Jason Waterfield, Catering Services Manager
I’ve been working at the University for a year now, and I love being part of a fantastic team in a role that allows me to nurture individual talent.
Because my job is so varied and extensive, there’s no such thing as a typical day. I like to be visible, so each morning I take an hour to visit our catering facilities, to observe individual and outlet performance. I also spend time catching up with department heads, including our executive chefs and catering/hospitality managers, because it’s important for me to speak to my team regularly.
I’m a serious foodie, so I’ll normally spend part of the day resourcing and designing new food and service concepts. I’ll also spend a few hours working on a specific project. Recently, I’ve been working on the new Catering Services website, which we launched last week at http://catering.southampton.ac.uk
As a manager, I have to oversee the day-to-day aspects of our catering service alongside longer-term business strategy and procurement matters. Whatever I do, the most important thing to me is ensuring that my team is supported, motivated and inspired.
Jane Mullett, Catering Supervisor
I’ve been at the University for 21 years and have found working in the service industry to be a very rewarding job. I get great satisfaction from providing our customers with the best possible service and quality food at competitive prices.
As a supervisor, I’m responsible for ensuring that our high standards are maintained throughout all of our food service. A typical day involves checking stock, placing orders and cashing up, as well as liaising with customers and taking hospitality bookings.
I enjoy being part of the ongoing development of our services, and the new coffee bar at NOCS is a great example of this. Sometimes it’s hard being located away from the main site, but I enjoy working in an ever-changing environment where no two days are rarely the same.
Ricardo Luis Ferreira, Blue Room Supervisor
I’ve been working at the University for eight years. I’ve always enjoyed working in catering, and being Portuguese, it’s very much in our culture to go out for meals.
The shift patterns here mean that I have a good work-life balance, which is nice, but the most enjoyable aspect of my job is working to exceed customers’ expectations. It’s great when we receive compliments about the Blue Room’s innovative food and brilliant chefs.
Our guests are usually on a tight time schedule for lunch, so this can make service very challenging at times, but I love the buzz of a busy service and the engagement that I have with customers.
Gina Hodge, Offsite Catering Manager
I’ve been working at the University for 42 years, after getting my first job in catering at the age of 16.
I’m based at Connaught Hall, but overall I’m responsible for four retail units and two halls of residence. My day starts by looking at the business needs to see which site I need to go to first – it’s a 23-mile round trip from NOCS to the WSA café, which can be quite time consuming!
Managing a team of 42 staff, I try to call each supervisor in the morning to ensure they are ready for the day ahead and resolve any issues that arise. As well as attending meetings and organising staff rotas, I order stock and check invoices too. I think it’s important to be hands-on because as a manager, you need to have a good knowledge of every aspect of the catering operation.
Catering is hard work, so you have to enjoy what you do, but I’m very lucky that I have a great team. The most enjoyable aspect of my job is ending every day with the feeling that I’ve done my best.
Fritz Apellido, Catering Supervisor at Highfield Halls and The Avenue café
I’ve been working at the University for five years, and I really enjoy the dynamic working environment we have here.
I begin my day by greeting staff and checking for any problems that might arise. This is followed by making sure we have the right stock in and ordering more where appropriate, as well as keeping everywhere clean to ensure a smooth operation.
The most challenging aspect of my job is dealing with unpredictability – sometimes it can be hard to estimate the number of people we have coming in, and I’m always aiming to reduce the levels of food waste.
This year has been particularly exciting at The Avenue, with lots of new food concepts and a refurbishment of the café. Work is my second home; I enjoy interacting with students, staff and visitors and greeting customers with a smile.