Daniel Greenock, Restaurant Manager, Marcus

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th May 2016

Daniel Greenock is the Restaurant Manager for Marcus, from Marcus Wareing Restaurants. Daniel started working for Marcus as a waiter in 2010 and after a nine month sabbatical at Eleven Madison Park in New York, Daniel returned in 2013 to embrace the role as Restaurant Manager.

We recently caught up with Daniel to find out why seeing Marcus on a daily basis is really empowering, why you really have to love your job to consider a career in hospitality and why customers prefer seeing photos of food taken with a shitty Iphone 4.

Daniel Greenock and Sienna Miller
Daniel and  Sienna Miller

Have you always wanted to work in the industry?

My mum used to run a local pub and I would go down there as a little boy to help polish glasses and stuff, they are probably my earliest memories of the service industry but I only did it because I liked the draught coke I could have out of the gun. Throughout high school I worked at local restaurants and coffee shops, in my last senior years I would be working about 80-100 hours a, which is probably the reason why I am not a lawyer or a doctor! I loved the pace, the intensity and the direct link between the more hours you work the more money you earned.

When it came to making a decision about what I wanted to do at University I was having trouble. My dad always taught me to pursue a career in something you love so I went to hotel school in Glasgow and spent the majority of my first year sampling the bars and clubs rather than actually studying so I ended up leaving after one year and got a full time waiting job at a place called the Corinthian in Glasgow which was a vast operation and felt a bit like the SAS of restaurants.

I kept my head down and worked my way up eventually becoming restaurant manager and then went to work at One Devonshire Gardens. At the age of 22 I wanted see what some stars looked like so I sent my CV to what was then Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley (Marcus and team relaunched the restaurant as Marcus in 2014 following an extensive refurbishment), came down for a two day trial and got a job as a chef de rang.

What made you want to work your way up to become restaurant manager?

I never had a particular interest in cooking but I had a real interest in food and hospitality. What I’m most passionate about is running a restaurant, the team and the floor. One day I would love to own restaurant or pub or hotel, something that allows me to give guests an experience, whether that is a really good burger van or a three star Michelin restaurant, who knows.

Info bar

‘Service Nightmares’ –

I don’t know if it’s appropriate but there are times when people get really drunk. When I was working in Glasgow we had a lady that got so drunk she got left behind by her party and we ended up having to call the police because she had fallen asleep in the corner of the restaurant and soiled herself, so we do have some crazy stories!

Top 3 service experiences –

Eleven Madison Park Restaurant – I had been working there for eight months when I went as a guest and they did a lot of amazing things for me. I showed up with my girlfriend and we had a bottle of champagne on arrival, we were shown the kitchen and had a cocktail there and were then showed up to the private dining room where they had laid out rose petals and candles all over the floor with just a table for two by the window overlooking the restaurant, with Scottish music playing on someone’s phone, and our desserts waiting for us. My girlfriend thought I was proposing!

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester – An old flat mate of mine was the head sommelier there and me and my girlfriend went there. My girlfriend doesn’t really drink wine so he made her a special mojito as he knew that was her favourite cocktail and between you and me, sommelier’s hate cocktails, they just like wine, so bearing that in mind he made her mojitos all night which was really nice of him.

KFC – When I finish really late at night there aren’t many places where I can go and eat and I have a bad habit of eating fast food late at night. I have befriended the manager in my local KFC and when I walk through the front door he sees me and even before I get up to the counter, he has my order waiting for me in a bag. Even though it’s not a Michelin starred restaurant he understands the importance of hospitality and every time I am there he drops what he is doing so by the time I get to the counter my order is ready, I give him a high five and I leave with my KFC, epic!

What is it like working with Marcus Wareing?

Working with Marcus is quite special because unlike a lot of businesses you’re not working for a board of directors or an area manager. My office is beside Marcus’ and we see him daily. So it’s nice that although his name is above the door he’s literally in the door too. If I have a problem or something I need to see him about it’s usually face-to-face, I can walk down to his office or I’ll go into the kitchen and we’ll discuss things at length.

It’s nice that I am in touch with the person who is leading the group from the front and to know who you are working for and that really injects the fire and passion in what you’re doing because you see how much he cares and so you try to represent who he is on the floor. He also empowers us a lot because he encourages us to run the business and view it as if it was our own so we care about it as much as he does. The fact that he is still in his white’s trying to push the restaurant every day is very humbling to see.

How do you think relationships have changed between the kitchen and front of house team?

