“I often get asked – ‘Where’s the Guv’ner? Imagine their shocked faces when I tell them that they’re looking at her,” said Harriet Teague, the 24-year-old manager of the Fuller’s pub The Pilot in Chiswick.
“There is a common misconception that young people can’t progress into a managerial position, or find rewarding employment. I am proof that determination, drive and ambition is what you need to succeed in business.”
Harriet graduated from Durham University with BA in Modern Languages and the ambition to manage a business. Careers fairs offered routes into banking, law and marketing, but the hospitality sector wasn’t represented, leaving her to search for a graduate programme online.
“I’d carried out work experience in offices and sitting down for eight hours a day just isn’t for me – I like to keep busy and take on responsibility.”
Harriet found the ‘Fast Track to Pub Management – Development Programme’ offered by Fuller’s. The tailored 24-36 month programme teaches graduates how to successfully manage a pub business.
Candidates on the programme rapidly work their way up from a team member into a supervisor role. Their next move to an assistant manager is supported through coaching by a successful and experienced manager. Throughout this period graduates work towards managing their very own pub, this typically can see a successful graduate running a business with a turnover in excess of £1 million per year, within two years.
Linda Horner, training manager at Fuller’s, said: “We choose graduates to join the programme who have a passion for the business, a flair for management and impressionable personalities. We don’t have a quota of graduates to meet, we take on those who we see potential in on the assessment day.”
“Harriet has demonstrated her entrepreneurial skills and passion for the customer experience throughout the two years of development, and during the six months that she has been a general manager at The Pilot.”
Almost half of Fuller’s managers are grown internally thanks to the scheme, which attracts future leaders and provides a talent pipeline for the company. Graduates have the opportunity to develop flourishing careers and become great ambassadors of the 178 managed sites.
“I am accountable for The Pilot and I really enjoy the responsibility – I’m doing it for myself as well as Fuller’s,” added Harriet. “Our pubs are unbranded and we have a lot of autonomy which gives me the freedom to project some personality into the business.
“The role is very interesting and varied, unlike the view of many who see it as a role of chatting and serving customers. As a young manager, I am trialling my own business activity plan. I’ve already organised a handful of events including a garden BBQ on fireworks night. It was a hugely successful event and our food was so popular we sold out!”
The Pilot has a regularly changing menu which offers fresh food, creating seasonal dishes throughout the year. Harriet works closely with the head chef to plan the menus, research competing food offers and monitor costing.
“I’ve had to learn a lot of business skills, which you wouldn’t expect to be involved in running a pub. I have to market the business, manage the administration and motivate my team of up to eight bar staff and six kitchen staff on a daily basis.
“My role is challenging yet extremely rewarding. I would recommend the Fuller’s graduate scheme to any one who find themselves in the same position I was two years ago. The programme is solid and teaches an invaluable amount of transferable skills. The industry offers incredibly fun career paths. If you’re passionate, driven and keen to muck in you will achieve a lot.”
Looking to the future, Harriet has her hands full with growing the business. The combination of planning the pubs activity, developing a top quality menu, organising successful events and maintaining a happy team will ensure her success.
Applications are now open for the ‘Fast Track to Pub Management – Development Programme’ in October for 2015. To find out more about the programme click here.
If you want to check out The Pilot for yourself get directions here.