“This is the sector which recognises and rewards hard work, promotes career progression and above all else is a lot of fun,” said Zoe Harbour, floor manager at Missoula Bar & Grill.
Aged 24, Zoe has worked her way up from the back of house to restaurant floor manager, gaining six promotions in no time at all. Although, she didn’t always think that her future was in hospitality – Zoe graduated with a BA History degree in 2010.
Zoe’s career rocketed in a new direction after waitressing at Oscars Wine Bar & Bistro in York. During her time at the family run business she found that she had a passion for hospitality – inspiring a whole new career route.
She then took a role at The Living Room in York. “Starting in a back of house role was the best thing that I could have done – by glass collecting, refilling stock and cleaning I learnt all of the basic skills. I gained respect from all members of staff by mucking in too.”
Zoe spoke with an eagerness about her favourite shifts behind the bar: “the best days are the especially busy ones, like the York races. The hectic environment puts the whole team to the test whilst bringing us together. At the end of the day we achieve something amazing and there is no better feeling than that.
“I was promoted to an in-store trainer position, after bartending for six months. I became mother hen, looking after the new members of staff. That was my first taste of real responsibility; I really enjoyed the fact that management trusted me!
“The regulars even noticed that I had gained more and more responsibility – it has been great to receive so many the compliments about my progress from customers.”
With her eyes open to the prosperous career on the horizon, Zoe made the most of the experienced team around her and cross-trained to become a waitress. The Living Room converted into Missoula Bar & Grill giving Zoe the opportunity to demonstrate her operational skills to a crowd of journalists, Stonegate board members and the locals on the launch night.
“That was a big night, probably the most significant of my career so far. I’m still really proud of how well my team worked together in such an electric environment.”
Although Zoe is modest about how far she has come and how much she has achieved in so little time – it is clear that her career hasn’t yet reached the climax. Zoe has dreams of owning her own restaurant or bar one day – but until then she wants to learn as much as possible from her colleges and friends in the industry.
Zoe said: “I know it is cliché – but in the hospitality industry you really do have the opportunity to make so many friends and live an amazing lifestyle.
“I wouldn’t change it and I would recommend it to anyone – whether they be a graduate, college or school leaver.”
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