Manager, Premium Services/Restaurant | Hershey Entertainment and Resorts
Briefly describe your job and responsibilities.
I run the food and beverage operations at the GIANT Center Suites and the Cabana Grill at Hersheypark.
Suites—in charge of the day to day functions of setting up and planning for concerts, hockey games and other suite events. From building the events in our online f&b ordering system to executing everything on the day of the event. Lead a total staff of about 45 (staff 20 for an event using all the suites)
Cabana Grill—in charge of the day to day functions of running the stand in the Cabana area of Hersheypark for the summer season.
What does a “typical” day at work look like for you?
“Typical” isn’t a word I would use in our industry. Office/non-event days are used to prepare for the event, send out bills from past events, scheduling, meetings, etc. An event day is typically a 10-12 hour day from start to finish. Setting up the suites, delivering the food, guest services while the guests are here, clean up and closing out the system financially. Days off are never the same and your schedule depends on the events that week.
What was your first job?
I was a manager for a catering company that handled both on premises and off premise catering events.
When did you know this industry was right for you?
I feel like I have known even before I had my first job in the industry. My passion for cooking is what started my path in this industry. I went to culinary school but chose the management degree so that I could learn both front of the house and back of the house functions.
However, being at Hershey 100% gave me that feeling. All the different jobs I have been able to do in my 20 plus years here have kept my interest piqued and I am always learning something new. And the people you meet in this industry have become life long friends because you definitely form a special bond working the hours we have to work.
Briefly describe your career path and how you got to where you are today.
I started out as a catering manager at a local ballroom/wedding venue that also handled off premise caterings. I then actually went into the corporate world and worked at Rite Aid Corporation as a Licensing Coordinator for several years. When the GIANT Center opened, I applied for a part time server job and was hired. Throughout the 20 years, I was a suite server, suite captain, catering supervisor, restaurant server. I did all those roles part time and would pick up any shift I could to gain experience. After 12 years I was hired as a Full Time Assistant Manager for Premium services and after 4 years in that role I got the position of Premium Services Manager.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The events we get at the GIANT Center. The energy in the building during a sold out hockey game or concert is just the best feeling. Everyone is here to have fun and getting to be a part of that makes it a special job.
Backstage caterings were also fun and one of my favorite parts of my job. I don’t get to be in charge of those anymore, but I got to “rub elbows” with a lot of celebrities over the years working their caterings when they are in town.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The long hours and ever changing schedule. It can be hard to control the work/life balance with the event schedule.
What advice would you give to students interested in your profession?
Be prepared for the long hours and hard work. But know that it is worth it if you give it your all. The profession teaches you so much about teamwork, hard work and dedication. You make life long friends and it really prepares you to deal with so much in the outside world and teaches you to be more understanding and patient when visiting other hospitality venues.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Definitely when I won Team Member of the Year in 2013. It was great accomplishment that I am still super proud of to this day!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to cook, spend time with my 3 sons, go to dinner with friends. But my absolute favorite thing to do outside work is being a baseball mom and watching my youngest son play baseball.
What is your favorite food to make or eat?
I like to make my grandma’s homemade spaghetti sauce.
What’s at the top of your bucket list?
#1 would be to hold a Koala.