#040 – Hospitality Meets Simon Lewis – The Energetic Training Guru

In the 2nd of our delves into the world of training & development, we chat to Simon Lewis, Operations Manager at HIT Training (www.hittraining.co.uk).

We talk about Training, the future, getting out, The media, Hospitality options, transformer pyjamas, special biscuit tins, crashing tractors, evolution, golf, 19 crimes wine, networking, masks and so much more as well as Simon’s wonderful and hilarious journey.

Simon talks with such energy, it’s clear he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Also look out for some hilarious anecdotes from his life story so far.

Thanks Simon


Show Transcription


people, hospitality, absolutely, organisation, programmes, industry, work, training, person, job, chef, learning, part, point, support, literally, remember, day


Simon Lewis, Phil Street

Phil Street 00:01

Welcome to hospitality meets with me Phil street where we take a light hearted look into the stories and individuals that make up the wonderful world of hospitality. Today’s guest is Simon Lewis, Operations Manager for HIT training in the UK. Coming up on today’s show… Simon conjures up some warm and fuzzy moments from his childhood,

Simon Lewis 00:22

This little boys skipping along with his with his basket collecting the eggs in the morning.

Phil Street 00:27

We all wonder how we ended up talking about this… And in the meantime, you can still have the odd day of working from home in your Bumblebee pyjamas And Simon wins the award for the most original sentence on the show so far…

Simon Lewis 00:39

Within about 15 minutes I had an… well I say 15 minutes, after the sheep were put back in

Phil Street 00:44

All that and so much more as Simon talks us through his story and journey to date along with some hilarious anecdotes from his life so far. Don’t forget to give us a like and share across your favourite social channels. Enjoy. Hello and welcome to the next edition of hospitality meets with me Phil Street. Today I’m joined by someone from the world of training and development, a fellow and committee member at the Institute of hospitality London, an advisory board member at Springboard, UK Operations Manager at HIT training, which is what he does for a day job pro… I can’t even say this prolific pantomime performer, and all around nice guy Simon Lewis, welcome to the show.

Simon Lewis 01:23

Oh, thank you my love prolific pantomime performer. That was a lot of p’s all in one sentence.

Phil Street 01:30

Yeah, I didn’t realise that as I wrote that.

Simon Lewis 01:33


Phil Street 01:34

Saying it was going to be the greatest challenge of my day.

Simon Lewis 01:37

How are you? You alright?

Phil Street 01:39

Yeah, great. How are you doing?

Simon Lewis 01:41

feeling alright now? I mean, it’s a bit dreary outside. And I’m just getting used to the fact of all my different zoom meetings that you end up doing. And anybody who hasn’t been through the stage yet where you’ve spent the day in your pyjamas, and you’re Homer Simpson slippers, then you’re lying because we know you know, you know that everybody’s actually done it. Or when someone turns around and they say, Oh, yeah, my, my camera’s not working again, and you’re like really that means you’re not you’re not dressed are you, you just got up and ironically before it was even me for coming on here with you. So that’s all I get. Make sure do my hair and I’m not Simon, what do you doing? What What? What? What? Why are you trying to smarten yourself up? No one can see ya. Isn’t it weird?

Phil Street 02:26

No, absolutely. Why the I went very early on into using this platform that I use, which is not video orientated because obviously it’s not a video content that I’m churning out.

Simon Lewis 02:40

What you’re saying you saying I’ve got a face radio?

Phil Street 02:42

I say that about myself?

Simon Lewis 02:43


Phil Street 02:45

Yes. And we’re in good company.

Simon Lewis 02:49

Good, good. Good shout.

Phil Street 02:51

Yeah. So yeah, well, maybe you could kick things off by by giving us a rough overview of who you are and what you do.

Simon Lewis 02:58

So I don’t know if I can beat that lovely introduction that you just gave me. But yeah, Hello, my name is My name is … Do you know what this this feels like? I feel like I’m on a dating site. I like this. Really, my name is Simon, I am 40 years old.

Phil Street 03:14

You didn’t have to say that actually?

Simon Lewis 03:16

Well, I thought I’d throw it in there. I work out regularly now. And also for a day job. I have Yeah. So I work as the Operations Manager for one of the operations managers for training. And I’m responsible for overseeing the company’s business operations. Hence, in terms of within the title, I work really closely in partnership with our head of quality and head of curriculum. And my job role is pretty much is making sure that what we do is consistent across the country, for our learner journey, in line with what our business partners need from us and looking at different sort of ideas and different concepts of what we can do in terms of to support the industries that we work with. So if you look at that for most recently is things like for so where we’ve been working, I’ve been working on some projects around preparing apprentices for the post pandemic, and the future of hospitality. Yeah, so looking at different things that people can do. So principles of infection control, awareness for first aid, customer service in the New World, managing change, building resilience. So looking at ways the as an organisation that we can adapt our learning, I’d love to take all the credit for doing this, but we’ve got a lot of people in the background that actually do a lot of the work as well. However, I don’t mind saying it. But it’s about about preparing people and their business for our post COVID future really, and starting to look at sort of sort of projects like that. So that’s that’s just just a short glimpse in terms of the last couple of weeks, basically.

Phil Street 04:55

So not only are you a trainer of people, you You know, a futurist, because you’ve kind of you’ve had to come up with training ideas based around a concept that none of us really know what the other side looks like.

Simon Lewis 05:11

Absolutely. And I think that we’re quite lucky with the organisation that we work with, because we’ve got a sister company called connect to care, who’ve always worked in terms of with mental health and working across the care industry. So working in partnership with those guys is brilliant. So that because in terms of it, hospitality has always had infection control, but then taking it to a whole new level. And really understanding that drawing in on on other people within the business is just great. And you notice expect to learn new things.

Phil Street 05:42

Yep, absolutely. So give us a kind of a rough guide as to the sorts of things that you that you train and also your what you generally are doing at the moment as a company.

Simon Lewis 05:55

So our main delivery is around apprenticeship programmes and being able to support and develop people through the industry. So anything from somebody who wants to start out as a chef, we run a number of chef academies, when we get back to doing them for face to face, right here, right now, we are delivering the same quality product online. So we’ve got a number of masterclasses that we’ve been delivering, do interactive online workshops. I only looked today, and in one day alone, there was about 19 different workshops that were just being ran today across the sector’s so including things like for customer service, management and leadership, understanding shellfish coffee off the top of my head, what were they they were, but there’s bear game. So huge array in terms of for different things that are available on that there, we’ve also been looking at our new employment support programme for hospitality, retail. And that and that’s basically is because, unfortunately, with with what’s happened in the background, we know that there’s a number of workers who’ve recently been made redundant, understanding how difficult it is, and it’s it can be quite stressful at these these sort of times. So what we did was we put together a redundancy support programme, right for re entering the world of work again, post COVID-19, helping to boost CVS preparing for online interviews, as part of the programme then also, again, looking at customer service, most importantly, just about the prevention and control of infection, managing change and actually building resilience. And so that yes, so that that’s sort of that sort of encompasses just some some of the stuff that we’ve been looking at, we’re looking at a number in terms of for different job boards of looking at, for people for coming back, for people who want to join the industry in the future. So you know, there’s almost like 11, 11,000 different people who actually didn’t want to join in it since with the industry for the future. Don’t quote me on the on the actual number, because it might be more it might be slightly less, but you know, we’re looking at, you know, 10s thousands of people here who still want would want to come into the industry. And as an industry, we’ve done such a big job. And I say we that’s collectively in terms of with with everybody across across the sector, and including the brilliant job that UK hospitality have done in terms of raising the profile for hospitality. Yeah. And then knocked back in terms of for now for as an industry is, it’s important that we play our part as an organisation in terms of supporting young people that still want to come into the industry, looking at how it works. And we work very closely with springboard. But working with schools and looking at again, how we can re educate instance with people looking at in terms of we’ve got a number of short courses that we run and again for free for people that want to still want to make the sorts of join the industry but want to taste that they want to know what it’s like to not full on sort of food safety for some of the basics and getting people re entered but really energised in terms and wanting to come and join the sector. Because at the moment, you know, you look at the press and even over the last sort of few weeks is, you know, from an outside point of view, you can say well, they were this these pumps that were closed that was opened. So they say pub… start that again, you’ve got pubs within an hour of the hotel. …You’ve got the hospitality.

