An interview with Holiday Inn Birmingham's M6 J7's brand new Business Excellence Manager, Harry Matthews.

Kew & A with Harry Matthews

1. Tell us about yourself outside of work

These days, most of my time is spent at work. With current restrictions (and the pubs being closed!) there’s not much else I can do apart from getting creative in the kitchen, and letting my inner James Martin out! During normal times, you wouldn’t believe it to look at me, but I’m a keen tennis player. I’m also a massive West Bromwich Albion fan which is especially great as they stay and eat at our hotel a lot so I get to meet all the players – big perk! I also love travelling to new places and exploring their history and culture.


2. What, where and when was your first job in hospitality?

My first job in hospitality was a weekend job when I was 14, washing up for a large outdoor catering company. As I grew older, I then moved into working on bars, waiting on tables and then into the kitchen in an outdoor catering company. This meant I had the experience of working all around the country, doing different jobs every week. This was what first gave me the hospitality bug.


3. What has been your path with Kew Green Hotels to get to where you are now?

I started at Kew Green Hotels at Holiday Inn M6J7 in January 2019 as the Head Chef. We then underwent a refurbishment to open lobby and greatly increased our function capacity. New Year’s Eve 2019 we had over 900 guests. I had to train and develop the kitchen team to deal with our increased capacity and what we were offering which may have been a challenge but it really helped to develop my own managerial experience and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it! Then, this year, through different circumstances, I had the opportunity to become the Business Excellence manager here at M6J7.


4. What do you think Kew Green has offered you and your career that you perhaps wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do elsewhere?

They have given me the opportunity to learn new skills and develop by working in different & new environments – not to mention the in-house training that has supported me along the way. This has all given me the opportunity and skills to work in my current position as the B.E.M.


5. What did you learn about yourself as a leader in 2020?

It’s taught me to focus on what I want to achieve, and to put the hard work in then let the results follow.

I’ve had to learn to sometimes take a step back and evaluate the bigger picture and the situations in front of me. This has lead to sometimes having to become more flexible to meet different needs, and other times having to stand firm on what has to be done.


6. Why did you choose to work at KGH?

To be completely honest, I had applied for a job here around ten years previous and I didn’t even get an interview. After that, I always made a point of looking to see what jobs were advertised so when I saw the Head Chef job advertised I applied straight away – as I felt I had a point to prove to myself. Then, doing my interview prep, I read all about Kew Green and became really impressed with the opportunities and systems in place. From the moment I walked in for my interview and saw the plans for the hotel, I haven’t wanted to work anywhere else.


To find out more about career opportunities at Kew Green Hotels, follow us on Instagram @LifeatKGH or email Charley, Talent Resourcing, on talent.resourcing@kewgreen.co.uk.