General manager at Gidleigh Park, Simon Franks on his career highlights, the company he admires and three dream dinner guests.
Name: Simon Franks
Job title: General Manager Gidleigh Park
Highlight of your career so far? Building a team that has a quiet confidence in all it does, can think for itself and that puts the guest at the heart of all they do.
If you could choose three guests, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you choose? Barak Obama, Winston Churchill, Brian Johnston (cricket commentator)
Last hotel you stayed at? Meadowood, Napa Valley
Best piece of advice you ever received? Every change you make must be beneficial to the guest
Biggest service bugbear? Waiters that follow procedures and do not adapt to what is best for the guest. We are here for them.
If you went on Stars in their Eyes, who would you portray? Jamie Cullum
Which other company (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why? Probably a company like Apple. I am not very computer literate but I enjoy most Apple products and it would be nice to see how forward thinking they are in terms of products but also staff welfare.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? Make a pot of tea. Cannot start the day without it. plus the team know if they wait long enough I will bring them tea. After that a walk around the hotel, I need to know all is well before I start the day.
Your first job? Making sandwiches for a local delicatessen. Warned for making the fillings too large.
If you weren’t a hotelier what would you be doing? I am not sure I could do anything else
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Hopefully still making people happy
Your dream job? Anything outdoors – I enjoy being outside and one of the pleasures of being at Gidleigh is the proximity to the moors.
Something you wish you knew before joining the industry: How addictive it is looking after guests and trying to make their day better
In one word…Favourite food? Anything sweet
Favourite UK city? London
Favourite request on the jukebox? I’d rather go blind (Beth Hart/ Joe Bonamassa)
Favourite drink? G&T
Favourite holiday destination? Yellowstone National Park
Favourite film? Free Solo
Favourite gadget? KitchenAid
Favourite thing you own? Walking boots