Phil Street 09:22

Put your teeth in Simon

Simon Lewis 09:24

I know I’m not good. We’ve got the hospitality industry that was the first to close. Yeah, and then the last to reopen, or one of the last now’s to reopen. So we’ve got so many against over the weekend, you know recently over loss of life for the weekends. And so where we’ve got places that have opened and again then when you start seeing tonnes of outbreaks of the virus in pockets of areas, it’s not everywhere. And the interesting thing with that is that and again some people will read one article and they’ll think that that’s absolutely everywhere. Yeah and either in terms of the you know, the local views down the road from me really cute little Pump country pub. And they’ve done an absolutely amazing job good clear sort of flow system first for making sure that the social distancing is upheld, making sure that it’s not over capacity in terms of in their beer garden. And you know, there’s this, there’s no case of that, and they’ve listened to the advice, listen to the guidance, and they’ve, they’ve made a huge, huge difference. And again, you know, I look in terms of our colleagues that work, have been working really hard at looking at how they can get the hotels reopened. And the measures that have been put into place in the background of following interns with the guidance, and rebuilding customers to come back in. And the press doesn’t always help in terms of the fact when it can be quite negative about our sector. So it’s important, for sure, and collectively, that we all work together into earnings. And we actually, you know, we what’s it called Instagram, I’m not down with the kids. So we do the Instagram of the the places that we’ve been to, if I was cool enough, I would do that. But I’m not to tweet about, again, places that we’ve been to the good times that we’ve had, and, and again, to take those photographs of that that social distancing. And that’s not about showing off as an individual that’s about showing off and supporting and marketing these businesses that are reopen, that are doing it safely, and to show that, you know, they places have got a limit might have limited menus or a different service style, but it’s just different. And definitely to check it out. And because you will have a good time, and it is a good experience. So, you know, that’s the type of thing and I think they didn’t know if every single person talks about somewhere that they’ve been in a great experience that we had, that that word of mouth of hospitality was the most powerful?

Phil Street 11:41

Absolutely. So what you’re basically saying is, it’s your duty to get out into the pubs and restaurants of the world and, and enjoy their wares and and share that with the world as to all of look at all of the good stuff that’s happening.

Simon Lewis 11:56

I mean, absolutely, you know, and I’m down for a gin and tonic with anyone. I didn’t know that about you Yeah I mean, really? Or a glass of wine or a beer or two.

Phil Street 12:08

Yeah. No, I completely agree with you on the point of the the media that the I think there, there’s been quite all the way through this. And maybe it was very prevalent beforehand as well, that there’s there’s been a lot of irresponsible headline making. And even just this morning, there was this headline about you know pubs close after you know three days after reopening. The headline itself makes it sound like all pubs are closing. But across the UK, they were talking about three pubs. And there’s always going to be isolated localised incidents, on the back of something like this sort of come up with headlines like that, I just think is really, really poor. And yeah, for me, they’ve they’ve basically just become peddlers of failure. That’s that’s all they all they care about is is reporting on failure.

Simon Lewis 12:59

And it’s unfair actually on the on the because it doesn’t make as good a headline of the dog and duck down the road has done a really good job in terms of what they were doing because it you know, it’s not it’s not as gripping and as as exciting and all I kind of think is it we’ll move on to something else soon enough, and I can say is that if people can just constantly just share their good news stories and the great things that go on, actually those types of things that can be celebrated. And that’s why I think as an industry, we’re really lucky with our trade magazine. So with the caterer for example, that they do a really good job of actually of off celebrating I agree our industry and, and, and celebrating in terms of and putting out there in terms of the different things that we actually do. And I could say things like for UK hospitality and there’s a number of different people and professional leaders that have appeared I’ve seen on a regular basis that from the BI that have appeared on the news talking about this as preopening and and here’s what we’re now doing in terms of with opening and it’s it’s pushed pushing the story in terms of it in the right way. For what what we need to do and basically is that actually is that our industry is is an amazing one to be in. I’m it makes me so proud. I absolutely love everything about hospitality. I’ve not actually worked in any other sector. It’s something that I’ve always known. It’s something I’ve always done. And it’s so important that other people get that feel and also an even if you don’t work in the industry that that they still carry on going out and actually and experiencing and booked into a local b&b. It is going to be to go down to the beach. I’m not talking in terms of the big crowds that we had at Bournemouth only a few weeks ago, but in terms of for a social distancing and supporting the local ice cream van, get you know getting a bag of fish and chip, names, food being able to or any other I’m popping somewhere for a beer going somewhere for lunch, I made myself sound like we’re all I’m actually all I should do is eat and drink, but it’s but that hospitality is just is one of those sectors that literally, that is just, it’s just something that once someone’s experienced, you wouldn’t want to not come out of so when when anybody sort of says to me about being so for a career in hospitality, I would say that you can get these are the skills that you can use in any any single job. But if you look at something like a lawyer will train to persuade someone, an engineer, will be trained to fix something. Anybody who works in hospitality is somebody who can make you happy. And that’s, that’s what hospitality is. And you know, it gives you the great chance to create, you know, this, this extended family whilst you’re working, it gives you the opportunity to travel, it gives you a skill set that you can take anywhere worldwide, you learn to work as part of a team you learn how to adapt through through changes, and no career is actually is easy whatsoever. Yeah. If anyone’s ever unsure in terms of what you know, work wise or to get get involved in the sector. Well, apart from what I’ve just said, against we’ve got people that you know, that were part part time. There’s a lot of people who work in, in our industry that are at uni, and then all of a sudden then they go, actually, you know what, I’m going to work work part time at the same time and then they realise that actually they’re their degree in geography isn’t actually what they want to do at all and make great contributions to our industry. So yeah, so I side track there but I get I get so excited about the fact of safer for the future. And, and what we can do is I’m just looking at you know, overall for politics, he’s been in my blood since since I was a kid from growing up growing up on a farm really,

Phil Street 16:58

so you quite like it then at Well

Simon Lewis 17:00

yeah, you know, I could say what makes me chuckle is the amount of people that got all the early you know, will you know be mad at work in early morning or late night and I kind of think when I when I was growing up, I really happy little childhood so can can paint the picture of his little boy skipping along with his with his basket collecting the eggs in the morning. It’s not just a fairy tale

