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Tony Welch

Head of Purchasing

Employer: Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel

Total number of years spent within Hospitality?
27 years

What do you most enjoy about this industry?
It has got to be the people, as we are all in the same boat, vastly underpaid but we do what we do because we enjoy it. When you have a good team around you, it is good fun. Working with teams including chefs, kitchen porters and finance directors.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up 5.30am, and arrive into work between 7 and 8am. As I am approaching work, I put on my fireman’s outfit, as the first thing I need to do when I arrive is put out any fires. Next, I put my goods receiver jacket on, because I like to go and look at what goods are due to be delivered, and check that the orders are delivered accurately. This could be food, linen or any goods required for the day ahead. I might then put on a diplomat’s jacket, as there could be something to resolve between departments. Last but not least, I would put on a businessman’s suit for meetings. I regularly check in with the goods receiver, chefs, housekeeping (which is the biggest and most important department) and have management meetings. Purchasing within my environment is finding out what my immediate end users need, and how I can help deliver that through managing the supplier base and supply chain. My day will usually finish in the late evening. 

Tell us something we might not know about Purchasing?
You cannot, and should not buy on the basis of price alone, a lot of people think that purchasing is easy, often because they have been to Morocco and did a bit of haggling. There are many other key considerations when buying goods and services, where if disregarded could be detrimental to the operation.

What has been the single most important piece of advice given to you?
Prior to me even working within hospitality, my older brother Ronald told me “Make contacts, and gather favours”.

Three dinner guests of your choice?
Oprah Winfrey, Miles Davis, My dad.

Last documentary watched and book read?
The last documentary I watched was by Robbie Lyle, called 'Football Fans Under the Skin', which is about the football fan experience in the 70's up until today, and how traumatic and dangerous it was for people of colour.
The last audio book that I listened to was by James Baldwin and Margaret Mead called 'A Rap on Race'.

Finish the sentence, the future in hospitality is……..?
Bright, but is going to change dramatically.