Peter Banks, managing director of Rudding Park - My First Job

Peter Banks, managing director of Rudding Park, talks about booking in for a long stay in the hotel business

The print version of this article appeared in the March 2012  issue of Yorkshire Life 

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Peter Banks, managing director of Rudding Park, talks about booking in for a long stay in the hotel business

What was your first job?I was a meat porter at The Savoy Hotel, London – my first department as a management trainee. This involved going to Smithfield Market with the group meat buyer then working with four butchers and two other meat porters. It was brutal. The aim of the department seemed to be to get the management trainee to leave before his five weeks were up. I remember with fondness the manager telling the biggest meat porter: ‘Stan, take the trainee down to the fridges and beat him up.’ Happy days.

What lessons did that job teach you?Fortunately these types of maverick departments are virtually extinct now but, looking back, I can see the lessons I learned were very important.Firstly, don’t give up, no matter how much grief you are given. Use your natural talents to survive difficult times (in my case, it was talking rather than fighting my way out of trouble).

Secondly, put yourself in the new boy’s place; remember how vulnerable you felt and try to make every new recruit welcome and at home in your organisation if you want to get the best from them.

How has your career progressed?Steadily. After five years in The Savoy Company doing every job from meat porter to waiter, chef, plumber, accounts clerk and receptionist, I worked at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, where I did some work and played a lot of golf.

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I went back to London to work at The Hilton on Park Lane, where I learned how to make money from hotels, and the importance of a detailed profit and loss account. I then came to Rudding Park to open the hotel and have remained here for 15 years, taking on additional responsibility from the hotel, golf club and holiday park. During this time, I also opened my own small restaurant with rooms in Southwold, Suffolk.

What do you enjoy about your job now?The infinite variety at Rudding, and the constant development. I am very fortunate that the owners of Rudding Park are extremely progressive and never stand still. My boredom threshold is quite low, so we all enjoy working on the continual development of Rudding. We have just opened our largest development so far, a 48-room extension with a gym, spa and 14-seat private cinema. Of course, Rudding being Rudding, we are already planning our next development (watch this space).

What’s next for you?To continue to develop Rudding Park so that it’s known as one of the best hotels in the country, not just in the north of England.

What advice would you give to others?Work hard, care for your guests, love your staff, watch the pennies and accept that you can always improve on your last performance. The joys of hotel management!

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