Phil Street 17:25

Morning Mrs Brown, Morning

Simon Lewis 17:28

Proper Hello down the village. And the getting up early in the morning is you take clattering around downstairs and so you never knew when I was never the first person up because that meant that you had to like set the Rayburn and you had to get like the heating switched on so so I never sort of clicked into that. But get going out and about in my wellies and my hook. I just remember like my, my transformer pyjamas and my bumble bee because I absolutely love Bumblebee and had like a bumblebee Wellington’s that I used to wear, and I’d go out and then in the morning to be milking the goats but the cows, I try to get out of mucking out the pigs, you start to do that on the on some days, and you go back in. And my first experience of hospitality was was was family. And it’s that whole thing of you know, that sort of that subtle, sweet smell of home made fresh bread. Well, I say the sweet smell on most days, because I never forget on the odd occasion there’d be this sort of waft of stale beer. And I’d be like, what, what is that smell? And I built up the confidence and I’d asked my mom. So what’s that smell? in the background. She’s a holdout set, actually, Granny, why she’s always where the dough is over fermented. And it’s so we always knew that when granny was in a bad mood. It was basically because she’d made the bread wrong in the background. And there’s a funny smell in the house. But yeah, we’re on the table of homemade jams. My granddad kept bees to make honey and my mom and Granny Granny use to the part of the Wi Fi. And there was always the siren we remember on the table, these vintage style laced tablecloths, and there was always like some random embroidered flower that someone from the Wi Fi had sort of put onto the flower in it. And it was kind of like you didn’t spill anything onto the table. But it gave me a good sort of foundation in terms of really sort of understanding and sustainability where sort food came from. And also remember, sorry, I digress. I remember with the Wi Fi that there was always in the house that there was always cakes, like forever how how I wasn’t a massive, massive child. I don’t know because there was always cakes in the house. They were always split into two categories. So there was the categories which were the the cakes that you were allowed to eat, which is basically anything that went wrong was fake. game but then anything that was in there was like this. It’s like an old biscuit tin but anything that was in in the in the biscuit tea and that was that was the special cakes. You weren’t you were not allowed to touch them on the odd occasion you could peek and look at them. But there they were the cakes the moment groundwood would take all covered up off to the WR. And then it would be they’re really proud. judging the table look at what we have produced type thing and I had just maybe that’s why I like calendar. I like calendar girls so much the film

Phil Street 20:35

brought back stories and memories of your childhood.

Simon Lewis 20:38

It does. Yeah, totally. And I don’t I don’t I don’t know about you, but when I um when I was young, when I learnt to drive but on and again on my first driving lesson was on a tractor,

Phil Street 20:50

Right? No, that wasn’t me.

Simon Lewis 20:51

So I……. Oh really?

Phil Street 20:53


Simon Lewis 20:55

it’s not many people’s experience either. But I remember being being shown how to use the tractor and on your left foot, you’ve got the clutch and on the right foot, you’ve got the brake. And the accelerator is like a little novelty thing on the on the on the side, almost missing. Nobody think like an indicator, but it was the accelerator, sort of rev up the engine. And because there was strict rules, which is which is so bad. And obviously I’m safe now so chances need not get involved. (Laughs) But with that me my brothers I’d say we’ve shown it was like met real clear rules. You never ever get onto the tractor when there’s nobody around.

Phil Street 21:33

I feel like there’s going to be a but here

Simon Lewis 21:41

So… to my brother and I, we we got into the tractor mum and dad, Minister, they just popped down the road, it’s like quarter miles down before you know your next door neighbour. So and we’ve got a stretch, and we were just sort of just driving around driving around the field. And my brother had got off. And because I’m the middle child, I always feel like I was like, never treated the same. But hey, I don’t think my lesson was good enough. So he’s jumped off. And then and I was like, you know, I can do this on my own. And then and then I was heading down towards the gate. And I’m pushing on my left foot, which I thought was the brake. But it wasn’t it’s actually the capture. And I’m jumping up and down on the clutch. And the tractor wouldn’t stop and then banged like crashed straight through the gate. And I must have been going about three miles an hour. So nothing crazy. Yeah, but in in that moment, it felt like I was a racing car driver. And I just toppled over at Castle Donnington or something because I I literally, it was just never forget it was the crash in terms of with the gate. It went straight through. And within seconds. I don’t know where they came from, or the sheep just randomly just sort of came running pass. It was literally like something out of a comedy sketch. And also Oh my God. Now the sensible thing to have done would have been to have ran down to the bottom. And just to shut the gate. Yeah, I think the other guy yeah, the bottom of the driveway to stop him from getting out and to hurt them back in. But instead because I knew I’d done something wrong. So I got my brother in law and we push the tractor back up in the field. And then as soon as it pops up, because clearly no one would notice. Then we ran up and hidden the barn, but on the way to the barn, and I remember it so clearly. I stopped, got a foot up from my brother to get two apples from the tree, just so we didn’t go hungry. And then we ran into the barn and hid. And then I heard literally whenever we come over that Simon, Andrew, where are you? What are you doing? And we were just hidden in the barn. Absolutely petrified. And it was my first lesson in terms of I think from a management point of view because my my democrat grand grandfather, they caught what they were worried about was were we okay. Right? And then and then they sat us down and they just turn around they said, Look, we told you not to do this. And this is the reason why wasn’t told off. It wasn’t yelled out wasn’t screamed. And then I had basically then within about 15 minutes, I hadn’t quite I would say 15 minutes after the sheep were put back in. I had a new lesson on basically on how to how to use the tractor safely, which was then swiftly removed with a you will not actually do this ever again because I didn’t get back on because then I was like, well still nervous. Yeah. But the whole point around the fact that you knew why sometimes people make mistakes, actually. And that was an early on mistake and let’s face it for fun story now, but I’ve used it throughout my career throughout my life is that you know, people make mistakes and and yelling and screaming at people that that doesn’t solve anything. Whereas actually let’s let’s let’s find out what what was the root cause of the problem and let’s support someone to be able to make them better. Yeah, there’s kind of a no Have a happy ending at the end of that.

Phil Street 25:03

Yeah. And what a massive life learning as you say that you then take forward with you. You know, if somebody tells you probably, you’re not ready to do that yet, then maybe you take that on board a bit better than your dad, you did before you had that experience?

