Nick, Hotel Manager, Premier Inn
Getting back into the working world after a while, or embarking on something new later in life can be daunting. Fear, self doubt and questioning whether it’s even possible is holding people back from starting a new chapter in their life. At Whitbread, we want to turn around the negatives and help you change your story – both the stories you tell yourself about lack of confidence, ability or employability, and your future ambitions too. You’re at the best place to #ChangeYourStory, with the UK’s leading hospitality business.
“I was at Tesco for 16 years in all and I enjoyed it. The work was service focussed which really played up to my strengths. I’d built my career up the company through a variety of roles and the skills that retail has given me that I’m still grateful for today – leadership and management.
“But when the time came to leave Tesco I originally chose to stay in the retail industry – despite a growing feeling that it was no longer built around customer service. In fact it became clear to me over the intervening years that actually people were secondary to making money. An old boss actually told me: ‘Prices are so cheap here, we don’t do customer service’. It was a totally alien concept to me – and certainly not what I was about at all.
“I was store manager at a well-known DIY store until fate bought a Whitbread Regional Operations Manager into my shop. I’d worked with him previously and when the subject turned to what he was doing now, he couldn’t sing Whitbread’s praises enough.
“I can honestly say that hospitality wasn’t an industry I’d previously considered, but here was someone talking about a business that valued everything I was looking for – opportunity, fun and career progression.
“I applied to become Hotel Manager of Premier Inn Warrington South and that’s where everything began for me. The start couldn’t have been better; it was a really thorough onboarding process that had me meeting several senior leaders within the business who all spoke in glowing terms about Whitbread. They didn’t speak coldly in facts and figures at all. They spoke about the people, first and foremost. Then the history of the company and, of course, the future. This was something I wanted to play a part in.
“When I began at Warrington, I was buddied up to a local Hotel Manager who was there for anything I needed. I could spend time with them, ask questions and they were there for me. I’ve repaid the favour since and it just strengthens the family feel we have in Premier Inn. Overall though I just felt there was time to learn. I needed time to adjust to the new role and I was afforded that.
“In a decade with Whitbread I’ve managed all sorts of sites, including hotels with inbuilt restaurants – so I’ve been responsible for the F&B side of the Premier Inn experience, adding another string to my bow. I’ve moved around the North West – I live in Stoke with three kids so it’s been really great to be locally-based to see them grow up.
“Now I manage Hanley and Newcastle-Under-Lyme and I’m responsible for two incredible teams with more than 200 rooms. I get real satisfaction helping the team progress – influencing them, coaching them, developing them to move onwards and upwards in this great company. I’ve got two amazing Assistant Hotel Managers who are well on their way to becoming the next generation of leaders.
“Looking back, I was ready for a change when I left Tesco, but retail was all I’d known. Here at Whitbread, the culture was a much better fit for me personally than any retailer. I need to like the people I work for! We use every opportunity to thank people here and it’s so powerful, I don’t know why every business doesn’t utilise it – but they don’t!
“I immediately felt I’d made the right decision when I joined Whitbread. We operate a really simple but effective mantra – look after what comes through your door. We’re so guest orientated and it breeds exemplary behaviours.
“I’d say to anyone watching the clock right now, dreaming of getting out of work for the day – how about a role that leaves you actually looking forward to coming into work and being around great people striving for a common goal.”
How does that sound? If you’re looking to #ChangeYourStory, do it with the UK’s leading hospitality business and write your chapter in our proud 276-year history.