steel pans hanging up in kitchen

From Kitchen Team Member to Retail Business Manager and beyond

From Kitchen Team Member to Retail Business Manager and beyond

Emily Smith our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 24/01/2022

If you take on a chef job, you're signing yourself up for a life-long career in the kitchen, right? Not quite. While we've got lots of chefs like Simon who have risen the ranks in the kitchen, there are just as many who have started in a back of house role before realising a front of house job is for them.

The great thing is, at Mitchells & Butlers, the opportunities are limitless. We make sure you get to steer your career in the direction that's right for you, giving you the support you need at every stage. But don't take our word for it. Read on to hear about Anthony's journey from Kitchen Team Member to Retail Business Manager and beyond.

What made you decide to join M&B?

Back in 2006, I was working as a chef at another restaurant chain when my friend took up a job at The Round Oak Toby Carvery. I decided to move with him, but I was studying my maths A-levels at the time, so I had no plans to move up from Kitchen Team Member. After a few weeks, the General Manager offered me a Kitchen Team Leader position, and I grabbed it with both hands.

The opportunities didn't stop there. After showing my aptitude for numbers when I oversaw the stock and wastage system for the district, I was soon promoted to Kitchen Manager. During my year in this role, I knew I wanted to develop my career outside the kitchen, so an Assistant Manager job was the obvious next step for me.

How did you find the switch from back of house to front of house?

You quickly see things from the other side of the coin - not everything is about rumbling spuds and loading meat. As Assistant Manager, I really ramped up the district's stock and wastage system, and made multiple support visits to other sites, building rapport with other General Managers. After two years as Assistant Manager, my General Manager was moving to a bigger M&B business, and I was ready for the next step - the door was open!

Was the General Manager job everything you dreamt of?

Making the step up to General Manager was the first huge challenge of my career. I knew there were plenty of other people with their sights on the job, but I'd made a name for myself when I made those site visits and proved I was ready for the challenge. When I was offered the job, I celebrated by watching Finding Nemo with my newborn son Blake, and I couldn't wait to get started in the role.

On my first day, there were a million things to get done, but I wasn't going to complain. I was at The Round Oak - exactly where I wanted to be - and I was going to do everything I could to smash our records. Nine months on, our profit and loss reports were incredible, guest scores were flying, and the business was safe. But most importantly, the team was stable and happy.

When did you know you were ready for the next career move?

I'd put the hard work in and obviously proved myself because my Retail Business Manager (RBM) walked in the door and said, "Let's talk about what's next." Not long after, I started the RBM development programme.

This was both brilliant and nerve-wracking because it wasn't just a career step - it was a leap that would take me out of my comfort zone. As an RBM, I’d have the same responsibilities as any area manager would, including overseeing the day-to-day operations of a number of businesses within my district. But I was supported every step of the way, and my RBM gave me a lot of freedom to drive the district forward. As long as the Round Oak performed, I could support the district where needed, all while developing my skills.

I am now RBM for my district, and I’m loving every minute of it. The skills I've learnt in each position have set me up for success, and I honestly wouldn’t change my path for the world!

Where do you see your career going from here?

Who knows! Operations Manager, Head of Compliance, or maybe even Prime minister? I make that joke, but really, I have no plans to stop progressing. I want to top the brand scorecard this year by smashing our key performance metrics - we're after district of the year. I want each guest to enjoy their time with us, and I want each business to be safe and legal. I know that to do this, I've got to passionately lead my team, making sure they're engaged, happy and have access to all the training they need.

Start a successful and rewarding career with Mitchells and Butlers

Wherever you are in your career journey, we're sure to have an opportunity that will challenge you in all the right ways. Anthony's story is just one of many success stories at M&B, and his move from back of house to front of house just shows there's no set career path here.

Browse our latest kitchen jobs, management jobs or bar and waiting roles to find a position that's perfect for you.

Or, if you'd like to hear more stories like Anthony's, check out our career progression content.

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