A satisfying career
Published: 30 Nov 2015
Name: Ruth Grahame
Job title: Restaurateur and joint owner
Company: Hornblower’s seafood restaurant and takeaway
My morning work routine always starts in the home office before I head to the restaurant. My husband Alex, who also oversees the kitchen at Hornblower’s, leaves earlier to be in work for 9am but I take some time before I leave to check e-mails, respond to customer inquiries and to arrange the staff rota for the forthcoming week.
I also work on the Hornblower’s social media presence – a mix of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the moment but it is growing and changing all the time.
It’s about half an hour drive from Aberdeen to the quaint harbour-village of Gourdon where Hornblower’s is currently located and I’ve always found this quiet time perfect for thinking up new ideas for the restaurant.
We recently received the green light for a new development at Aberdeen Beach so a lot of my time at the moment is taken up with this project; from liaison with architects, interior designers and quantity surveyors, to dealing with PR, marketing and the local press, my day really is hugely varied.
Once I arrive at the restaurant, it’s more of the same before helping a supervisor set up for service commencing at noon. I catch-up with Alex and the other staff, plan out our reservations for the day and then we are good to go.
The hospitality trade must be the only profession in which lunchtime is one of your busiest periods of the day. Our lunch service is always all go, with walking groups from the surrounding area and tourists and individuals from across the north-east popping in for a visit.
Visibility and communication with our customers is vital and is without doubt, the most enjoyable part of the job.
Lunch service usually comes to an end at around 3pm and once it has, we begin to prepare the restaurant and kitchen for our evening meals. I usually grab an hour break for lunch with Alex where we often discuss menu development with the head chef before we re-open again at around 4pm.
I’m a hospitality graduate from Robert Gordon University and it has always been my dream to have my own restaurant. Time and time again, my BA degree from RGU has proved to be of great benefit as my career within the industry progressed. I’m still utilising and refiningtraining skills I developed throughout my time studying and from my early career in the hotel industry.
Evening service winds down around 9.30pm and once the restaurant has been prepared for the following day, it’s off home for some rest.
Work can often be busy so when we do arrive home, we like to wind down, get something to eat and then it is usually off for some sleep at around 1am. My downtime regularly involves travel; an aspect which I have enjoyed since childhood with my travel agent parents and was critical in my choice of career.
Alex and I are always on a ‘bus man’s holiday’, as we analyse all aspects of wherever we go, taking notes and setting up Pinterest boards of places we enjoy.
Our favourite place to relax and eat at the moment is Maggie’s Grill in Aberdeen – the food is lovely and the staff are super friendly – all the ingredients that make a top restaurant. We try to visit as many restaurants as possible and have a friendly relationship with many of the city’s restaurateurs.
Working within the hospitality trade is hard work but exciting and rewarding; no two days are the same and the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life is incredible.
It’s also rewarding to help develop youngsters within our business. Watching their pride in their work grow with the business successes we enjoy as a team gives great pleasure.
Receiving fantastic feedback from customers and seeing people leave with delighted faces is always incredibly satisfying; it’s more often than not the key indicator that your food and restaurant are ticking the right boxes.