Simon Lewis 25:19

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I think farm life in particular is, is anybody’s word for agriculture. And within farm life is you, it gives you a real clear foundation for for community and culture. So everything that I probably do, and I’ve done over my career, the decisions sort of take me back to the sort of farming principles, which is to make make a good farm, is you need to make sure you’ve got the animals, you need to make sure you’ve got land in the environment, you’ve got the actual farmer themselves in the community. And you can link that into to any sort of business models, you kind of think, right, okay, so the animals, if you like, would be your customers and guests in whatever environment, so you need to make sure you look after them, the land, and the environment while actually building so make sure that you look after in terms of the actual the buildings that you work in, then you’ve actually got the farmer themselves, which again, are the people who work for you. So our chefs, our concierge is our managers and looking after those people. And then the bit that never changes is around what we do within the community and, and what we can and it’s about doing stuff that’s not for ourselves, but it’s the stuff that we do for other people. And even you know, so after doing the whole thing for COVID is that the community stuff that I’ve seen out there and you know, and I saw there was a lovely tweet that was sent by Kathy from caterers calm, which was his, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s not actually about what people tweet about what they’ve done, because there are a lot of people do a lot of things in the background, but just just don’t say anything and the real unsung heroes. Yeah. And I totally get that there are you know, that there’s, there’s people out there who have who’ve done absolutely amazing jobs, you know, and it was a lot of my colleagues in terms of with it with at work, there’s loads and loads of stuff that people have done in terms of within the background. And you know, the stuff that I’ve, I’ve, I’ve now I sound like I’m talking about what I did, but I think there’s, you know, there’s loads of stuff that in terms of that has been done, you don’t necessarily have to scream and shout about it, because it is the, it’s the thought that counts. And actually, there’s this, there’s there are so many people across our sector who really have pulled together, and that real sense of collaboration working together. And it’s absolutely fantastic. And on the flip side of that is what is really important. And what I love is I love watching webinars and looking at different different sort of seminars and people sharing. And most recently now where people were talking about what they were going to do for preopening. listening to what people have done now in terms of for opening, and just sharing. And it’s that whole thing of which is for me is we’re getting a thing with hospitality is all about, which is about being an alliance, which isn’t isn’t looking at each other as competitors, it’s looking at each other as allies and learning from each other and looking at how, how we can how we can better overall across for the industry. Yeah. And I you know, that that, you know, that sort of takes a bit hohner went up went up again, when I was younger, I wasn’t attractive at this point. But I used to work in this first place that I ever worked in, was a little family run restaurant called Higgins in South Wales. And I absolutely loved working there. I never forget being inspired by the fact that so chef was whisking up the egg whites and then, and then put the egg whites over the top of my head, but then they didn’t fall out. And I was like, Oh my word This is so fancy that like they do roulade here. I mean, later in life, you know, it’s a fancy swiss roll. But you know, so and to be inspired in terms of with the actual the cooking side of it. And then and for Front of House of just how to give that great service, making sure that for everything that you do. And they’ve got the guy that was one of the CO owners actually worked as an accountant, and Cindy about 16. And it’s sort of started at college. And he and I remember I was working on a Saturday shift and I’ve done in terms of my, my washing up jobs I’ve done in terms of what I need to do front of house. And he was taught me to chase and stuff with the books. And basically I’ve just really starting to understand financial modelling and being able to really understand that sort of type of stuff, that what goes on in the background and making sure that you know, you’ve got to set your margins right in it. Remember his his philosophy was, we could have the best chefs in the world. But unless unless we get people through the doors, and we’ve got to make sure that we that we watch the pennies to watch the pounds, and that doesn’t mean in terms of scrimping on ingredients because you need to make sure if you’re going to charge a higher price that you’ve got high end ingredients. Yeah. But at the same time, it’s making sure that you get it right for the customers and the business clients that you’ve got to come in. And there’s there’s lots of places that I’ve worked in over the years where I’ve worked in one place where there was a drunk chef and his wife that basically just used to take the buses Like, like it was like the Cinderella story where it’s kind of it just takes the takes the money out of the till each each week, and then they used to just, you know, pop off into town. And it’s no wonder that that that business didn’t survive, because basically it was all of the work of the team that the the owner just came in, basically, it has to say, just took the money out of the tiller. And then and that was it. However, there’s loads and loads of fantastic places out there that do a brilliant job, and actually in that have survived and not only survive, but also thrive. And they’re now reopened for business. So we should go along and go and have dinner.

Phil Street 30:34


Simon Lewis 30:34

Again, I’m doing the dating Phil.

Phil Street 30:36


Simon Lewis 30:37

Not sure what you’re wife’s going to say.

Phil Street 30:40

Yeah, no, but you’re right, though. I mean, I think that the world is ready to go back out for food and drink. But in any case, that’s a whole different story. But we kind of covered a little bit in the first part of this chat. But so take us back to your story. So your your farm life growing up, you had early, early career In, in this restaurant, where what happened next? Where did you go next?

Simon Lewis 31:04

So I then Well, after Higgins, I gave me a nice sort of foundation. Now I remember at the time being called the head waiter at 16 foot Oh, and I had this awful. It was like a fruit bowl waistcoat. That in my head, I thought I looked really smart and really cool. When you when you look at I will never share this with anybody by the way. Definitely not you maybe after a few drinks that. But yeah, the actual, the uniform and the way that you look, which was just crazy. Anyway, I digress on that. So yes, I when I left there, I went and worked. I wanted to go in and explore working in terms of for some different pipes. So I did that. And it was the punch house, by name and by nature in terms of with the chef, because that was the that was the first place that I actually met an angry chef, who was just really annoyed with life. Basically, I just felt that yelling, everybody was clearly the way for solution. And really weirdly, but I worked them for about two or three shifts, and nobody had ever stood up to him. And I remember going into the kitchen, I’m like, dude, I just don’t understand why you keep yelling, I can hear what you’re saying. And literally, within seconds, it just it just changed. And he was like, oh, and also can if all you need to do is just, you know, just say table six away, please. I said it’s not gonna hurt anybody. And I remember afterwards, I thought, Oh, I’m gonna get sacked. We’re going to get set on here. But actually is every time whenever I work with him, I didn’t have a problem whatsoever. I’d come in onto shift. And I’d hear him still yelling at other people. But I was fine.

Phil Street 32:36

I had a similar experience, actually, in one of my earlier jobs. First time I moved into food and beverage on cruise ships, and they had massive massive galley teams of, you know, like 300 chefs and various different departments. But My liaison point was always the premier sous chef and dependent on who this person was dictated the mood of my day. And that was it was a really quick learning for me as a as a as a young when I was 22 years old as I made my first move into FMB into f&b management as a as an assistant f&b manager. And I remember this guy who was a real imposing figure physically, but just the way he commanded himself. And you know, he definitely ruled with an iron fist. But as soon as you kind of pushed back and asked why, and kind of got through that, I suppose that barrier that he was putting up, he’s one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. It was just because he’d be I suppose, one, he’s got a massive team to look after. So that’s, that’s pressure to it was treat everybody exactly the same? You know, regardless, it’s not a case of individual management styles for individual people. But also, I mean, the the learning for me, and that experience was huge. That was the first time that I can remember thinking, Okay, you’ve got to stand up for yourself. So in a weird way, he taught me a lesson by being the way that he was.