I think the public impression of the way the FOH and the kitchen works is still stuck in the olden days, people see chefs shouting at waiters on TV shows and although it was like that 10 years ago restaurants are now businesses. Nowadays every restaurant has an HR department so you can’t get away with swearing and shouting as much as you could before and people are learning that’s not the way to inspire people. That’s what Jake (the head chef) and I set out to do, we set out to lead by example and the way that we treat each other is the way we want the team to treat each other.

For example, Jake and I will never ever shout at each other, if we have any disagreements we will sort it out in the office behind closed doors. It’s all about making people understand what their jobs are, for example Jake has been into our restaurant for dinner and he really understands the importance of FOH and vice versa, I have spent time working in the kitchen and seeing how hard they work and there are challenges on both fronts, that’s why we offer the team 50% off so that guys have the opportunity to visit the restaurants and see what it’s all about.

It’s important for the chefs to go to the restaurants and actually see what the FOH looks like. That’s how we break down the barriers and everyone seems to get on much better as a team.

Do you feel that the FOH is often over shadowed by the chef?

It’s just the way times are but I think we are slowly but surely changing. Back in the olden days chefs weren’t famous, there were famous maitre d’s and restaurant owners but the chef could have been anyone. Even if a restaurant manager goes out and earns himself one or two stars, it’s nothing to do with him, it’s all to do with the food so he can’t go to a bank and get £1m to open up a restaurant but a chef could because he has one or two Michelin stars to his name. People like Chris Corbin or Jeremy King, they’re legends of the industry and they aren’t chefs, they’re not in the kitchen, they’re just amazing at running a floor and running a business.

What advice would you give to any young person thinking of embarking on a career in food/drink service?

You need to really make sure you absolutely love it. If you don’t love it you are really going to struggle when you see all your mates out on a Friday or Saturday night whilst you’re at work. The reason I can keep doing it is because I love what I do and not a lot of people I know can say that. Ever since I was a teenager I said to myself whatever it is I end up doing it has to be something I love and it excites me, I love coming to work every day.

Who is your biggest inspiration? 

Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality would be a big one, I don’t know how many times I have read his book, the way he

Galloway beef, potato, cabbage, short rib

Galloway beef, potato, cabbage,

short rib

thinks is the way I have always thought growing up in the industry but he’s been able to put it into words.

The patience he has in his approach to business and makes sure he has a good team around him that he can rely on. He’s a very humble person. I would also say Will Guidara (restaurateur at Eleven Madison Park Restaurant) he has been one of the few to take the dining room to the world stage and the things he is doing to push forward the industry is incredible, check out the Welcome Conference he started.

What do you think of online review sites such as Trip-advisor?

Because of all the time, energy and passion the team puts in, when someone doesn’t enjoy themselves and you read it on Tripadvisor it can be very upsetting. However, I don’t know of any other industry where you get real time daily feedback on how you are doing as a restaurant and if you are a really good restaurant you shouldn’t be that worried. Every week during our operations meetings we have a pack of all the feedback from across the internet. Although most of it is good, we’re only interested in the stuff that says we are not good or issues that come up.

Every key member of the management team will go through the feedback highlighting anything we want to improve on so we can go back to the drawing board to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We take these things very seriously and take the opportunity to self-reflect as we are a humble team and want to stay grounded. There is no such thing as a perfect team we just need to make sure we refine what we do, so I think Tripadvisor and other online review sites are a very useful tool to improve our offering and drive the business forward.

I see the Restaurant Marcus uses social media quite a bit, how important is social media nowadays do you think?

I’m a big fan of social media because I remember when I first started to follow restaurants and remember going online looking up pictures in the gallery of their websites and thinking how amazing they were. Nowadays that kind of content isn’t enough for people, people get fed that content every single day through Facebook and Twitter, it’s all about fresh new content and we need to keep up with that because there is such a thirst for it.

Marcus
Marcus

We started out with a fancy photographer but realised the stuff people really cared about was the real stuff that the chef was taking on his shitty iphone4, the nitty gritty, not the catalogue photos but things that give an insight into our world. Sometimes I think people do a bit too much and it’s important not to drown everyone with stuff. I think one photo a day on different formats is probably enough unless it’s a special day. It’s all about quality not quantity and you want your stuff to be valuable so it’s important not to go over the top.

What are your thoughts on customers taking photo's during a meal or at the bar?

So long as they are discreet and don’t disturb other diners we love it, we want people to share their experiences because taking photos is such an important part of society now and we want to encourage that.

 

 

 

 

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th May 2016

Daniel Greenock, Restaurant Manager, Marcus