"Our industry is all about personality and procedures. You have got to follow the guidelines, have common sense...there is so much to consider, because there is so much at stake."
Caryn Philip loves to get stuck in when it comes to all things hospitality. The newly appointed operations director of North West-based indie group R & B restaurants is in her third decade in the industry and comes across with the same vitality she talked about feeling for the industry when she was just a teen.
“I adopted my parent’s work ethic as a teenager, perhaps subconsciously although I could hear their wise words about the world of work “do it and be proud” ringing in my ears as soon as I started.”
Caryn, 42 now a very busy mum of two young girls as well as moving up the ranks to join founders Paddy Smith and Jonathan Poole at the helm, says she always wanted to prove what she’s worth.
“I began waitressing at 16 and by aged 18, it was like restaurants had become my niche. It felt like the right career decision albeit at an early point. I was in Dublin in my early twenties working at the bustling Lemongrass restaurant and became a supervisor aged 22, a manager aged 23 and then helped to roll out a business aged 24. It was just so enjoyable being involved in all aspects of helping to start a new business, help it grow, see it flourish and be around great teams.
Caryn’s father is an accountant and although she dabbled in financial services working in the insurance industry, the Monday to Friday life wasn’t for her.
“I quickly loved the Saturday hospitality buzz, in fact the whole theatre of it all every day, the dynamic, fun, fast pace, really enjoyed witnessing the evolution of businesses growing and thought I could do this anywhere in the world, literally.”
Caryn soon realised too what it would take to continually excel in the various roles moving up the ladder.
“I knew I’d be proving to others how much a role in hospitality matters as my managerial career in the industry developed. And it’s not the easiest job managing others in this industry…you really do have to work to people’s strengths. First and foremost is to be able to appreciate on the positive side, what it takes to succeed in many different aspects of the industry. If for example, as a customer, you watch the speed of our kitchen staff, the level of their savviness in what they do is huge!
“Our industry is all about personality and procedures too. You’ve got to follow the guidelines, have common sense in abundance…in fact there’s so much to consider, because there’s so much at stake.”
Caryn admits that most people can learn most things in the industry so long as they have that self-conscious, tough streak.
“I developed it by my mid-twenties!”
It’s stood her in good stead now that she’s matured into a role that’s multi-site-based across Liverpool and Cheshire working across five different concepts.