Tracey Whibberley worked at the British Beer Company for nearly four years. It was her first job when she moved to America. While she enjoyed her time in the USA, Tracey has returned to her native England to establish her own pub, The Wheatsheaf Inn. It’s in a small village called No Mans Heath, about 15 miles from Chester City centre.
What makes your pub special?
It is the only pub in the village, it’s very much a lager and cider pub so I only carry 2 real ales. Shropshire Gold is on constantly and I rotate the second with requests; Black Sheep is popular and I use a local brewery who creates his own beers that I get to try before others. Our food is all homemade (lasagne, curries, pizza, fish pie, pasta dishes, beer batter for fish, and burgers). Plus the usual steaks, bangers and mash, salmon, gammon, scampi. We always have something going on, karaoke once a month, quiz night, BBQs, race nights. I do quite a bit for charities. And we are very dog friendly. But for me, what makes us stand out is the staff and service. I am very lucky to have a top team who want the pub to be successful.
What were the challenges of opening this pub?
Well, LOL, a bit more troublesome than it should have been. It had been empty for seven weeks prior to the last tenants leaving, I had 10 days to open from moving in. But they had taken everything, glasses, optics, beer mats, plates and utensils from kitchen, gas from the cellar, unplugged the whole cellar, it was a very vengeful leave. So it was a busy time getting the tables and bar varnished, walls painted and stocking the whole bar and kitchen and cellar. Hiring a whole new team and organizing the opening day which was a Hog roast fun day. Other than that it was a doddle (that means easy, haha) I’m all ready to get a second pub now!
Who are your locals?
Being in a village your locals are your regulars, I mean daily regulars, LOL! They are a great mix of middle aged big drinkers (never to be barred) to the youngsters who are a pretty good bunch, once they get my evil look (LOL!), to families. We are dog friendly, which brings in a new crowd, we are on the Sandstone Trail walk, so we get walker groups and cyclists. We have pool teams — darts teams and dominoes teams — so all in all a right mixture of goodness.
What was your job title and fondest memories at the BBC?
I started as a trainee manager at Framingham, then moved to assistant general manager at Franklin, to then try a new position as training manager for the company (best job ever). I then was part of the team that opened the Worcester pub and I stayed there until I left to come back to England. Fondest memories…. Way too many, my actual interview with Shane and Craig and being made to feel so welcome. The structure in the company helping me transition to the American way. (it was like starting all over again) The staff were friendly, inviting and so willing to help me. The respect I got right from the start as a manager. The freebie events to the Red Sox ,etc., with a chosen few, always had so much fun, seeing everyone out of work and socializing. But my proper favourite was doing the radio adverts for the company at the station. Never thought that was something I would ever do.
What do you like most about your job?
There is not one thing, it’s a combination of everything. Being in control, the risk of it not being a success and pushing myself harder, watching the team and the guests enjoying themselves, creating new ideas to keep it interesting, the fun and laughter, having to keep the troublemakers at bay, not running out of everything by having great relationships with your reps. Every day is a new experience, every day brings new stresses to conquer, every day I go to bed and reflect with a smile on my face. It’s a way of life, not a job!