Meet Gigi Chan, who graduated with a BA degree in Hospitality Management and Food Studies from the University of West London last year.
Gigi decided she wanted to work in catering and joined Lexington Catering’s Graduate Scheme, in September 2018. Here, she shares her experience working at Lexington Catering…
Tell us about your first few months on the Graduate Scheme
When I joined the Graduate Scheme I was based at one of Lexington’s new sites, as General Assistant, home to over 2,500 people – I was there for the mobilisation process so it was all hands to the decks.
I had to hit the ground running when I joined the team. It was new for everyone so it gave me the opportunity to build really positive relationships quickly and play a key part in the mobilisation process.
It was crazy, busy, and exciting all at the same time – there was so much to do. I worked with the team to support with the people side of the operations, helped run events, manage allergens and organise all the labelling. I was exposed to some really interesting projects and my manager allowed me to get involved so that I really did get to experience different operations and learn on the job.
What is your role now?
In January, I moved to a law firm, home to hundreds of employees. I will be based here for at least three months. It’s completely different to my previous placement – I am working with an established team, who have already built client relationships and mastered the catering offer.
As part of my role I support with the management of the café and work with the team to ensure we meet weekly targets while maintaining top quality customer service. It’s amazing how the client sites differ. In fact, each week is very different depending on the demands of each client.
Personal development is a key motivation and I am always reflecting on this to make sure I get the most out of each experience.
Give us a little insight into the application process for the Graduate Scheme?
I applied for a couple of Graduate Schemes, with catering organisations – they all involved first completing the application form. I attended an assessment day for another contract caterer, who I was also offered a placement with.
After speaking to the Lexington team I decided to accept my role here. The fact we get to work on a business project really appealed to me because it’s an opportunity to make a real impact in the business.
With one of the other organisations I’d applied to I felt that I was another number, whereas Lexington seemed much more personable. I got to spend a day with a former Lexington Catering graduate before I was offered the placement, which was fantastic – it gave me the opportunity to really find out what life at Lexington as a graduate would be like. I also got to meet the senior management team.
Did you always know you wanted to work in hospitality?
I absolutely love food – learning about new ingredients and combining flavours. `Growing up in a family that run a restaurant means the foundations were there but the experience I have gained over the last few years has unleashed something in me I didn’t know I had – I love socialising, being around customers and making sure others are happy.
Why contract catering?
I only became aware of the vast opportunities in contract catering whilst I was studying when I went to a careers fair. My parents work in food so I grew up working with them and I had jobs within hotels and restaurants whilst studying – whilst I love hospitality the unsociable shifts made it hard for me to keep in touch with friends outside work.
Contract catering is different. There is more flexibility in terms of the work shifts but the variety and excitement is still there – every day is different.
What are your career aspirations?
I am really looking forward to growing with Lexington and in the future I would absolutely love to set up my own business.
Would you recommend the Lexington Graduate Scheme?
100% yes! The benefit of the Graduate Scheme is that you get to experience a whole range of different roles within the business, from front of house to marketing, finance and operations, with a mentor there to support you along the way.
Lexington’s Graduate Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for any enthusiastic professional looking to get a head start in their career. If you love food and hospitality, want to work with a fabulous team and are committed to learning new things, the scheme is there to help guide you through the first years of your career in catering.