Simon Lewis 34:05

No, Absolutely. And it’s interesting. And again, sort of like, throughout my career, I’ve come across lots and lots of different people and, and as you get older, you learn, you learn in different ways on how to manage up words, how to manage side words, and how basically, and just just different ways of communicating with people. And at every single point, it’s all just about just being remaining calm, but also having clear communication channels. And quite often, you know, and I any sort of later on where I where I’ve worked in that for different places that the that sometimes where I’ve had to deal with sort of like for conflict management is that there are that sometimes it’s just a case of the when I’ve asked someone to do something, because that’s the way that I do it. But actually, that person might not quite understand the Tascam four, might not be sure, but then if they’re too scared to then ask again, then nothing’s ever going to get done. Whereas actually just to be really clear about what it is that we’re asking for somebody to do, and then all of a sudden, it’s kind of Oh, actually, yeah, that that makes sense that that makes perfect sense to me here. And, yeah, lots and lots of the, over the years, the different places. So if I worked in a number of different hotels, bars, restaurants, I tell you, the one thing that I’ve that I always sort of struggled with was always just remembering different items on the menu. And especially set up when you were with fit for taking orders. And for specials and being out and for describing and I don’t know, I don’t know, in terms of, for why or what came across, but someone taught me it was, as in a wait way to remember something is that for creating just triggers in your mind, so you basically is that when they sort of did the the debrief and they went through, so it might be that they’re explaining the wine of the day, or the dish of the day, or whatever it happened to be. And then I’ve seen it go and you know, explain this to different people. But this guy that was training and used to each talk to you about so if it was the fish of the day, we’d be all of us would be stood by the window, while we were talking about the fish of the day, then all of a sudden, you’d like walk over to the fireplace, and then you would start talking about a different dish that’s on the specials board. But then when I said when you stood at the table, your mind straightaway takes you to the window, which brings ignites that part of your memory of what someone told you when you were stood by the window. And then you then also go to the fire pit, it was very strange, but it’s worked really, really well, in terms of just creating different bit of different triggers in in your memory. And I suppose it is quite logical, isn’t it? When you think about that age old thing of right, where have I put my keys where and you retrace your memories throughout your house, as to where is everything and again, no different in terms of memory recall throughout throughout stuff. And again, just just a, there’s loads of people that, that I’ve worked with over the years that have used that as a technique. And it’s really helped them just to remember a variety of different things. And again, just in different ways. And so yeah, so going back to my lifelong history, yeah, yeah, except worked in a number of different bars. Restaurants work my way up to GM at quite a young age and worked in a learning and development. I’ve worked in cocktail bars, boutique hotels, restaurants, when I was a union delayed bank workers, tech, I moved from South Wales to Nottingham, to study and I did an international business hospitality course. And it was like, well, this is a long while course. But I’ve always been that type of person that I’ve worked full time whilst I was studying as well, looking at like the pathways that are available now in terms of things like for degree apprenticeships and stuff like that. He kind of they actually knew what that probably would have been a better route for me, because actually, I ended up working alongside doing it anyway, what I learned in terms of for the academic side of it was it was really interesting, because just it just so happened to be right place right time at the places that I was working, I could work on different projects. So the cocktail bar that was working at the time, we’re doing a relaunch in terms of with their induction programme, which is and that was part in terms of with my course was around HR and inductions. So I got to work with the l&d team there to create the the induction programme for the organisation, whilst also doing it since as part of part of my studying, which meant that I could embed the two. And then throughout the years as well, as always, that picked up different bank work. And that’s more a case of for being nosy and just go back to that I just like the social side of it. So it’s I mean, to be fair, I haven’t haven’t done it now for a couple of years. But it’s something I’ll definitely do, again, in terms of three in the in the future around the fact of you know, sort of like when you go into the different apps and what have you and with different recruitment agencies where you can say, you know, they want someone to come and help interns with a function, because it’s important to stay in touch and to keep up to date with what’s going on in the industry for as as you go along.

Phil Street 39:04

And I think that’s a great message, actually, especially for the job that you do, you know, where you’re, I suppose a lot of the training that you deliver is practical, as well as theoretical, but actually to be able to stand in front of people and deliver a training in whatever form having been there, but not just been there 15 years ago, but you’ve been there now and seen what what happens I can imagine that’s quite powerful.

Simon Lewis 39:31

Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, if even the with it within most recent sort of times over the last couple of months Well, it was as soon as but it was actually before locked entity even started there as an organisation that we were really conscious and you know, and I led in terms with my teams, which is around the fact of making sure that we all have our own staff have also completed their own prevention and, and control of infection so that they can understand in terms of and again, for the New World, the team We make sure everyone’s got five days, every year, as a minimum, when they’re going back into industry, we actively encourage people in terms of the fact that again for going back into into industry, and to make sure and again so that they’re up to date. So when we call someone an expert is it’s it’s a true light in terms of the fact that these guys are experts in making sure that they do keep up to date with everything that’s going on, and the trends across the industry. So it’s, and that’s something that we all do across the organisation on a regular basis. So I’m currently looking at additional mental health programmes that we’ve done to we did one a couple of years ago. And now it’s just an instance of that from a refresher and a top up in terms of from that, yes, into mental health is something that’s at the moment is something that’s been brought and heightened even more with with people and and understandably, because it’s a huge challenge in terms of for for today with people. But luckily, England safer as an organisation, that’s something that we heavily support. There’s lots of support groups out there for likes of hospitality action, we run mental health, we’ve got Mental Health First Aiders, we run a number of say different mental health programmes which are aimed at and soon again, for people for hospitality, so we can support in certain areas. But keeping up to date, I say, for everything that’s going on across the industry, is that also then links back to making sure so looking at so COVID-19 industry changes, and we can look at it as this is a challenge, but then also look at it in terms of for the opportunities, it’s you know, it’s been a perfect opportunity for a number of organisations to rebrand themselves. And I find I find it fascinating when you look at the different things that people are doing. So you look at my agnostic handling system with the frog, and they’ve recently brought out as a new design restaurant, new menu, New World, this this, this is us in terms of moving forward for us nice bold statements of this, this is what we can do sticky Warner, that I’ve been trying to actually to order some food and finally about, so I’m really looking forward to this. So where there is a whole takeaway package and this send the food over to you could be anywhere across the UK. And but it’s not actually it’s not actually cooked. So it’s sending items within the raw ingredients, then you watch the video, and you actually cook along in terms of footfall with the chef, bring it great in terms of overall as an experience. And then you know, that’s that’s all that the positive stuff. And then like I say, and then then you look at the flip side of it that we say around with and people being made redundancy. So hence, looking at reward. What what small part can we play in terms of we’re looking at redundancy support programmes, and, and linking up people, for example. So someone might be made redundant since with one job, Rob, we look in terms of marrying up comparing that with other organisations that actually might be seeing a spike, in instance, within growth, and just looking in terms of overall for the collaboration for working together.

Phil Street 43:00

Yeah, but that’s not sitting still, basically, and adapting to what’s in front of you, you know, if you were still running the same training programmes as you were five years ago, you’d you’d you’d already be left behind. Right?

