'You've got to live it, it's not just a job, it's a way of life' - Fuller's head of ops on working in the industry

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Jane Bravey: 'Keep your options open...'
Jane Bravey: 'Keep your options open...'

Related tags Red lion Management

The head of operations at 100 Fuller’s pubs offers advice to ambitious workers in the industry and explains how she rose through the ranks.

Jane Bravey started working in the kitchen and front of house at the Red Lion in Barnes, London, after completing a college catering course.

As head of operations, she leads and motivates seven operations managers, aiming to deliver business strategies across 100 pubs, which she described as a “rewarding” role.

But does she miss the daily buzz of pub life?

“Occasionally I miss being in that environment. One thing I miss is a Friday night with an especially tough shift, which has gone really well, when everyone has pulled together and we’ve exceeded what we set out to achieve. You collapse with the team in a heap, and have a buzz from the night.”

It’s a way of life

So what’s her advice for anyone planning to enter the industry for the long term?

“I’ve managed to progress and move on my career. If customer service is at your heart then definitely pursue it, but it’s not for the faint hearted. You’ve got to live it, it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life.

“Keep your options open, and take any development opportunities open to you. It’s hugely rewarding.”

So how did Bravey progress to her senior position?

Her first recommendation is experiencing both front and back of house environments.

“I found it really helpful to understand both sides of the business,” she tells the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​. “It gave me a broader view.”

Bravey moved from the Red Lion to a trainee manager’s course while working at the Old Bank of England on Fleet Street, London.

On the move

In the ’90s, she taught managers to use an electronic PoS system then had a year on the relief circuit — covering vacant tenancies around the country.

“I learnt leadership skills and how to get the best out of a team, compliance and health and safety. I loved understanding how different pubs run and adapting quite quickly. It shows variety, and that there are a number of different ways to approach things,” she says.

Experiencing several pubs of different styles shaped the view of the pub she wanted to run, leading her to her first licensee position at a pub for four years.

She faced a challenge from regulars, who were surprised to see a 25-year-old woman running a pub. But after turning the pub around, people were “begging” her not to leave.

Bravey moved on because she had “achieved everything I could”, having overseen a redevelopment.

Next she was a retail auditor. This kept her on the road, where she guided licensees through mistakes.

Bravey continues: “It was very different. You’re not as welcome in that role. When I was behind the bar people were happy to see me. But it was rewarding to help and coach people.”

Licensees respected Bravey, knowing she has also worked behind the bar.

Following this, she was surprised to be appointed operations manager at Fuller’s. Most recently, Bravey moved to her current role as head of operations.

Related topics Training

Related news