Matt is the owner of Kazbar, a cocktail and tapas bar in Yeovil. He has recently started as the Enterprise Adviser for Fairmead school.
I enjoy my job because every day is different and when everything’s going well you get to create a good atmosphere and see customers enjoy themselves; we’re helping them to relax after a hard week.
Some of the most important skills you need to work in hospitality are being a people person and having the ability to think on your feet. If a customer needs help with something you have to be able to problem solve and respond immediately.
Communication is so important too. If you have good communication, are able to have a friendly chat and become part of a team, you will stand out. Don’t be scared to let your personality show!
The best way into the industry is to get your foot in the door and work your way up. There is no harm in starting by doing the washing up. If you show passion and are conscientious you can very quickly pick up responsibilities.
When I was 16, I started as a waiter, I worked hard and by the time I was 18 I was managing a restaurant bar. After this I worked in a range of places, including a restaurant bar in the Caribbean.
I have had lots of business ideas over the years; when I was 26, I felt like I had the right idea and the right location. I knew the area and people and the other restaurant owners in Yeovil encouraged me to start my business.
You have to be passionate in order to run your own restaurant – it’s a labour of love! Being an entrepreneur is quite stressful; when you’ve got your own business it’s hard to switch off. The flip side is that when it’s a success you feel proud of it. There is more risk than working for someone else but the rewards are bigger.
I wanted to work with schools because it was important to me to give something back to the community. I initially got involved running a workshop with the students, making non-alcoholic cocktails. The school approached me about the Enterprise Adviser role and I was happy to help, it’s a new journey for me.
I have found the young people surprisingly interested and keen to listen. They are a great audience – open-minded and they ask good questions.
My advice to students would be: get your foot in the door, work hard, show your passion and the rest will follow!