An interview with Abbey Mountain, Systems & Stocks Executive

We caught up with Abbey, to learn more about her journey at Robinsons. Starting as a part-time chef at The Red Lion, she moved up the ranks to Sous Chef while balancing her studies. Upon joining the Aspire program, Abbey leveraged her passion for learning and networking to gain valuable skills in hospitality supervision, stock management, and operational support. Her dedication and expertise led to her promotion to Systems & Stocks Executive, showing the transformative power of Aspire in advancing careers and personal development. Abbey's story shows that with the right opportunities and perseverance, professional growth and success are within reach.

I began my career path with Robinsons in 2016 as a part time chef at The Red Lion in High Lane. I initially came to the role as I was also studying for a Level 5 in Education and Training at Stockport Colleges University centre and needed a few hours a week to keep the bills paid. I had just come from a very difficult job as the Pastry Chef in a luxury castle hotel, working 16-hour days and living in a cupboard, the Red Lion initially felt like a break.
Throughout my further education & working part time I quickly progressed within the kitchen and when my qualification had come to an end, and I had passed all my exams, I started full time work at the Red Lion as a chef. I progressed up to Sous Chef and then became pregnant meaning I had to take a step back within the kitchen. This allowed me time to consider what it really was I could see myself doing in the future and where I wanted my career to go. Initially I wanted to chase my intended career as a teacher, but I found the pay and work/life balance to be lacklustre having been spoilt by the flexibility of hospitality. Upon returning to work as a new mother I began to help the GM with maintaining his weekly admin and also took it upon myself to be the lead for figuring out how to use Zonal Menu Manager. I spent hours trawling through the software and slowly building our menus from scratch, painfully and meticulously. And I loved it. Not everyone did. This in turn got me noticed by our ROM who put me forward for the next ASPIRE cohort to study for my Hospitality Supervision Level 3; and being a lover of education I jumped at the opportunity.

My initial interest was based solely on a love for collecting knowledge and qualifications, however, I quickly realised it was a great opportunity to get myself noticed for any other positions within the estate in the future and to make a name for myself within the Support team. It seemed too good of an opportunity to turn down. Having never made the proper transition to a Front of House Team member I initially felt I had a disadvantage due to my lack of knowledge of service and how to work a bar or bus tables, so it felt like I was learning from the bottom up. Alongside my apprenticeship I also started to work on Front of house as well as the kitchen to give me a better understanding of the Pub as a whole and not just from a food perspective. Aspire, in turn, brought my confidence up hugely as I was never ashamed to ask for help, or to listen, or learn from my fellow colleagues and apprentices as they felt like the experts. It was a great networking opportunity across the site.

A huge benefit to me from my time on the ASPIRE apprenticeship was growing my confidence in my own abilities and being introduced to members of the larger team that I never would have had the opportunity to meet thanks to geography. I learnt about the business, from values and ethics to the finances and how the cogs turn to make it the successful business it is. We also touched upon innovation within the industry, and it got me inspired to look ahead and consider what it might look like in the future and how I might help to guide that path. A huge part of keeping hospitality successful is maintaining a healthy GP% so I was inspired to investigate how I could assist with that. I learnt to complete a stock takes, use the Aztec system to drill into Loss/Gain reports and tie it all in with our other systems such as ZMM, till systems & POS and communicating with our Retail Systems Manager, Steve.

My long-term career goal is simple, to keep moving up. I have just received a fantastic opportunity and promotion within the company to Systems and Stocks Executive thanks to my work on the ASPIRE course and ZMM. Although it is very new to me, and I have so much to learn, I am incredibly excited to move forward within my career. Sometimes all it takes is the belief in your own ability to do something and putting the stepping stones in place to reach your goals, but also working hard for it and asking ALL the questions.
Never have I had to put my own life or my child’s life on the back burner and work ridiculous hours or long into the night; because it’s simply not sustainable long term, sometimes slow and steady does in fact win the race. I’m still aiming upwards within the Support team and hope to become a valuable member of Frederic Robinsons in the long run.