for relevant skills and experience.LieEven if you have very little experience, lies should be avoided at all costs. They’ll come back to bite you in the end and who wants to get a job that they didn’t earn on their own merit anyway? If you have little or no experience working in a pub, restaurant or bar but really want to begin your career hospitality, think about your transferrable skills.Write a CV that leaves a lasting impression.Your CV needs to be original, attention-grabbing and leave the hiring manager wanting to learn more about you. If you follow these dos and don'ts when writing your hospitality CV, you’ll be sure to make a lasting impression.We’ve hit pause on our hiring at M&B for now but we can’t wait to start it back up. In the meantime, you can check out more of our blogs and read about top tips for managing your own wellbeing.
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Crunchy, golden, fluffy. Yes, we’re talking about roast potatoes. And we like to think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to the perfectly roasted spud.According to 89% of the British public, roast potatoes are an essential trimming if you’re plating up the ideal roast dinner. These golden spuds blow all the other trimmings out the water, even Yorkshire puddings. Now it’s settled that a roast dinner isn’t complete without the potato, next we all need to agree on how to roast them to perfection. We’re going to share out top tips for how to cook the perfect roast potato that will leave your dinner guests with something to talk about… if you can bring yourself to share them out.Step 1 – Get things hot in the kitchenFirst things first, fire up that oven. Now, they say if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen. But if you’re anything like Mohammed, who said cooking in a busy kitchen is the best part of a chef job, then that won’t be a problem. Start by setting the temperature to 200C or 180C for a fan oven. Step 2 – Peel and chopGrab your kilogram of potatoes and get prepping. Learning how to prep food is the first and most important thing any chef will learn to do. After all, prep work is the key to a chef’s success. Don’t be fooled into thinking a kitchen assistant is confined to slicing and dicing. No, they also learn how to chop julienne style, prepare meat and fillet fish – which, according to Paulo, was a highlight of his chef apprenticeship with M&B. Okay, back to the potatoes. Peel them and cut them into evenly sized pieces, around 5cm.Step 3 – Boil themGet those chopped potatoes into a large pan and add enough water so they’re just covered. You want to add cold water, otherwise, the outside will cook faster and we’re aiming for perfection here, remember. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and once the water has reached the boiling point, reduce it to a simmer and cook for another 2 minutes.Step 4 - Time to fluff it upOnce they’re out the water and left to cool for a few minutes, pop them back in the pan with a lid on and give them a rustle them around. You want to fluff up the outside of the potatoes but go gently or you’ll open the pan to mashed potatoes. Fluffing is an essential step. Miss it and we’re sorry to say you won’t come close to the crispy roasties that our chefs lovingly prepare at Toby Carvery. Finally, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of plain flour and give it another little shake to coat them – this will help them get that delicious crunch.Step 5 – Into the ovenYour oven should be hot now, but for the potatoes to crisp up nicely you need to be popping them into piping hot oil or fat. Place the roasting tin in the oven with 5 tablespoons of goose fat, olive oil or butter and leave until it’s at maximum heat – around 3-5 minutes. If you’re a garlic fan (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) here’s your moment. Mince 6 cloves and combine it with the oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of parsley or another herb.Carefully spoon the potatoes onto the pan and mix them so they’re coated in the hot fat. Leave them for 15 minutes, then turn them and roast for another 15 minutes. Flip them around once more and then back in they go for 10-20 minutes, until they’re goldened to your liking. Learn from the very best chefs at M&BLearning how to cook the perfect roast potato is surely a life skill that should be taught in school? Okay, maybe not quite but we do teach our chefs how to make these melt-in-your-mouth roast potatoes along with lots of other signature dishes and sides.If you’re interested in learning from the very best, you won’t find a place better than M&B. Every member of the kitchen team receives the training they need, whether that’s learning how to grill the perfect steak at Miller & Carter, toss pizza dough at Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery or plate up the perfect Sunday roast at Toby Carvery. Find out more about our chef apprenticeships at M&B.
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