General Manager, MediaCity
Where are you from?
Where did you start your career?
As a Kitchen Porter in Belfast. Very quickly moved onto the bar when I turned 18 though
Give us a brief timeline of your career with The Alchemist to date
I joined our New York Street venue as a bartender in April 2017. Moved into management there in January 2018, became Assistant General Manager at MediaCity in 2019, & following a brief stint as AGM in Spinningfields in 2021, I took over as General Manager in my spiritual home of MediaCity this year, 2022
Tell us about your role
It's my responsibility to ensure that every guest receives the best service & the team have all the tools they need to perform their roles effectively, at all times. It's about guiding the management teams to ensure that every guest that comes through our door has the best experience possible, & learning how to grow our team & improve what we do here every single day
What’s your favourite thing about working here?
The people. There's never a dull moment in MediaCity. Between the BBC & ITV being our neighbours, having the fantastic Lowry Theatre next door & with Old Trafford Football & Cricket grounds being just around the corner, it's always busy & no two days are ever the same. Nobody comes to The Alchemist to drown their sorrows. It's generally a celebration, a special occasion or a treat, & we get to meet hundreds of new people every day, who are, generally speaking, at their best. The challenge then is to ensure that we get that volume of people their ideal version of an Alchemist experience. We also have some of the most detailed bar training (in particular) of anywhere I've seen in the world, in order to deliver that volume of service at the standard that we do & that requires huge skill & commitment, but it's hugely rewarding to see all that coming together
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A footballer. Still reckon I can make it
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I've undertaken a huge project here in MediaCity, a community that I've seen develop over the 11 years I've lived around the area, & it's exciting to see our business grow at the same time as watching the plans for this area come to life. I'd like to continue growing as The Alchemist does, with all of the exciting new openings taking place. It's a fantastic company to be a part of, as it constantly strives to get better. My first goal is to be the best General Manager I can be, & contribute to making The Alchemist MediaCity the best place it can be
What is your favourite Alchemist cocktail?
Milk & Honey
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The current economic climate means that value for money is more important than ever before, so we have to really strive for excellence with every single guest, every single time, whilst training & developing our teams all over again & juggling supply chain issues, as well as all of the traditional pitfalls of hospitality. The challenge of building a team that can take us forwards against the backdrop of a whole new world is what motivates us & drives us forwards every single day
What advice would you give to someone just starting a career with The Alchemist?
Be yourself. You were recruited based on your personality. Our training requires discipline & commitment but is designed to prepare you, to give you the tools to deal with what gets thrown at you during a busy day, thus allowing you to relax & let your personality come to the fore. Turn up with a positive attitude, knowing that you will be challenged, & embrace it. You will grow in ways that you didn't know you could