Simon Lewis 43:12

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s important that we that from a training point of view that we keep people safe, and we need to make sure that we follow the guidance that set out in terms of by each establishment, the great thing is, is that we’ve got a fantastic platform where we can use for online and look at resource changing, and I think six, six to 12 months ago, I’d have been the first person that would have turned around and said, Oh, no, you need to get a really interactive workshop together, you need to get everybody together in a room. Whereas what what we’ve been forced into, and what this has proven, is that you can do an interactive online workshop and do it well. But actually, we can still do it via forums such as zoom. And I’m really proud of like, for the people that I work with that the skill sets that we’ve that we’ve that we’ve found in terms of within people and additional skills that you want, that I definitely haven’t seen in the full light in the past that actually is that their skills in terms of engaging small groups of people on an interactive online workshop, you know, it’s not, it’s not a video that someone just goes on and clicks to watch. It’s real people that that really keep everybody engaged and switched on. And you really, you know, read the feedback afterwards. And it makes me really, really proud. And I say, of all of the people I’m telling whenever I do any training, as you can imagine, because I waffle off and chatter a lot. But but but that’s why, you know, you know, we’ve got fantastic people and I’ve got fantastic people that I work with do an amazing job. And, you know, and you know, these are the people that we work with, you know, we make sure that they have input in terms of what things should look like what is not dictatorial It’s making sure that there’s a full 360 degree feedback, taking feedback in terms of from people once they’ve attended, what do we need to tweak? What do we need to change? So exactly the same as what you said just now. Something that we were delivered that we started when we were delivering it three months ago is very different to what we’re delivering now. But again, you know, maintaining in terms of from a consistency point of view is, it doesn’t it doesn’t matter if if somebody is training in Cornwall, London, Newcastle, or wherever it happens to be that we’ve got a fantastic team that makes sure that there is the consistency from a delivery point of view. So yeah, it makes me really proud of my little farming family.

Phil Street 45:38

Yeah, absolutely. How did you get into l&d in the first place?

Simon Lewis 45:43

Well, I kind of kind of fell in it into it. To be fair, it was it’s something that I’ve always been interested in in terms of training and development. And it was modules that I was really interested in doing in terms of with my uni work. And then it just so happens to be that at the time when I was working in the cocktail bar that I sort of slipped into actually for coaching, training and developing people. And before that, I suppose what’s the first step is that I was I was always the person that if somebody new started, it was like, Simon, can they shadow you to show them how to do it right. And then it’s sort of skills that I then learned, and then sort of went on a few sort of like internal courses, and learning and again, but I think it’s free. So learning how to coach mentoring to develop people, but then I found it, it was something that I really enjoyed, and I got, so I got so much job satisfaction out of it. So as I sort of went through my career, I sort of went down that a combination of an operational and an l&d hybrid, like a hybrid role for quite a while. So again, because I didn’t really want to step outside operations, but I didn’t want to step outside l&d, and it’s at one point, I had to then make a decision. And it was around about the time actually, and I worked for a coffee brand at the time. And it was she’s about 12 years ago. Now. That’s when I started to hit for a coffee brand. And as working as a national trainer within the l&d team, it was around about the time when the recession that hit, and the job role that I’d applied for no longer existed. And then I’ve always worked with people that I like, and that I get on with, I will never have never worked with or gone into any sort of workplace, the the I, I have research in terms of the background look in terms of their history. And then I ended ended up sort of stepping into working with and with the guys that said hit wish they hadn’t hadn’t been open in terms of for very long, but the history and that the reputation in terms of people who I knew that joined in terms of for hate opening, I was like this, this is something that I want to be part of. And a big thing for me was around that was it’s up being part of a journey. And throughout the years, there’s a number of times, and I’ve learned so much and again, from some really talented people over the years and in about sometimes it’s the biggest learning curve is just making sure you know, you never know everything, it’s okay to ask for help. And learning from other people around different ways of doing different things. You know, my way is not the highway actually listening, getting collaborative feedback. And then over the years that that has then also then led me into from learning and development in the industry within brands and organisations to looking at it from a qualification point of view and looking at actually for meeting and sort of going into that from an educational point when I did my PGC part of that so your certificate for education, I did a literacy specialism because I was thinking I could you know, in the future maybe when I’m sort of in my mid 50s I might want to be an English teacher. And actually that that also helped me learn a load of different things as well and from a different spectrum. But I do quite like learning new things just randomly I’m a bit a bit when I want to say that weird I I’m definitely not a completer finisher type person. I like to pick something up and if if I like it, I’ll carry on doing it but I’m not afraid to try something

Phil Street 49:23

Oh we’re exactly the same.

Simon Lewis 49:25

Yes. So it’s one of those as I’ve recently started to learn to play golf. And it’s a couple of my friends that play it’s definitely fear of missing out because I’m like well wait wait they’re off in the sunshine and in my head on that right? Number one I get to get dressed up because they have a look at the outfits look cool. Number two, quite like the idea of you know sort of flat for for being out in a nice hot summer’s day relaxing, having having a wander around, you know, enjoying the fresh air. Turns out. Golf is a little bit harder than Thought No, it’s not just a case of just wipe the board and get on with it. There’s there’s actually skills and precision that go with it. But yeah, I’ve had, I’ve had a couple of lessons with that. And that’s quite, that’s quite nice.

Phil Street 50:12

It’s the greatest and worst game that exists. Because you can have played, I was brought up on an Island and the there wasn’t a lot to do there apart from water, sports and golf. So I picked golf at that time, and became quite good, but does not again like it that it can absolutely destroy your confidence for 98% of the time that you’re there. Like 2% is what you cling on to because maybe you just had the best shot that you’ve ever had in your life. And that’s what you remember, going into the next round. Do you remember that one time that

Simon Lewis 50:49

I actually I actually, I mean, for me is the one time I actually hit the ball. Yeah,

Phil Street 50:54

I still don’t know on on one particular shot, that I was grateful that I had two people with me at the time when when I played it, I chipped in from about about 90 yards. I’m sure that probably gets a bit longer every time I talk. But it’s it’s a real moment of joy because we all let off this this massive cheer which culminated in breaking the rules of the course because you’re you’re supposed to stay quiet while you’re on course. But nevertheless, the people who were on the teams around us at the time turn around and they started clapping and all of that sort of thing. And it was like wow, I’m it’s like I’m playing a major here.

Simon Lewis 51:34

Oh my Well, I did not realise that you were a future Tiger Woods in the main I’m certainly not tapped what by this. These water sports, then what what made you I mean, I’m looking out the window now. And it’s pouring down with rain, which now I’m really intrigued with. Why did you not do any of the water sports?

Phil Street 51:52

Oh no, I did. I just didn’t have a great affinity with it. Because basically, the water sports were centric around the sea. And we’re not talking about Caribbean waters here. We’re talking about the west coast of Scotland. Atlantic water, which carries a very different temperature tidy was the island that I grew up on. And it was a big windsurfing Island, and I just, it’s just a sport I could never connect with I just didn’t get on with it. I don’t think I had the upper body strength for one to really command the seal in the the gale force winds. And maybe a father persisted, and maybe they got there, but it was just like you said it was one of those things. Oh, yeah. shiny and new. I’m going to try it. Okay, I don’t immediately like it. I’m not going to do anymore.

Simon Lewis 52:37

Yeah, maybe we should both just stick to a jetski. Or even better just sit on the boat with a glass of bubbles. And then we’ll be like, we’ll be we’ll be okay.

