A day in the life of… Karen Betts

 

Karen BettsReaseheath student Karen Betts chatted to staff at Reaseheath Food Centre and gave us an insight into a ‘typical day’ as Retail Technical Manager for Greggs PLC.

Here’s what she had to say:

 To give you a little background, as the a Retail Technical Manager for Greggs PLC, I currently manage four Food Safety Managers, with the primary purpose of my role being to coordinate the Food Safety Team and systems management within over 800 shops. I look after the North & Pennine Regions covering all of Scotland, Cumbria, the North East down to the Hull and North West including North Wales. As well as our own delicious cakes, we also make sandwiches fresh in store every day –  over 30 million across Greggs stores per year! We also provide freshly baked savouries, as well as preparing other hot snacks and drinks.

Now on to the day…

7:00am – Mobile phone alarm wakes me, I automatically grab my phone from under my pillow and press the off button. I contemplate going back to sleep.

7.30am – Kids all ready to go, packed lunches, P.E. kits, diary signed, kiss on the cheek, out of the door they go. Quick piece of toast with chocolate spread.   Hot shower and teeth, fresh start to the day. Glad I ironed my suit the previous day.

7:45am – Check emails at home to see what has come in overnight, customer complaint, power cut, break in, never a dull moment! After checking in and seeing that there’s nothing crazy going on, I then leave to visit a new shop opening, checking the shop has a calibrated probe, essential food safety and hygiene log books, the correct contract and documentation for pest control, that the shop has been registered to the local authority as a food business and standard procedures are being operated to the standard required.

9.00am – Arrive at the bakery to go through my emails and catch up on daily correspondence – understanding what people need and getting back to them with a resolution for their issues. I spend about an hour scanning e-mails asking and providing deliverables.

10.00am – I contact the four Food Safety Managers by telephone to check what they are doing, asking questions regarding budgets, customer complaints and environmental visits.  Communication with the team is an essential element of a Technical Manager’s role. The team needs to feel they are being looked after.

11.30am –The phone calls are continuous through the day and the questions keep arriving…

The Environmental Health Officer from the local council has been into my shop; what do I do with the report?

The electricity has gone off in my shop; should I close?

Can I bring my own hand cream into the shop as my hands are starting to hurt?

I have sent a member of staff home as they have reported sickness, when can they come back?

Where do we get blue plasters from?

12.15pm – Time for lunch, we are encouraged not to eat at our desks so it’s off to the staff canteen.  I try to sit on my own and read a good book, whilst I eat. Slightly unsociable.

12:45pm – All shops need to have all products microbiologically tested, this is a bit of the job I really enjoy.  Bacteria will naturally be present in foods. Looking for different types of bacteria and then assessing the levels is a process used to ensure that hygiene standards and quality criteria are being met.  The presence of specific types of bacteria can indicate differences in handling and storage conditions in an establishment, so a little bit of detective work is sometimes needed.

1.30pm – I am now putting together a power point ready for a presentation for the Senior Team for one of my Regions, explaining the recent changes in roles and what level of service my team can now provide.

2:30pm – Phone conference to discuss Greggs & charity donations.

3.30pm – Phone call from an Environmental Health Officer asking about details regarding the contact time for our sanitiser on a prep bench surface.  Discussed our procedures and explained how these link to our HACCP system.  The EHO is more than happy with the explanation.

4:00pm – Check through all KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for my shops, review the figures and compare with previous years.  Actually quite like figures and graphs!

5.30pm – I leave the office, look at my phone which says the word “bread”, which is my prompt to bring some bread home, hubby is not one for texting!

6pm – It’s been a long but successful day – plus tomorrow, I have a busy schedule packed with interviews, meetings, presentations and maybe some time to study for my advanced HACCP qualification. Love my job!

Karen Betts

Karen completed her Certificate in Higher Education Food Industry with Management at Reaseheath and we look forward to welcoming her back to the food department in when she will begin her FdSc  in Food Manufacturing with Business Management.

Karen Betts

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