Whether you want to tuck into some good quality British game at the Jugged Hare, enjoy a drink overlooking the river on the terrace of The Gun, Docklands, or sip a post-work cocktail at One Canada Square restaurant in the heart of Canary Wharf, the 10 ETM Group venues offer something for every mood and every occasion.
Head of Operations, Bridget Croft is in charge of ensuring the smooth running of the 10 sites, “There is no typical day in my life,” she says. “I have to communicate with all the managers across all sites to ensure everything is running smoothly – I could be recruiting new team members; menu tasting; developing the drinks that we serve; or sorting out any issues with payroll – with so many diverse venues every day varies.”
Having been immersed in the hospitality industry from 16 with her parents owning a restaurant, at 21 Bridget moved over to London from South Africa, and started work as a waitress at the Salisbury Tavern in Fulham. She progressed within the company to Assistant Manager and then General Manager where she stayed for five and a half years.
When a vacancy for General Manager at The Gun, owned by ETM Group, came up Bridget jumped at the chance to apply. “I’d always liked the look of ETM Group and their sites – I was over the moon to get the job,” she says.
As ETM grew, Bridget flourished, and within two years she moved into an operations and training role where she supported the managerial team and the Operations Director. Two years ago she took over as Head of Operations. “Being offered the role of Head of Operations was probably the proudest moment in my career so far,” she says. “It’s what I always wanted to achieve, as soon as I started out in the industry and within ETM I was very focused and determined to get to this position. “
Bridget always knew from an early age that she was going to pursue a rewarding career within hospitality, however often young people aren’t aware of the opportunities which are on offer to them. “Often it’s not thought of as an industry in which you can pursue a career. In actual fact, the industry offers something for everyone,” she says.
“I’ve seen people progress from being an average waiter to being the best waiter in the company and that’s their type of career progression. I’ve also seen people progress from collecting glasses to Assistant Manager and then onto General Managers. It’s all about what you want from your career – the ladder is there to climb if you want to progress.”
Bridget’s passion for her role is clear to see and she brims with enthusiasm and pride when talking about ETM Group. “I’m proud of ETM and what it offers, particularly in terms of training. We are really conscious about encouraging our staff to develop. Every site has training sessions once a week and every month masterclasses are offered to staff.”
“These include learning about butchery, or rum, or any aspect of the business operation,” says Bridget. “It’s all to encourage our staff to get more involved in the company and to feel included in what we’re doing as we grow.”
ETM run their own academy where employees that demonstrate potential get to attend training classes. These hand-picked individuals progress to Assistant Manager and Supervisor roles. Bridget says that it’s all about recognising the budding stars.
“Our people recognise that we invest in them to help career development. Recruitment is probably the most difficult aspect of my role, finding the right staff can be difficult so once we’ve got good team members we want to do everything we can to keep them,” she says.
Bridget believes that people can pick up the necessary skills along the way in the industry and the most important thing is that people are prepared to work hard. “You need to be a people person and it can be long hours but if you’re prepared to accept that it’s also a huge amount of fun. It also requires so many different skills. My job involves me being a mother to my staff; a recruiter; a food and drink expert; a customer service expert; an accountant and so much more.”
For more information about ETM Group visit www.etmgroup.co.uk