Phil Street 52:47

That’s more like it, I’ll stick with that. I’ll stick with that one. Yeah,

Simon Lewis 52:53

I’d say something that I did the I did enjoy. And I did it did it last summer, which was an indoor rock climbing and bouldering. Right. And I had just just to get the chalk on your hands and you rub it and then you learn how to do there’s a proper name for the knots. Don’t worry, we’re not about to go back. Anytime slipped in and slipped out of it. But it was it was such good fun. But I remember so that’s on I did it for a few days. my upper body and my arms, which is absolutely killing. And I was like How can this be so hard and you follow the so you’ve got like your red path, your Green Path, your yellow path and all the other colours in the rainbow. And then they were like, the different colours represent how hard the courses so you start off on the easy one and that was that this will be fine. Only got select the second stage and I’m stuck here I’ve got no idea. I’ve got respect for when I watch Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible and he’s climbing up the climbing up a mountain without any operators. And he’s literally just sticking the fork into into the wall and, and doing it freestyle or anybody that does that you kind of state that it’s that again. It’s a tricky thing. And I think that’s the same with a lot of sports, isn’t it is that there’s this real good is that there’s things that you know, we we all we all like to play different things that we can but we’ve got to be honest with ourselves that we’re never going to play for England.

Phil Street 54:19

Yep, that’s absolutely fair. I can’t even how did we even get one of this? This sums me up completely. I’m so good at just drifting off into conversations that that I like the sound of it’s exactly the same principle. Oh, that sounds like a shiny new conversation. Let’s go there. And then five minutes later you go. Well, that’s a bit off topic, isn’t it? But nevertheless, it is what it is.

Simon Lewis 54:44

It’s like, Where, Where, where did we come we’re where we go from an income to but when you speak about it, yeah for drinking wine. The next time that we meet up we definitely need to try Have you ever tried the 19 crimes wine

Phil Street 54:59

Eh, I have it I have tried, I think they’ve got a Chardonnay, which is lovely. As I recall, if I’m thinking about the same, the same brand, but anyway, it feels like you have a story?

Simon Lewis 55:11

I do, yes. Did you know that when you so if you get on your phone, if you get that you can download the 19 crimes app. I don’t work for them. I just love this. And then and on the bottles, the the labels sort of like it looks, it’s got that sort of bird’s effect. But on the on each bottle, there’s a picture of a criminal, and some and somebody showed me this the other week. And basically, if you download the app for 19 crimes, and you hover over it’s like a QR code type thing. I promise you I wasn’t drunk when I did this. It is a true thing. But the person on the bottle starts talking to you.

Phil Street 55:47


Simon Lewis 55:47

Not Literally the bottle. Yeah, no, honestly. Don’t make me feel like like some drunken sloppy. The the person on the bottle, then they tell you their story about is sort of like is “back in 1903. I was sent to prison because of…” whatever it was, and they tell you all these stories. I can’t do deep croaky voice.

Phil Street 56:14

I was gonna say I’ve never heard you sound so manly.

Simon Lewis 56:17

Why thank you. I’ll excuse me. I’ll come back to normal. But yeah. And then might be the famiglia that will listen to this. No, go. No, no, no, that’s not a fine wine. It’s definitely It’s all right for a Wednesday.

Phil Street 56:33


Simon Lewis 56:33

And for the weekend

Phil Street 56:34

Time and a place.

Simon Lewis 56:36

A great conversational piece. Definitely. And again, I’m not entirely sure how I got into that one either.

Phil Street 56:41

Yah, well… wine, wine is hospitality. That’s fine. It’s close enough. So I get the sense that you’re still quite hands on in the the training side of things, you still lead classes and things like that.

Simon Lewis 56:57

Yes. Yeah. So we will, we’ll dip in in terms of different parts. I mean, to be honest, I spend most of my time now looking at working with our business partners on what we need to do in the background, but anything that needs needs to be delivered, then we then absolutely, then I’ll step in, when it whenever I’m invited, I’ve got to be honest, there’s a lot of people that work in our organisation, who are way better trainers than I am. And they are, you know, they’re absolutely fantastic. And I’m not embarrassed to say that because it’s part of working as a team. And, and it’s making sure we’ve got the right people doing the right jobs at the right time. And, and I you know, I absolutely love the fact of that I get to sit in on and to deliver still some workshops every now and then. And again, when it’s be fitting and appropriate in terms of anything that’s needed across the business. But more so in terms I can say, for talking to our business partners, and Rhys, I’m just looking at in terms of what are the local needs and making sure that we can have consistency in terms of firm across the organisation, while still making sure that we’re individuals to that person. And that’s pretty much the outline of it. And I mean, you know, and fingers crossed between you and I, and maybe the odd person that seven are listening back there. I think my job is quite easy to be fair is two angles, really, it’s you know, as long as I look after the people that I work with, and you know, we’ve got good communication and we work together, we deliver a fantastic product. Also then and then the other side in stream to to, to my job role is about is communicating effectively in terms of with our business partners, and working closely with those and meeting their needs. So unless actually my boss is listening at the moment, in which case the job is extremely difficult, extremely hard, extremely high pressures and I just have to pay right?

Phil Street 59:00

Yeah, of course. Of course.

Simon Lewis 59:03

If you’d like to make sure that bit is definitely in there. That’d be great.

Phil Street 59:07

No, Consider it done. No, I’m getting a sense of why I’ve had this feeling about you that you seem to know everyone and are everywhere. I remember a time Not long after you and I met for the first time which was around the springboard pantomime. I think I went to two networking events in a rule and literally five minutes into the conversation of whoever I was talking to I got a tap on the shoulder turn around and it’s you and I’m thinking God you do with the best will in the world. You You do get around.

Simon Lewis 59:42

But what I’m loving is if anyone skipped through the podcast and it just got to this point.

Phil Street 59:48


Simon Lewis 59:48

Who is this person that’s getting around the industry? Absolutely. And do you know what, I love people and I like being around people and the one of the biggest challenges for me with lockdown was it used to and you’ll notice is that I, you know, I see somebody you know, I meet with you, big hog, you know, how are you, I like being around people. I like learning about what what different people are doing and the networking events and the different the different sort of events that go on across the industry, love going to those types of things, because it’s, it’s not about selling anything, it’s about learning from other people listening to what other people have got to say, finding out what what other people are struggling with, helps items from a business point of view. And then a lot along the way. Yeah. So you know, you end up you meet me a variety people, and quite often people will come up to me, or most recently, over the last couple of months, where people will contact me online, and they’ll say, you know, we see what what you’re at what you’re doing, we see what you’re about, let’s have a conversation on how can how can we work together to to improve business, and it’s that whole thing about really again, about working in collaboration, working in partnership, and also that of just making sure that it’s it’s the the whole thing around that in not just in training, but across the sector. What I love is if you look at in terms of you’ve got 10 different hotels, is you know that they’re all and they’re all five star luxury hotels, each hotel is still trying is trying to bring bring people into the market, but they still share ideas still share concepts. And it’s exactly the same in terms of across the industry, it’s so important to listen and to learn in terms of what what other people are doing what’s actually going on out there. We’re quite lucky in terms of across across it, because as a market leader, we tend tend to lead the way and what I get great pleasure out of seeing competitors that then do or that then follow suit as we’re doing some of the things that we do, because it means that it’s the right thing to do in terms of across the industry. Yeah. And that that’s just great to see. So yeah, like I say, I absolutely love instance, let’s say for going out and about meeting meeting people, and just learning about on on every single day. And my motto is is that a good day is the day that you know, if you smile more than sort of three or four times is no You need to be able to smile every single day. And being around people does that for me. And I’m in a very good a very good place now. So I sort of struggled at the beginning for a safer with with COVID-19. As for everybody being on lockdown in a house on my own, I feel all this is difficult, but then looking at some different projects that I did in terms of reaching out with some charities and looking in terms of for helping other people is that actually that there’s a different way of getting that communication out there and actually and working with different people and actually and you know, you’re never on your own in it. If you just keep your your outlook on life just needs to be looking at things for positive but never being afraid to be honest about the fact that we all struggle with something and it’s to being honest and to be able to talk about it and the people people that I work with and work alongside I’ve I’ve always worked with people my you know that the people that become your friends, your friends become your family. And and that that’s why I’m lucky to have in terms of for within. I’ve had well I’ve had throughout my working career. They’re the people that I’ve worked with, and along the way the people that I’ve met outside of that, you know, people like you know, your great self and other people that we’ve met that from doing projects, so, like getting involved with the panto for springboard that was all about taking myself out of my comfort zone and just doing something that was just totally different, and a great buzz. But what I love about projects, giving up your time to do stuff like that is that there’s everything so just using that as the as an example, every single person every single year that we’ve done, that we’ve done, that’s the panto is that it doesn’t matter in terms of what what your job title is what position you are in everybody auditions beforehand, everybody’s nervous before they go on stage to do something. And and that’s what hospitality is about, about working collectively as a team. And I absolutely love that and not then also to mention the fact that you get to do stuff like that which is for a great cause, get to raise money for different charities. Now that case nosorh, a project that basically was to raise money for the wonderful guys and the work they do a springboard is just Yes, that real sense of the buzz of different things that you can do.

