Early Start

There are some key attributes required to be an Area Manager such as being super organised and having a flexible approach to the working day. It’s also essential to be an early riser! Most of bartlett mitchell’s sites have catering team members on site from 7am or even earlier so it’s necessary for Area Managers to be available to provide support from the very start of a caterer’s working day. It also helps to get on the road/train early as the role of area management inevitably requires travel most days.

So the day starts with an early morning cup of coffee checking emails. A client has emailed with an emergency request the evening before which now becomes the first priority of the day. VIP catering required for their CEO and 15 guests on Monday to include a working breakfast and lunch. It’s now Friday morning so an early call to the site manager is needed to arrange sufficient staffing and ensure all ingredients are ordered in time for Monday’s requirements.

Travel time is still working time for an area manager. Train journeys allow time to catch up on emails and admin. Enroute to the first site visit of the day calls are made to arrange last minute support staffing for two sites where key team members have unfortunately called in sick. There is also a call from the Operations Director for an update on what’s going on across the patch and progress on a couple of current projects.

First Visit of the Day

Arrival at the first site visit of the day and after saying good morning to the whole team a very welcome cup of Perkee coffee (served in a china cup of course – a policy for all bartlett mitchell team members, including the Area Managers, to reduce consumption of disposable cups) followed by a walk of the counters to check on breakfast service and a general update from the site manager on what’s happening on site. Next, move on to a meeting room to complete the site manager’s appraisal and update their personal development plan.

A quick check of emails shows a request that needs attention; can we provide a birthday cake for 100 guests for Monday? Of course, we would be delighted. At 10am you re-join the manager and some of the team to dial in to the regular Cup of Tea Training session (a weekly training/update conference call held every Friday to keep everyone up to date with what’s happening across the business) and then at 10.30am meet with the onsite client for the regular monthly review meeting. After the meeting key actions are reviewed with the site, meeting minutes are written up and then a visual check of the lunch counters which are just being set up, before heading off to the second site visit of the day.

Before arriving at the car though it’s immediately evident that this client site continues to have a notoriously poor mobile signal as the mobile phone starts pinging with missed calls and voicemails from the morning that need to be checked. One of the calls is from a nearby site asking if it’s possible to bring a box of coffee cups to them as their delivery is late due the delivery truck being stuck on the M25. Luckily it’s enroute to the next site so you pop back to collect a box to transfer to them before finally setting off.

Flexible Approach

On arrival, at the second site visit of the day lunch service is in full swing. After a walk of the counters and hello to the team you spot the client and have an informal catch up over lunch. This is followed by the main purpose of today’s visit which is to meet with the manager and review progress on a recent standards audit – good progress has been made and guidance is given on how to close off the final few actions.

The later part of the afternoon is taken up with a couple of conference calls. The first with the sales team and others who will form a presentation team which you are part of next week to bid for a potential new contract. Presentation slides are allocated and logistical plans agreed. The second call is a weekly mobilisation call with a new client and key stakeholders in the lead up to an upcoming new site opening; progress from the week is updated and plans communicated for what will be actioned next week. Another check of emails and then you wish the team a fantastic weekend before hitting the road.

Before driving home there a few more phone calls to make; check to see if all ready for the VIP catering on Monday and also all ensure the birthday cake is sorted out. Once all confirmed as okay there’s a call to the mobilisation manager to ensure action plan agreed for next week is in full swing. Then an out of the blue call from a consultant is received asking for a change in a recently submitted proposed budget. “Of course, no problem I’ll get it to you first thing Monday”. Alas this isn’t quick enough as they need it by close of play today as it needs to be emailed overseas where the senior client is based and their office is still open. So make the change and email the revised budget over.

A Busy Week Ahead

Back home but there are a couple of routine tasks to complete before the weekend can start. The weekly report is completed and emailed to bartlett mitchell’s senior team to ensure all communicated to on what is happening in the patch. Then the final task of the day is diary planning for next week. Looking ahead it includes client meetings, report writing, mobilisation planning, two more appraisals, a hospitality presentation, the tender presentation, interviewing for new team members, a budget to write, a meeting at head office and an awards dinner to attend. It’s going to be another busy week but certainly not a boring one!