How I Got Here: Susanne Traudt

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with South Place Hotel general manager Susanne Traudt D&D London

Related tags: D&d london, Hotel, Restaurant

D&D London stalwart Susanne Traudt was previously operations manager at The Royal Exchange, before moving on to oversee operations at the group's South Place Hotel.

Why hospitality?
When I finished school, I had no idea what I wanted to study, so I went to work on a Kibbutz in Israel. My job was looking after the guest house, so I worked in the kitchen and dining room and I loved to make people feel happy and at home, and it inspired me to study hospitality.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
It is hard work until you get to the top… and the hard work doesn’t stop there!

What do you do in your spare time?
I love going to the gym and to the playground with my little daughter Emma, who is two and a half. We also go out for family brunches and Sunday lunch: Emma is already a fan of good restaurants.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Casse-Croûte and Pique-Nique are two little French bistros near my home in Bermondsey; the food is brilliant, and the menus change frequently.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in hospitality?
It’s a good question. I have never thought about it, but I would probably do coaching for females and fight for equal rights. I don’t think we are there yet in hospitality…

What motivates you?
My team, as they are such lovely people to work with. I’m also motivated by the desire to make South Place Hotel better and better every day.

Where was your last holiday?
I just got married so my husband and I went to Dubai for five nights, which was wonderful. It has a great choice of very good restaurants and hotels, so it makes the perfect winter escape. We stayed at the Four Seasons, which was absolutely fantastic.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the hospitality business?
Thomas Kochs and Mark Tucker, I worked with both of them when I worked at The Connaught and they both taught me a lot about hospitality.

What keeps you up at night?
These days it’s recruitment. It is getting more and more difficult to find people who share the same vision for your business and are passionate about hospitality.

Worst business decision?
I once changed an amenity product because we’d had it in the hotel for a couple of years, so I believed my guests were tired of it and it was time for a change. I was proven wrong as the majority wanted the old product back. I listened to my guests and brought it back. Don’t change something that works just for the sake of change.

Best business decision?
To keep price levels the same after gaining a Michelin star at Angler, our restaurant at South Place Hotel. It proved to be a good decision as business levels went through the roof and the restaurant gained a great reputation and consistently performs well.

What are you reading at the moment?
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Work hard; never give up; and learn from the best.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
The influence and power of social media these days. I think it is an amazing platform to help small businesses gain visibility and has definitely helped our outlets grow. However, some guests can use it to their advantage which can in turn affect businesses negatively, so I think platforms should look into ways of protecting businesses.

Employment history:

• September 2016-Present – General Manager, South Place Hotel

• October 2014-September 2016 – Hotel Manager, South Place Hotel

• May 2012-September 2014 – Director of Food & Beverage, South Place Hotel

• May 2010-May 2012 – Operations Manager at The Royal Exchange

• May 2008-May 2010 – Restaurant Manager at The Connaught

• December 2007-May 2008 – Food & Beverage Executive at The Connaught

Related topics: People

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