Now the Reception Manager at The Wolseley, Ioana made the transition from medicine to hospitality when she realised how rewarding the connections you make in the industry can be. From the cloakroom to the doorperson, Ioana’s reception team control the flow and the feel of The Wolseley, by adding warmth and special attention to our guests’ experiences from start to finish.
Tell us a little about yourself and your team?
I was recently promoted to Reception Manager, having started working at The Wolseley as lead Maître d’ in 2019. My promotion felt like a big step-up, and I was surprised to be chosen, but I welcomed the opportunity. I think a career should be about challenging yourself, and I am constantly trying to achieve the next step. I now have more responsibility, from training new starters, to overseeing the whole reception team – from the cloakroom to the door. I love being responsible for building the reception family at The Wolseley.
I think being kind and respectful is the best way to get the most out of your team, at the end of the day they are who make my day better and easier. Everyone is essential and I treat them that way – the doorperson, for example, is the first and last person a guest will interact with, they make each guest feel special and may be the difference between them choosing to return or not.
How did you get into hospitality and what makes you stay?
I actually got into hospitality by chance. Back home in Romania I studied General Medicine at university for 4 years, before deciding I wanted to take a break… and then never returned! During my break I moved to Spain and got a job as a waitress, and I discovered that you have the opportunity to heal people in a different way in this industry. Often you have guests open up to you and you get to know them really quickly. Feeling like I was making a genuine difference to a customer’s day like that was so rewarding.
I also love how easy it felt to make friends with my colleagues in this environment. It was this new and deeper way of interacting with people, whilst still feeling I was spending my time helping people, that made me decide I wanted to pursue a career in the hospitality industry instead. It is the connections I make at work every day, both with guests and with my colleagues, that continues to keep me here today.
What is the most interesting thing about the role of the reception team in a restaurant?
The reception team control the flow and the feel of the restaurant; they recognise regulars, are aware of any special requirements, and have to know who’s coming to meet who. It’s the attention to detail, the warmth and communication, and the reassurance that someone is there to assist you and make your day better that makes our role so important. You can change the course of someone’s day just by the experience they are given by the reception team. It’s this touch that makes The Wolseley what it is in my opinion, and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of that.
What’s your favourite thing about working at The Wolseley?
No two days are the same at The Wolseley. It’s fast-paced and a continuous challenge, but that’s what makes it exciting. You get to see people you wouldn’t get to see anywhere else, its great to be able to see the human side of people you know otherwise as ‘celebrities’.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone looking to join the world of hospitality?
It’s never too late to change your career and there’s so much flexibility in hospitality to allow you to make it work for whatever schedule you have. I would say you need to be prepared to work hard, but everything you put in you’ll get back tenfold. There’s no goal in hospitality that isn’t achievable through hard work.