Career spotlight: General Manager

What does it take to be a Revolution General Manager? We ask three of our very own pros for a snapshot of their career stories so far.


Let’s start easy. What’s your name and how long have you worked for Revolution Bars Group?


My name’s Jo Hanley and I’ve worked with RBG for eight years.


I’m Ben Jones and I’ve been here for nine!


My name is Max Booth and I’ve also been here for nine years!


Give us a brief history of your RBG journey.


JH: I started as a trainee assistant manager in Blackpool and worked up to assistant manager. I was then promoted to deputy manager and worked at several different bars including Preston, Lancaster and Liverpool Cavern Quarter, where I was promoted again to general manager. I then moved back to Blackpool where I’ve been general manager ever since!


BJ: I went to a recruitment day in Edinburgh Revs and after building marshmallow and spaghetti towers and making a few cocktails I got the job! I had the time of my life as a bartender and decided I wanted to have a career with the group. I progressed through 5 cities and 5 different sites to eventually become General Manager of my own bar, meeting some amazing people along the way and still have friends from every place I’ve worked.


MB: I started out… as a glass collector! And have literally worked my way up through every position to get to where I am now.


Can you tell us your proudest moment within the company?


JH: Being promoted to GM of Revolution Blackpool. There’s no better feeling than working for a company you love in the place where you’re from. It makes it even more special that it’s the site where I started my career.


BJ: When I was 19, I dropped out of university and I told my Deputy Manager at the time, Craig, in a 1-2-1 (as we were sat at table 17 in Revolution Edinburgh!) that I would be General Manager within 5 years, by the time I was 24. Then, 5 years later (3 days after my 24 birthday) I was offered the role of GM in Revolution Sunderland.


MB: My proudest moment working for RGB most certainly is achieving my goal of becoming a GM. When I first got given the opportunity in a senior role I didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to carry on and reach the top. My proudest working moment on shift hands down is operating a 3-course Christmas Meal for 140 people, with a food lift that broke on the first send down and everyone on the team did amazingly. The feedback from the customer was fantastic and compared to their previous Christmas with us it was flawless. The moment walking around to check on everyone really hit me that my team were all in sync, one team and one family. It may seem like a small thing to others but the feeling I had walking around just put the biggest grin on my face and I genuinely couldn’t have been more proud of that whole day.


What do you enjoy most about working here?


JH: The passion of all our employees and that our company cares about our teams and people. We really are a family.


BJ: The feeling of family and support. Noone goes through anything alone and if you need any support there’s someone that you can talk to or reach out to for help. There are situations I have found myself in which have been genuinely very difficult both mentally and operationally and every time I have been supported, bailed out or helped by my line manager or someone at head office.


MB: I enjoy how we’re constantly evolving as a company. We have evolved I feel massively towards our people. You feel incredibly valued as a team member – the company put your wellbeing at the forefront of their minds, something that can often be overlooked at other companies. Everybody, no matter who they are, should feel valued.


What do you enjoy most about your role?


JH: It’s challenging in the best way possible. I love being able to develop our teams and watch them progress – and we also get a huge amount of creative freedom to execute nights such as Saturday X.


BJ: Leading a team that is excited, motivated and engaged is the best feeling in the world, if you can hire amazing people and create a culture of hard work ethic and support, you can start smashing records and winning awards!


MB: The fun. I enjoy competing against the team on the bar, staff days out and seeing everyone having fun, guest and staff. I enjoy seeing growth in people. Seeing your team do well and exceed makes me feel like I have really made an impact in their lives. Beating targets/records as a team, without a doubt, it all becomes worth the blips! And also seeing great reviews from our guests and changing the reputation the site had. I don’t necessarily enjoy seeing the negatives but I do enjoy turning them around and learning from it. I think that’s very important.


Why did you join RBG in the first place?


JH: I was ready to take the next step in my career and was looking for a company who cared about the progression of its people.


BJ: It was pretty much pot luck at the time! It was the first bar I walked into with my CV and they told me there was a recruitment day that week. I went in because I was on a pub crawl there the night before and all the staff seemed to be enjoying themselves.


MB: I joined Revolution merely to become more sociable. I was sat in my dark room, gaming and not attending college. My brother at the time worked for the company and he got me the interview.


How has RBG supported your development so far?


JH: There are numerous ways I have been supported, from training to courses, support from the colleagues in our area and the estate.


BJ: I wouldn’t be here without constant feedback and support from my peers. I have been on some incredible courses like GAP and ALP which have literally changed me as a person and as a manager for the better.


MB: Fantastic, I can’t fault the support I’ve had from the company. I had support through developing my behaviours through the years of junior management to the GAP project. The training and coaching from head office, deputies, GMs and area managers has all been deeply appreciated. I will use these life skills and attributes forever.


What do you love about working in hospitality?


JH: Creating amazing experiences for our guests and seeing all the feedback from them telling us that they love our bars and teams just as much as we do.


BJ: In terms of people I’d like to think that hospitality helps to build confidence. Because it is so difficult sometimes and you deal with all types of people, it helps you with situations later in life.


MB: Without a doubt meeting new people everyday. No day is ever the same and the challenge of that really excites me. The things I’ve learnt over the years from customers and staff by just talking to them really changed my perception on certain things and definitely made me a better person.


What’s the hardest thing about your role?


JH: I feel recently I’ve had to equip myself to deal with a lot of issues that a few years ago maybe wouldn’t be on our radar. I’m extremely fortunate to work for a company who gives us the tools we require to deal with an ever-changing world. They have listened when we said we needed more and this allows us to truly support our teams.


BJ: Although there is a lot going on which can be exciting and no day is the same, it can be difficult to juggle everything that’s going on at the same time.


MB: Customers not having a great experience. They’re here to have a great time. I know how it feels to finally get time for that ‘date night’, time away or if it’s just a pint to catch up with friends/family. So when a guest doesn’t get a great experience it does make it hard. However, that frustration becomes a source of drive to be better and do better.


Can you describe your role in three words?


JH: Busy, fulfilling, happy.


BJ: Exciting, varied, fun!


MB: Challenging, thrilling and rewarding!