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Mhairi HITs a winner at Wimbledon

  • 17/07/2013

Mhairi HITs a winner at Wimbledon Not a lot of people know this…but Andy Murray wasn’t the only Scot who won at Wimbledon this year.

We have just caught up with the other lucky Scot, Mhairi Mutch, who has recently returned from SWI9, where, thanks to a HIT scholarship, she was working with Facilities Management Catering (FMC), the official caterer of Europe's largest and most prestigious sporting event.

Every June,FMC which is owned by Compass, employ and train the 2000 staff who operate all of the catering outlets throughout The Championships. Mhairi, who last week graduated from Robert Gordon University with a degree in International Hospitality Management, was involved in the training exercise.

Mhairi herself picks up the story: “The training takes place over the weekend preceding the start of the Tournament. 90% of the staff are “returners” who have worked at Wimbledon previously but there will also be some recruits who have never even worked in hospitality before, so there is a huge range of training requirements.

2000 people are registered and trained over the weekend and the logistical exercise is enormous. I arrived very early on the Saturday morning and my initial job was to help staff register and ensure that they were in the correct queues to get all of the required paperwork completed. On the Saturday alone we registered 1000 people in two hours.

Staff are separated into their units for the training process which involves an intensive I hour session on Saturday afternoon and a longer session on the Sunday.

I helped with some practical training and found that my 3rd year placement with Gleneagles stood me in good stead as I was able to pass on some of the serving skills I gained while working in the Strathearn fine dining restaurant.

What I found most impressive was the pre-planning which went into this exercise. It could have been chaotic but instead it went pretty much like clockwork and central to it all was the customer experience that staff were expected to deliver.

Mhairi has worked in hotels since she was 15 and decided to make hospitality her career. She had heard of HIT during her year at Gleneagles but decided to apply for a scholarship in her final year, after attending the HIT Grampian dinner and seeing how the industry was working together to address the skills shortfall.

“I am particularly interested in event hospitality and so when I heard I was going to Wimbledon, I couldn’t be more thrilled and it has reinforced my interest in working on events. I would love to be involved in the Ryder Cup or Commonwealth Games next year.”

“The whole experience gave me a terrific insight into what is involved in an event of this scale and I would definitely recommend others studying hospitality to apply for a HIT scholarship. I would never have had this chance without HIT."

So, how much food and drink is consumed during Wimbeldon fortnight?

 300,000 cups of tea and coffee

 250,000 bottles of water

 190,000 sandwiches

 150,000 bath buns, scones, pasties and doughnuts

 150,000 glasses of Pimm's

 135,000 ice creams

 130,000 lunches are served

 100,000 pints of draught beer and lager

 30,000 meals for FMC's own staff.

 30,000 portions of fish and chips

 30,000 litres of milk

 28,000 kilos of English strawberries

 23,000 bananas

 22,000 slices of pizza

 17,000 bottles of champagne

 7,000 litres of dairy cream Wimbledon is synonymous with strawberries.

The price of the traditional strawberries and cream has changed little over the last ten years, with a portion (minimum of 10 strawberries) fluctuating between £2.00 and £2.50. To ensure the utmost freshness, the Grade 1 strawberries from LEAF-registered farms in Kent, are picked the day before and arrive at Wimbledon at 5.30a.m prior to being inspected and hulled.

 Last year, FMC served 23 tonnes of strawberries, which amounts to over 2 million individual berries

 When laid end-to-end, these berries would stretch almost 60km (37 miles), i.e. from Wimbledon to Reading

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