Case study

Restaurant manager — Kevin Vanlerberghe

Studying international hotel management has led Kevin into a hospitality job that he truly loves…

What degree did you study?

International hotel management at Universidad Europea de Madrid and Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.

What is your current job?

Assistant general manager at Soho Kitchen & Bar.

What did you do after graduation?

I began my time at Soho House in 2012, on the management trainee programme. In September 2013 I was appointed assistant operations manager at Shoreditch House, our flagship members' house in the UK. I then became site manager at Dirty Burger in Vauxhall, before moving onto Pizza East Portobello, Notting Hill, working as operations manager. I began my current job in October 2014.

How relevant was your subject of study in securing your current job?

Massively: studying international hotel management gave me a theoretical base on which to build.

Describe a typical working day in your current job.

I begin work at around 9am, opening the restaurant. I then confirm all of the reservations for the day. Just before lunch, I brief the staff on their sections, daily dishes and any extra training points, such as cocktails. I then run the lunch service, which is always buzzing in Soho. If I'm working the late shift I will close the restaurant, cash out all members of staff and complete the day's banking.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

All of my roles have been really great. They've allowed me to develop both a back-of-house and front-of-house understanding. This has been a key part of my role, as I oversee both aspects. My long-term ambition is to become an operations director, but my short-term goal is to be a part of the team when we open Soho House Istanbul in 2015.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Lots. Highlights include serving our customers, and developing and managing staff across different departments. It's always rewarding when you see a runner promoted to a waiter.

I also love the relaxed atmosphere and being part of our customers' parties, anniversaries and nights out.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Multitasking can be difficult. In my role you never know what's around the corner. This keeps me on my toes but can be very challenging, especially during busy periods.

What advice would you have for other students or graduates looking to get a job in hospitality or events management?

Be humble. Always keep an open mind to learning new things and enjoy new experiences. This will help develop you as a person and a professional. Never be fully satisfied with what you achieve: work only begins when you leave university. It's also vital to appreciate that you don't need all the experience in the world before you start. In relation to my peers, I had far less experience.