Q&A with Jo Burgess, hardworking front-of-house supervisor in the Elmbridge Village restaurant

Diary posted

1st May 2017

Jo Burgess works in the busy Elmbridge restaurant. She is one of the smiling faces that greet our residents each and every day. We caught up with Jo between shifts to find out what she thinks about working for Retirement Villages and Elmbridge in particular.

What is your job title at Elmbridge?

I am a front-of-house supervisor.

What are your day-to-day duties? 

My day starts with preparing the dessert trolley, helping the team arrange the restaurant according to the seating plan and making sure that everything is ready for service. Once all of this is done I will ask Mandy (our chef) if she needs any help in the kitchen.

How long have you worked at Elmbridge? 

More than ten years!

How did you come across the job and why did you apply? 

Previously I was a stay-at-home mum to my two young girls, Gracie and Sofia, and I felt it was time to get a little job at the weekends. I mentioned this to a friend and she put my name forward for a vacancy at Elmbridge Village. I was interviewed and offered the job. I haven’t looked back since!

What did you do before moving to Elmbridge?

Before my children came along I worked as a full time nanny.

What skills and experience stand you in good stead at Elmbridge? 

People skills and working at a fast pace!

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I love the team of girls I work with; we’re like a little family. I love seeing what a difference we make to so many of our residents’ lives. There are days when we are the only people they see so it’s important we make them feel welcome and comfortable in our restaurant. We are so much more than waitresses to them.

What is challenging about your job?

It’s a daily challenge! We work to get all the tasks done before the lunchtime rush begins and then we bombard Mandy with the lunch orders. Mandy is incredible, how she manages to get the food orders out as quick as she does I will never know.

Who do you work with on a day-to-day basis?

I work with a fabulous team of girls: Mandy, Georgie, Vicky and Geena. There is a LOT of girl power in our kitchen!

How do you work with the Elmbridge management?

The management is a great team to work for; they are there as and when we need them.

Tell us a funny story from the Elmbridge restaurant! 

One that comes to mind happened not long after I joined Elmbridge. Mandy prepared these lovely chocolate and summer fruit desserts, which she served in wine glasses. I placed them on my dessert trolley amongst all the other temptations ready for a busy Sunday service.

As I approached a table to offer some of our residents a dessert, I tripped and stumbled into the trolley sending one of Mandy’s lovely chocolate and summer fruit desserts flying. It landed on a resident’s light-coloured smart jacket!

I was horrified, apologised to the resident and offered to pay for the dry cleaning bill but they wouldn’t hear of it!

What are Elmbridge’s residents like? Are there any you feel a special connection with? 

We see many of our residents on a daily basis and you can’t help but create a lasting bond with them. There are too many to name. It would be nice to have a little more time to talk to them but we are so busy.

Could you tell us a little about you personally?

I grew up in Godalming in a typical Italian household, where food was at the centre of everything! Giles, my husband, always says: “You couldn’t walk past mum’s front door without being fed!” Being the youngest of four girls my parents certainly had their hands full and a very noisy home too.

Giles and I moved to Cranleigh in 2000 and married in 2003. We still live in Cranleigh, now with our two daughters and our pet pug Jessie.

We love spending time with family and friends, going to the cinema and doing all the fun things children like to do. I also enjoy keeping fit so always manage to squeeze a little daily run into my busy routine.