A Day in the Life of Holly, Operations Director

A Day in the Life: Operations Director

Silvia, our HR and Culture Manager sat down, socially distanced of course, and chatted to Holly our brilliant Operations Director to find out what makes her love her job!

Over to Holly:  

Here goes…

Fuelled by Social Pantry’s awesome coffee (flat white all day, every day) I start my day at one of our sites or at our HQ in Battersea. I’m old-school, my notepad and pens are my best friend. I would be lost without them. Multiple pens for my different to do lists.

I generally split my work and lists into daily, weekly, monthly and what I call random (this is for the daily curve balls that get thrown at you). Anyone who works in the wonderful world of hospitality knows that no day is the same. You can plan as much as you want but there will ALWAYS be something that drags you away from the to do list. It could be a leak that has suddenly started pouring water into one of the sites, the gas going down in the middle of service, a staffing issue that needs immediate attention, or an Alex ‘thought’, sorry Alex…HAHA. But I guess you can’t be a successful entrepreneur without always thinking about the next big thing, task or idea!

Generally, Monday’s are heavy on admin and meetings. I need to send weekly financial reports to our Directors. This is also very much a daily task between myself and the site managers. It’s key to keep on top of the numbers to ensure you don’t get to the end of the week or even worse month not knowing where you stand. Margins are so tight in this gig and every penny counts.

I have a weekly meeting with Alex to update her on all thing’s sites, marketing meeting with the team, catch up with our Development and Exec chef to go over food sales, any complaints, and development ideas and our HR manager. We are currently working on streamlining our new starter and training documents ensuring we can be the best employer we can, from creating great incentives, having clear development plans for all levels and a great working culture for the business. This is a work in progress but a very exciting project.

The rest of the week is split between the sites and usually one other day in the office.

On site I catch up with my GM’s and Head Chefs. We have weekly agendas that we sit down and go through; sales vs budgets, labour costs, food costs, maintenance issues, staff/recruitment needs, customer feedback and events. It is key to get this time with the team and managers as it allows everyone to keep focused, and of course catch up with them to see how they are. We allow our teams to be very autonomous in their job roles, expectations are high but so long as we provide the right tools I’m a firm believer this is the best way to grow and develop.

Apart from the day to day, I am also working on the project management of moving to our new HQ. I love an Excel spread sheet, and there are many of them involved in this. I am in close contact with the contractors and setting up new suppliers from broadband to CCTV, and Fire to Health & Safety. The second is a tender for a new site contract.

If someone was to ask me to sum up my job role, I would tell them that you need to be all of the below;

  • Accountant
  • Counsellor
  • Multi-tasking genius
  • Love people
  • Trainer
  • Live and breathe food and drink
  • Project manager
  • Sense of humour when shit hits the fan
  • Ability to keep calm in stressful situations


And if someone was to ask me how I keep on top of everything I would say..lists, lists, lists.

Every day before I finish I write my to do list for the following day/week and get my calendar in order if it’s a Friday. This allows a clear head for the following day or weekend.

The joys of working my way up the ladder now allows me more often than not to have my weekends back. But let me tell you I have had my fair share of working them, along with the well known AFD’s (All F****ing Day’s), stock counts and all-out crazy shifts that I could write a book on. Hit me up if you think this could be a good book deal 😉

Hospitality has come a long way since I first started out, when 70 hour working weeks were the norm, there were little benefits and lots of angry chefs…  Over the last 5 or so years, it has been so refreshing to see a shift in these mindsets and be part of the movement of appreciating the work that people do. It’s not always easy, you work when everyone else is not, the many hats you wear can be overwhelming at times, but I bloody love my job and this industry!