Manager of the popular Puccini’s Italian Restaurant in Shirley High Street, Marta Fisher has run the restaurant for over nine years and is one of the longest serving Managers in the Delicious Dining Group.
How did you start your journey in the hospitality sector?
I was studying International Tourism and Hospitality. For my work placement I had to work in various hotels, I spent some time in Germany working in 5 star hotel then I moved to Southampton and worked for the De Vere Hotel. It was meant to be a temporary placement, but I enjoyed it so much that I stayed on at the end of Uni and worked there for two years.
After a while, I felt I needed a new challenge. I frequently visited Puccini’s as it was my favourite local restaurant and I heard that they were looking for a manager. So I applied and the rest is history.
What is a typical day at Puccini’s?
One of the main things I love about working in hospitality is that no one day is the same. You are always meeting different people every day presents different challenges. Puccini’s doesn’t really have a typical day. It has a changing vibe throughout the day. Lunchtime it’s locals along with office workers, late afternoon and early evening is more family orientated, our Kids Eat Free offer is very popular along with our Eat Free On Your Birthday. Later in the evening it is a bit more sophisticated clientele. The restaurant is always buzzing so sense of urgency is paramount, managing all aspects of the business both front of house and back of house does become a challenge.
What qualities make a good restaurant manager?
Consistency is key, customers always expect the same quality service and food that keeps them coming back. It’s also very important to recognize your customers’ needs, always making them feel welcome. I have known most of our customers for many years and over time Puccini’s has become part of their community. It is also important to listen to your customers’ feedback and take on board their comments, not just about the service, but sometimes they have ideas of what we can include on the menu or our special’s board.
What would you say to someone who says “I think I’m going to open a restaurant – it looks easy!”
People are under the impression that running a restaurant is easy, but it’s not and many factors play a role when thinking of doing so. In this trade, you need to have certain qualities. You need to be outgoing, courteous and able to multitask, as well as being a natural problem solver.
What advice would you give your younger self as a future restaurant manager?
Probably not to take things too seriously, when I was starting out little things that went wrong really upset me and I would dwell on it for days, but people are very forgiving and life goes on as they say.
How do you relax away from work?
I do enjoy a good movie or series - that is always a good way to unwind. I like dining out and checking out the competition – I am a bit of secret diner. I also love cooking at home and experimenting with new recipes. But the most I enjoy family trips. Travel always inspires me.