Food & Beverage Manager, Novotel Edinburgh Park (UK)

Yasda Gomez

Yasda Gomez's story

I started as a waitress seven years ago and worked in breakfast service. My family used to have a hospitality business in Venezuela so I knew I would enjoy it. When I moved to Scotland it was difficult because my English wasn’t that good – I was doing everything that I wanted to do but without the language! I found the Scottish accent very difficult to understand, especially in Glasgow, but I signed up to the National 5, which helped me grow and develop my English. This is an international certificate to show you have reached a recognised standard of speaking and reading, which is immensely useful for my career.

I worked hard on my development, starting with being a waitress, progressing to a supervisor and my current role of manager. I got this exciting opportunity after lockdown where my manager was on holiday, this gave me a chance to show my skills and that I was more than capable of succeeding in the role. This was a big challenge, to come into the hotel and see everything quiet and empty. They closed the restaurant and took away the chairs and tables; it looked so sad. We had some people leave and we did reduce the overall staff numbers. We used the time to develop each other’s skills in reception, F&B, kitchen, and we became like a family, that was good for us.

We were multi-tasking because there were not many people in the hotel. I was helping people on reception, training them on check-in and check-out, and I went with them to rooms because we were here alone and they needed help. We tried hard to make the best of a bad situation, training everyone across numerous departments and creating a truly multi-skilled team of colleagues that could work anywhere in the hotel.

After lockdown, the position of F&B manager became available and I applied because I knew I had the skills and the enthusiasm to be great at it. I realised there were many more things I could learn from the position but I wanted to take up the challenge and take the risk; this is what I wanted, and as my boyfriend, my family and my colleagues said to me, it motivates you.

I want to grow and grow, I want to keep learning new things and always striving to be better. One day, I would like to have my own company, something with food & beverage – this will always be my ultimate goal and I will keep working hard for it. My mother is a chef, we have everything to be able to make this happen, we just need a little bit more time and more savings to make our dream become a reality.

When we re-opened, it was crazy, busier than anything I had seen in my seven years in the hotel. It was a challenge; Accor was worried about hiring more people because we didn’t know whether there would be another lockdown. We did get everything done and we are still happy – we passed the test! We still have that feeling of family that was made through that time, we didn’t have that before. I will always be proud of the part I played as a leader in Novotel through lockdown and the fantastic culture we created in the team through some very challenging times.

When you join this industry, you have to like people. It’s not just about the experience you have, you will always develop that over time. Hospitality has taught me so much, I see this as a place where everyone can learn how to be positive, to grow up, how to break the ice; it makes you confident with people and you learn how to communicate with people of all different backgrounds. I love this part of my job, no two days are the same, which allows me to continually grow and learn.

Around 40% of my staff came here direct from school, they graduated and took up the opportunity. I think it is wonderful when you have someone who is brand new to hospitality, I get excited to train these people and the most rewarding part for me, watching them grow and develop. I strongly believe many doors open up for you with hospitality with each department offering something different – reception, F&B, office, more than what other customer service jobs can give you. The opportunity will be there if you want to develop but you must have the energy, passion and you have to be positive, this is not always easy but when there’s a challenge, we create ideas and get things done. It’s what we do!

  • Yasda Gomez
  • Food & Beverage Manager
  • Novotel Edinburgh Park (UK)