How Kyle rose the ranks from Kitchen Porter to Operations Manager

How Kyle rose the ranks from Kitchen Porter to Operations Manager

Emily Smith our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 17/09/2021

When Kyle first joined the hospitality industry, he didn’t know it was just the first step in a very successful career. But it wasn't long before he started thinking about his development, and soon after that, he noticed that there were some exciting paths he could follow.

Learning and development (L&D) were important then, and they matter even more now. In fact, 64% of people agree that L&D jumped from 'nice-to-have' to 'need-to-have' in 2021.

To mark this National Hospitality Day, we spoke to Kyle, who started his hospitality career as a Kitchen Porter and is now Operations Manager at Mitchells & Butlers. Read on to hear about his career progression with us, what advice he'd give to his younger self, and who his dream dinner guest would be.

What made you join M&B?

At 16 years old I took on kitchen porter role with no real vision of where it would lead me. Over the years I took on various roles, including a cocktail waiter and general manager, before joining an operations graduate program in 2010. It was in 2015 that my journey with M&B began.

It was always clear to me, even from the outside, that M&B was the place to be in our sector. The portfolio of brands that M&B operate – including Harvester, Miller & Carter and All Bar One – highlighted it as a place that could offer lots of different experiences and opportunities.

Tell us about your career journey at M&B

I started as an Area Manager within the Harvester brand. Through the company’s talent development programme, I have had so many opportunities to perform roles and work on projects outside of my day job. Employee benefits like these matter now more than ever, and the hands-on experience has helped me understand the bigger picture of the organisation.

The company has a fantastic people development culture - something we refer to as “The High Potential Programme”. This programme helps everyone set their career up for success, and it helped me secure my promotion to Operations Manager for Harvester in 2019. As for the next stage of my development, I will be moving to our sister brand, Suburban, in October 2021.

What has kept you working here for all these years?

M&B strives to be industry-leading, always. Being a part of a company that aims to be the best is both infectious and exciting. This ambition is also something that resonates with my personal goals.

Normally, when you have a company with such a high desire to compete at the top level, the drive for results can diminish the role that people play in this process (profits over people, if you will). This is not the case at M&B. We're a company that understands that driving results comes down to the cumulative effort of every person in the organisation, from the kitchen assistants and waiting staff to the head chefs and general managers.

Can you tell us a bit more about the development opportunities at M&B?

M&B has structured the internal development programmes to be based on two things -performance and potential. The team receive regular development updates, which will discuss a person's career ambitions. From this, they'll build tailored plans to help you to achieve your personal goals. They spot potential early and nurture this so people can progress their careers without any roadblocks and even relocate to find a better position in the company.

I am continually blown away by the number of people in this business that have developed through the ranks. Whether that's someone working in the kitchen, out serving guests, or leading their team. M&B really is a place where you could take a part-time weekend job and end up being the CEO.

What is one bit of career advice you'd give to your younger self?

There is a scene in the very last episode of the American ‘Office’ where one of the characters looks at the camera and says, “I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them”. This line really is true of anyone looking to develop their career. I have been guilty of fixating on that next step and failing to stop and appreciate just how good things are. Be ambitious, but constantly remind yourself to stop so you don’t miss all the really good stuff that happens along the way.

If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be, and what would you make?

I would probably cook something like a Wellington for Bill Murray. The food would be average, but the conversation would be awesome!

Where could a career with M&B take you?

If Kyle's story has inspired you to find your next job with us, then what are you waiting for? We have a whole host of jobs that are yours for the taking. Check out our kitchen jobs, bar and waiting jobs or management jobs and take that one step closer to joining the M&B family.

Or, if you want to learn more about #LifeAtMAB, you can check out our latest M&B culture blogs.

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