A Day in the Life . . . Sean McLaughlin, proprietor, The Fullerton Arms
This month, HRNI speaks to Sean McLaughlin, proprietor, The Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy.
Sean McLaughlin, proprietor, The Fullerton Arms
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am self employed. Along with my wife, we run two businesses, a restaurant in Portstewart Kargo56 and also The Fullerton Arms & Guest Inn Ballintoy. I took the plunge in May. Having your own business is great; it’s hard work but a different kind of hard work.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I have always been involved in the hospitality industry, as have many of my family. My uncle Seamus owned the Londonderry Hotel in Portrush, and I could have been seen there in my childhood, watching Winnie in the kitchen. Later, I would have been found in Portstewart where my uncle Paul owned the Anchor Bar. After I left school, I attended the Northern Ireland Hotel & Catering College in Portrush; the rest, as they say, is history.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST
PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
Best part has to be having a positive impact on people through what you do; I love to see people happy. Worst part: there isn’t one, I love what I do.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
Currently I would say the shortage in young people looking to attend college and get skilled to join the industry. We are facing a shortage of skilled people to work in the kitchen side of the business, and I know I am not alone. We see increasing numbers on a yearly basis but with that success, there always seems to be a way that the leaders of the country can penalise you for your success.
OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
Wake at 6.30am to my daughters generally dressed up as a princess or something demanding I wake up. We have breakfast (always), then it’s off to the Fullerton. You will either find me cooking a breakfast or out front having a chat with the guests. Either way, I am happy. I see through service in a very busy lunch, tidy up a few emails etc, then it’s off to Portstewart for the evening service in Kargo. I try to finish off close to 9pm when I can so that I can put the kids to bed.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR
CAREER TO DATE
Being awarded the Janus award for General Manager of the Year Small Business.
BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
It has to be the people, we have some great characters in our industry, but also it is being part of something that is always evolving. I have seen some real progress over the past decade.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
I have recently taken up cycling which is great, but I love nothing more that to be under water scuba diving; great way to chill out.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE
I was quite a hand on the hurling pitch but also hold an Ulster champion medal for Irish dancing!
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