The past two years have been challenging, not least of all for our hospitality team, who have had to adapt time and time again to changing restrictions. We are incredibly proud of how they have persevered through difficult times, offered up their skills in new areas and continued to serve our community with the biggest smiles and heartfelt kindness. We reached out to our hospitality manager, Kristen Gillespie, to learn what the past 12 months have been like for the team, and how they are feeling as cafes begin to once again open up.
What is the biggest challenge the hospitality team faced during the pandemic?
We missed seeing each other every day and it has been strange to not have the large number of customers and bookings we had in the past. The hospitality team is full of social people - we love having lots of people around all the time! We are excited to open up once again and experience that feeling of rallying together to get through a busy day.
Wearing masks has also been challenging as we like to greet our visitors with a big smile, so we have become very good at smiling with our eyes. ‘Eye-smiles’ are a thing!
How has the team adapted through this period?
Despite everything, we’ve been quite busy as a result of our flexible approach. We have adapted our offerings quite significantly, designing a range of takeaway options for our on-site visitors, including our hugely popular picnic hampers. SMCT has supported the hospitality team through the lockdowns by providing re-deployment opportunities across other areas of the organisation. Because of this, we have been able to continue to engage in meaningful work, even when our cafes were closed or limited to takeaway only. We feel very fortunate.