Phil Street 1:04:25

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more I that whole experience around the pantomime as is a life changing experience, but it is, it stems with the desire and will to do something good. And I think the there’s a there’s been a lot of that’s happened in the last last few months. You don’t have to look very hard to find it. It might not be reported in the mainstream press, but it’s definitely out there very easily across any other channel. But yeah, that pantomime is it’s just a great example of the good that can happen when when good people Get together to collaborate on something, and are willing to put themselves out there and, you know, to be shot at, basically.

Simon Lewis 1:05:08

Yeah, absolutely. And, and not be and part of that and and I think is is around is you know, we’re all vulnerable and actually just laying out on a slight note that this is me whether this is us and you know, and not not being afraid to push and sort of challenge ourselves that that works well, for everybody in terms of for business and you look, you know, across across the sector, as a lot of great mentors out there and lots and lots of brilliant people that are gaffer here for Julie’s some of the some of the ideas and the stuff that we’re that we’re allowed to say we want to say out loud, that we sort of tape tape tape to her and then she will get a camera yet we can do that. And and how is that going to all the time? Is that how’s that going to affect the industry? How can we make an impact on the industry? How can we make the industry better with what we do, and just looking at different things like that, and like I saying, you know, you go on, and you know, and I listen to some really inspiring people, there was just one thing the other week with john Dawson, for the management Oriental, and just listening to some of the things that he’d been doing with the team during lockdown and just, you know, just just some really inspirational ideas. And I think that, you know, as for me is, I will never, ever pretend to know everything. But I will always you know, I’ve always got a big set of lug holes. So I’ll sit there and I’ll listen to what’s going on in the background. And then quite a you know, and then also share those experiences with other people and share in terms of left foot for what you know, good ideas, do different concept, different ways to be able to, to build. And it’s and even now more more so than ever, about rebuilding the industry and re get getting the whole of the sector back onto its feet. That’s not just one part in one local area or one restaurant in one part of London. That’s that’s literally the whole of the industry working together to rebuild the the new foundations of what we look like for the future, which is really, really exciting. I mean, who you know, who knew that we’d be able to go to work wearing like a mask and some sort of annotator to think of the designs that we can have. And I’ve seen people which are wearing that, you know, the mask that you’ve got, which I think of it’s when someone sets up a chainsaw, and they put their headphones on. And that like a visor type masks, you’ve seen those, this, this, this, you know that this this all sorts of suffer for different things, you know, and you can, you can pimp it, you can definitely pimp your mask and, and pimp it all up. So it can be as classy as you want. But the key thing is, is that everybody’s safe, and everybody feel safe And…

Phil Street 1:07:44

Yeah. In the meantime, you can you can still have the odd day of working from home in your Bumblebee pyjamas.

Simon Lewis 1:07:51

(Laughs) You know, we’ve gone that far beyond this. Now I’ve actually forgotten I’d said that

Phil Street 1:08:00

I make notes while we’re, while we’re talking. So I can always…

Simon Lewis 1:08:03

I may regret that.

Phil Street 1:08:07

No, that’s cool. I’m very conscious of time. And I much really appreciate your giving us this time I’m going to wrap this up. No, how can people get in touch with us, they want to learn more about head training. And we’re not talking about high intensity interval training, like I’d made the mistake before. If they want to learn about you, or your company, what’s the best method for them to get in touch

Simon Lewis 1:08:31

through our usual social, she can get to hit training.co.uk. And all of the information is on there. So we’ve got our direct sort of contact lines, our Twitter is at HIIT training. And again, people you know, you can see in terms of what we’re doing in terms of through on social media through that and to be able to get in touch. And then anybody who who wants to get get in touch and say that’s the best platform to come through. And then and then either myself or we’ve got a whole team in terms of our relationship management team that will pick it up. So if for any reason if I’m if I’m drinking my 19 crimes and the bottles talking to me, don’t worry, someone with a scene head wolf will pick up the line to you and pass you on to the right person for up and down the country. And you can also get hold of us on our 800 number which is 0800 0935892. And we’ll make sure that you’re directed to the right person for any inquiries around sort of all the different programmes that we do across HIT training.

Phil Street 1:09:33


Simon Lewis 1:09:34

And I just want to say thank you ever so much. I’ve really enjoyed this afternoon really appreciate this mate, really nice.

Phil Street 1:09:40

Oh no you’re very kind I think that one of the things that the objectives when I set this up was to try and tell the stories of as wide a variety of roles as possible rules on humans Of course because I think you know, as it comes back to the the early part of our conversation was was around the perception outside of the industry is x y Z, which is so far removed from truth. And I think one of the major points of this industry for me is, is the variety of opportunity that’s available. And so that’s why I just wanted to tell the stories of as wide variety as possible. And training has a massive part to play in all of that. So I really appreciate you coming on the show for a chat.

Simon Lewis 1:10:23

You’re more than welcome and lovely to hear from you and I look forward to seeing you for a nice, cool beer or a glass of wine.

Phil Street 1:10:31

It’s got to be the 19 crimes we’ve got I need to do this app now.

Simon Lewis 1:10:36

We should be 19 crimes in 19 days now.

Phil Street 1:10:38

Yeah, I’m now, I’m gonna I’m gonna approach them though, for sponsorship money for this episode as well. So

Simon Lewis 1:10:46

Don’t blame you. Awww Phil it’s been a pleasure. Thanks ever so much buddy

Phil Street 1:10:49

You’re very welcome. Thank you. Take care, and we’ll speak soon.

Simon Lewis 1:10:52

See you mate Bye.

Phil Street 1:10:53

Bye. And there we have it. It’s clear that Simon is doing what he was born to do, imparting all that energy onto others through training and development. Nice work, Simon. Don’t forget, we launch a brand new episode each week. So hit that subscribe button and give us a like and share where you can. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.