Recognition of Excellence: The FHN HotSeat Amber Moullali

Name; Amber Moullali

Job Title; Events and Sales Manager

Company; The Whitehall Restaurant & Bar

Hey Amber, thanks for being one of our Leeds Hot-Seats!

Please tell us a little bit about your career journey – what led you into the hospitality/events industry?

I’ve always grown up around restaurants, from the age of 5 I was setting tables in my Mum and Dad's restaurant and during secondary school I’d work part time in my cousins restaurant. When I moved to Leeds I took on the role as receptionist at The Restaurant Bar & Grill and quickly progressed to Events and Sales manager for The Restaurant Bar & Grill Harrogate, I then did my first restaurant opening with Gino D'acampo's in Harrogate.

In 2017 I decided to take some time out and spent my winter skiing in Austria. Upon my return, I took on the role as Events and Sales manager at Gusto where I grew a strong network in the Leeds area. I was coming into my 1st year with Gusto when I got a call from my sister and brother in law explaining they’d bought a restaurant! It was an obvious decision for me to work alongside them for the opening of The Whitehall Restaurant & Bar.

You’re now at Whitehall Restaurant & Bar please tell us about your role, the company and the journey so far?

Although we have only been open for 3 months, this has to be my biggest hospitality journey so far. In my previous roles, I was working with well established brands which were a part of big companies with huge marketing teams and budgets. My role at The Whitehall has taken on new depths which I’d never previously experienced. We started building the business from scratch, so not only have I been working on the sales and events side of the business I have also been heavily focused on creating a brand and starting a business from scratch. It’s been challenging but also really exciting and rewarding watching it grow.

What’s your favourite thing about the role that you do?

I love that everyday is different and I have the opportunity to constantly meet new people and grow relationships.

What would you say motivates you everyday?

Feedback and return custom. Seeing the same faces in the restaurant is the biggest compliment.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

I really enjoyed our team training leading up to the opening of The Whitehall. Our restaurant decor was complete and the place was filled with people being passionate about what we’d built!

Throughout your career have you drawn inspiration from anyone in particular? (male or female)

My family has been my inspiration, I have grown up around aunties, uncles and cousins with very successful restaurants.

Are there any emerging trends with the industry (events or hospitality) you think we’ll see more off over the next few years?

Increased emphasis on health and well-being. People are more conscious of what they’re eating and where it comes from.

What do you find most challenging about working in the hospitality industry?

The change in food and drink trends. It’s so important to introduce new trends without losing the consistency of your brand.

What advice would you give to young women who are looking to get into the industry?

It’s no secret that this industry involves lots of hard graft, and long, unsociable hours. You have to be committed and passionate, only then will you find it totally rewarding.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner, (alive or that have passed), who would they be and why would you invite them?

Jack White - He’s my favourite artist! Every piece of music he touches is a success! I met him last year in Lisbon and he was such an interesting, mysterious character, there’s so much more I’d like to hear from him.

Dolly Alderton - I love her podcast ‘The High Low’ and I recently read her first book ‘Everything I know about Love’. She’s funny, smart, single and not scared to date. We’d definitely have some cringey dating stories to share.

Kris Jenner - She’s created a family of millionaires & billionaires so I’d be desperate to get some tips!

Ricky Gervais - For his dark humour- he’s so sarcastic, his one liners would be hilarious.

Lauren Muca - I couldn’t have a dinner party with all these people and not have my sister there!


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