Job Title
Branch ManagerName: Duncan Edwards

Company: Waitrose

Professional Qualification(s):
10 GCSE’s 3 A levels (maths, physics, geography) BSc (Hons) Geography

Degree studied at
University of BristolBrief job description
As a branch manager, I am responsible for all aspects of the branch operations, from recruitment and personnel to sales and profitability.

My career so far…
I joined Waitrose as a graduate trainee in 1996 and worked in five branches over an eighteen month period before being appointed as department manager for fresh foods at Waitrose, Fleet. After ten months I moved both branch and department to run the dry goods department in Petersfield. In 2000 I was given the opportunity to run a branch as acting branch manager and was subsequently appointed as branch manager in 2001.

What does your job involve in a typical day?
Is there such a thing as a typical day? Every day has common themes, though no two days are ever the same.
However I usually arrive at work early, around 7.15am ans, after greeting others who are in that early, I sort through the morning post and plan my day according to what I see as the priorities.

The shop opens at 8.30am ans the first half hour is usually spent inspecting the presentation standards, freshness of produce and shop cleanliness as well as talking to the staff who are in. At 9am I hold a daily morning meeting for the managers, where branch information is given out and priorities agreed for the day ahead.

After this my day could go in any number of directions and could involve completing or overseeing legal checks, carrying out annual reviews of performance on staff, chairing branch meetings or dealing with visitor such as the operations manager or an enforcement officer (eg Environmental Health or Trading Standards). Additionally, on a monthly basis, I attend branch managers’ meetings chaired by the operations manager. I may also be asked to talk to local schools or societies such as the Rotary Club.

When in the branch the shopfloor is an obvious priority and much of my day is spent there interacting with customers and staff and addressing shortfalls for the benefit of all who shop and work there.

The variety and pace of the job means no two days can ever be the same and this for me, keeps it interesting and challenging.

What do you like most about your job?
Food retail is a dynamic and changing environment in which to work. It is results focused but people oriented and the challenge is in balancing these two aspects. The ‘buzz’ for me is in achieving the results through encouraging and developing others

What skills are required in your job?
The pace and complexity of the job requires a multi-faceted approach in order to survive. Individuals need to be able to understand and analyse information, solve problems and make good quality decisions. Much of the job is repetitive and routine so good planning and priorities skills are required. But above all you need to be able to communicate clearly and convincingly to others and to show a real desire to win throughout.

How many people work for you?
In total there are 99 staff, though I do manage them through a department manager and five section managers, each of whom has an assistant section manager.

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?
Try and get a genuine perspective of what it is like from people who work in the industry. If possible, get some work experience or spend a day in a branch ‘shadowing’ a manager.
When you have enough information about what is involved, ask yourself why it appeals to you and why you might want to follow that sort of career path.