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Meet the Managers at Venus

Jennie Cooper chats to General Managers, Glenn Ferguson, Jennie Luke and Joe Soames about putting the hospitable into hospitality

General Managers, Jennie Luke and Glenn Ferguson. Venus

I met Glenn, or ‘Fergie’ (as he prefers to be known), Joe and Jennie on a sunny morning at Venus Café in Broadsands, and I was quickly made to feel very welcome. Such was their efficiency, that I was served not one, but two cappuccinos – which I gladly consumed!

Fergie has been in charge of the Broadsands café and is now overseeing the new Teignmouth site, while Jennie’s domain is Bigbury-on-Sea. Longstanding Manager, Joe Soames, is currently at Broadsands in the General Manager role. “The key part of our ethos and a big element of our roles is to ensure the hospitality side of the business remains a priority,” says Fergie. “Hospitality is more than just food and drink. Customers should be made to feel important. We always try to acknowledge a waiting customer, even in the busiest of times. We give a nod, thumbs up, or a wink to let them know we are on our way. This helps make a customer feel special – and it’s an easy thing to do,” Fergie says.

Jennie also takes a thoughtful approach when it comes to ensuring her customers are looked after. “It was a very busy lunchtime at Bigbury when I noticed a mum struggling with her son. He was trying to make an all-important ice cream choice. I sat down next to him and went through the flavours, so that he didn’t feel quite so overwhelmed,” she smiles.

Fergie, Joe and Jennie are responsible for ensuring their cafés run smoothly day to day. “There has to be an element of flexibility, so we need to be competent in all areas of the business. For example, we might be required to work in the kitchen, or front of house. Our schedules change according to the business need. It’s a very hands-on kind of role,” Fergie explains.

Jennie thinks the unique processes are what works best for Venus. “The central kitchen at our factory in Halwell means we have a consistency in food and quality across all the sites. If a customer loves the burger they’ve just eaten at Bigbury, then we can explain that it’s available in our other cafés,” she says. “This also speeds up our processes and ensures that we can keep up with demand in the busy seasons with just two people in the kitchen.”

Fergie adds: “The eco-side of Venus is part of its DNA and when training our team members we say it’s important to be able to educate customers without preaching. The whole team knows what goes into our products and processes, as this is what’s best for the customer. You could ask any of us a question about a dish or menu and we will all know the answer.”

It’s clear that the team genuinely appreciates each other. “There is a lot of respect from Michael (our co-founder) and we have a lot of respect for him – Venus is a proper family.”

Joe Soames, General Manager at Venus Broadsands

Joe Soames, General Manager at Venus, Broadsands

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