Natalie Duffy

Managing Director & Personnel Operations, Salty Dog Bar and Bistro & El Tico Beach Cantina

There is no typical day! My weeks and months follow a format that are influenced by the seasons, so this routine doesn’t change with menus and marketing generally being prepared six months in advance. However, every day can be different with challenges sent to test me regularly varying from anything to do with personnel matters, training, customer enquiries, menu creations and design, financial reports, maintenance & marketing. Monday’s are absolutely crazy sometimes; they are beginning and end of theweek with takings and wages being processed from the week before and management meetings attended for the week ahead. It’s all about communication and planning.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
By far the most important attribute not “skill” per say I have in my chosen career is a genuine passion for hospitality, plus tons of energy, versatility, efficiency fastidious attention to detail and conscientious commitment to doing whatever job I do, well.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
Hospitality was my back up plan. Coming from a show business background, I had every intention of being a super star in the West End, however, once I came down to earth after a couple of years in London (clearly not making it beyond the chorus line) I reverted to plan B and entered into the tourism industry working as a holiday and car hire representative. I loved the interaction with visitors and talking about
Jersey, it was an easy sell! I enjoyed the independence of managing my own day plus I was motivated by commission lead sales of tickets for attractions, booking car hire and boat trips to France or Guernsey. It was fun, I earned good money and met some amazing people.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I take great pride in being a part of a team that pulls together the pleasurable experience of great food, excellent service and a relaxed professional atmosphere, however, the best part is seeing the results of all that coordinated effort. Serving people and seeing the pleasure on their faces whilst enjoying a meal or drink in one of our establishments is immensely rewarding.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
People talk about the unsociable hours, but actually once you are in this industry it all fits into place and the hours can provide an opportunity for a more diverse structure to leisure and family time, the work and life balance is just not based around the 9-5 regime, that suits some people. As for pay, well generally, the more skilled & experienced you are the more you can earn, but isn’t that the same in any industry?

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I took a hotel reception course at Highlands after my 10 GCSE’s before heading off to drama college. When I returned to the Island after travelling the world (which I would classify as a valuable qualification in life generally) I worked as a temp in many of our finance and law offices in St. Helier and whilst there I used the tutorials to teach myself and develop my computer skills as well as becoming familiar with office administration procedures. All this experience was the foundation of my broad knowledge and subsequent ability to adapt and take on any challenge this business can throw at me.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
If you really have a passion for this industry then pursue it! There are many avenues you can follow including taking the wide variety of courses at Highlands from barista training to management apprenticeships or attending specialist hospitality colleges around the world. There is no set route into this industry, you can start as a waitress and work your way right up to the top, it’s all up to you.