...front of House
If you believe in an exceptional guest experience, every time, this could be the place for you
One other profession uses the term front-of-house, the theatre, and the similarities are perhaps closer than you think?
As soon as you come into Prestonfield through the grand portico and see the lavish decor, art collection and swathes of red velvet you know you are on a stage set. Guests might not realise just how choreographed a performance they are about to see.
First job of the day is to change into uniform and look smart before joining the rest of the team. As we offer five-star service around the clock, whenever you start someone is here before you, so it's nice to see a welcoming face and hear what the priority jobs are.
An early shift means setting up for breakfast and making sure that any meeting rooms in use that morning are set and ready to welcome guests. Breakfast is busier here than in other hotels I've worked in, as it is included as standard in the room rate so most guests enjoy it? A few room service orders can keep you busy at the start of the day too.
Once breakfast is clear it's time to start preparing for the lunch and dinner services ahead, that means lots of cutlery to polish, plates to buff and napkins to be folded. The standards expected are high and everywhere Prestonfield has its own unique way of doing things, so whether it is placing the forks prong down or arranging the flowers just so – there will be the Prestonfield way to do it. I've worked in great places with demanding standards before, but somehow this is different, more personal. I suppose that might be the effect of the owner being here every day, his eye for spotting something that needs attention is legendary – but then he did first work here as a waiter so, he's seen it from every level.
An early staff lunch gives a chance to catch up with colleagues in other departments before the first guests arrive for lunch. If there are meetings booked, or Prestonfield's private dining rooms are in use they will need to be set up too. That could involve setting a room theatre-style for a wedding ceremony or a number of tables for private dining.
An early start meets that I probably finish at 3pm so I'll leave just as those who'll be working on the dinner service arrive. For them, a 3pm start means looking after any guests who are having a lingering lunch and serving the traditional afternoon teas that Prestonfield is known for. As hotel guests start to check in or return from what they have been doing during the day the public rooms will become the focus of the hotel with groups gathering for drinks.
Before service we'll have a detailed briefing so we know what to expect, what special requests there are. Head Chef will explain any new dishes on the menu, what the amuse bouche is today and which artisan cheeses we are offering. If we are lucky staff tea might be followed by a tasting of new menu dishes. This isn't just a treat – it is important that we know just what a dish contains and how it is presented so that that we can help diners choose.
Evening service if often busy; you have Rhubarb as a popular destination restaurant with individual groups of guests arriving throughout the evening, but you might also have some of the private dining rooms in use which could mean up to another 100 diners to look after.
We'll work with the bar and the sommelier who'll be advising on wines and serving drinks, we'll keep the porters busy with calls for taxis and departing guests need in their coats and we'll admire the managers who are keeping an eye on that night's action that could have guests spread around up to ten different rooms!
Busy nights and weekends are a great adrenaline buzz as lots of people arrive and the hotel is full of guests. It is a thrill to see them leave happy and fulfilling to be part of a team that has delivered that day's performance. Breakfast will be along all too soon, I'm glad I'm on a late start!