5 Minutes With Glenn Lewis...
Glenn Lewis, Food & Beverage Director (As seen on Hotel 24/7, Mondays at 8pm on BBC One Wales)
With a passion for hospitality, Glenn is a consummate professional renowned for his great attention to detail. Alongside his ‘day job’ overseeing the Resort’s front of house food and beverage operation since 2006, he recently demonstrated his creative flair taking on the role of interior designer for our new Hunter Lodges.
We caught up with Glenn on a busy Monday morning, to find out what the life of a busy Food & Beverage Director is really like...
Hi Glenn! It’s 8.15am and you’re already rushing about – are you a morning person?
Well, three days a week I wake up at 5am to get to the gym for 6.30am with my personal trainer, but I always make time for my tea and digestive biscuits first thing.
That’s an early start Glenn! So once you get to work is there anything that you have to do straight away?
(By this time, Glenn is already on his third phone call…) I usually get to the office by 8am, as I can get far more done before the day starts properly. First I’ll switch on the computer and make myself a cup of Earl Grey, four dunks and one sugar of course. Then I print off reports for the morning meeting. “Actually, he has six dunks, no sugar, when I make it!” shouts over Natalie (Glenn’s secretary). Natalie, F&B Secretary is doing a pretty good job of helping us out today - she definitely knows Glenn better than anyone else.
Tell us a bit about what you do day-to-day?
The phone rings again…we wait patiently…Well, first I visit all six of our restaurants ahead of the morning meeting to ensure that they are fully prepared for the day ahead and that all staff have arrived. After dealing with any issues, it’s off to the morning meeting to find out exactly what the day has in store – who we have staying with us in house, how many guests we are expecting for dinner, and any events happening that day that need extra attention. I’ll usually have a number of other meetings throughout the day such as planning for future events, meeting with a supplier, or a one-to-one with a restaurant manager. No two days are ever the same!
And what do you find the most challenging part of your day?
Actually trying to get out of the office! It’s difficult to find a balance between office and front of house demands, especially with telephone calls and e-mails coming through all day. Almost everything in F&B requires an immediate response, which does make it challenging from time to time.
Technology is taking over everything! So apart from endless e-mails and phone calls, what’s the best part about your day?
A job well done - seeing happy customers and knowing that you have made a difference to their whole resort experience.
So Glenn, do you have any funny stories you would like to share about filming hotel 24/7?
I really enjoyed the whole experience, it was a lot of fun! I loved having the camera crew follow me around, but I wasn’t quite expecting them to turn up at the gym at 6.30am!
Well it is Hotel 24/7! Working in such a busy environment we’re curious to know if you have any pet peeves?
Yes, people who don’t listen and don’t apply themselves to the smaller things. It’s the little things that make a real difference and set us apart - it costs nothing to go that extra mile.
What was the most enjoyable part about filming for Hotel 24/7?
Showing off our new Hunter Lodges and visiting the Newbridge on Usk. Hotel 24/7 gives a real insight into how hard we work to give our guests a fantastic time at the resort. It also shows the team spirit amongst the teams, which is definitely something we are proud of at Celtic Manor.
What advice would you give to someone seeking the same career as you?
If you thrive on personal satisfaction and getting a buzz from improving people’s experiences, meeting lots of different people from different cultures, then F&B is a great industry to work in. You do need a huge amount of commitment and of course put in the hours, but overall it’s very rewarding and satisfying.
Enough about work! What do you like to do in your spare time?
At the end of a long day, for me there’s nothing better than a glass of Dubonnet and a little Mozart to calm the nerves, and catching up with my partner. I also love to travel, go to dinner, the theatre and shopping. When I’m not working, I love to entertain friends at home as it’s a much more personal experience, although I am very partial to a good dining experience with great food, great service and lots of little things that make a difference. (Knock, knock … the door goes again, Glenn is a very busy man indeed).
Thank you Glenn! I think it’s about time we wrap this up now, so you can catch up with your e-mails and drink your Earl Grey before it goes cold!