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Meet Manorview Hotels Managing Director

Most people who work in hospitality have an interesting career story to tell – and our Managing Director David Tracey’s is a particularly interesting one! Not many people start working at 15, start their own bar business at 19, sell it then work their way up to MD of a hospitality group – but in a (very small) nutshell, that’s David’s story!

Every Saturday at age 15, the young DT (as he’s become known to us) got on a bus to go and work in a cafe in Shettleston. He was serving dishes, cleaning, helping in the kitchen – just about every cafe task you could think of. It was his first taste of the industry David has come to know and love.

Soon after, he started as a Kitchen Porter (KP) in a Glasgow city centre restaurant. It’s a job David described as ‘bedlam’ due to it being insanely busy! But nonetheless, one he loved. Still at school, he also worked shifts in front of house, but wasn’t yet able to experience the bar since he was still only 16.

The experience he gained here though was an essential part of David’s career though, as it gave him a taste for the pace and excitement hospitality can offer!

In fact, when David secured a place at university to study Engineering, he realised even more that hospitality was where he wanted to be. After 6 months of studying, he went to his course advisor’s office and told him he was leaving. It’s something David remembers well, as sadly this news was not met with enthusiasm or support. However, this attitude just drove David further – fuelling his determination to make a great career in hospitality.

“I love going against the grain, and challenging myself.” said David, talking about this key point in his journey. And that, he certainly did! Because after leaving the course, he continued to work hard in restaurants and bars, before meeting someone who had aspirations to open their own business – which led to the start of a new chapter.

At age 19, David and his new business partner started looking for properties. Teen David went round the banks seeking financial support, and asked his Dad to be a shareholder. After experiencing many knockbacks and problems, David and his partner opened their own place on Glasgow’s Queen Street in 1999, when David was 21. Some of you may remember it – Strata!

In David’s words they “made every mistake under the sun” from the minute they got the property and beyond. So it was definitely a steep learning curve. Owning your own place also means you wear many hats – so David did everything – manager, bar, restaurant, cleaning, the lot. He would even often run across the road to RS McColl to buy customers a chocolate bar if they fancied a wee thing with a tea or coffee. Now that’s hospitality!

Despite the challenges, Strata was a big success. Though after 9 years, David decided to sell the business and take his next career step. “I call my 20s my apprenticeship” said David, “it was a proper period of growing up, the dynamic of Glasgow was always changing and Strata had to change with it.”

After selling up, David knew for his next challenge he wanted to work as part of a group that had multiple venues. So he created a CV and job profile and sent it round all of the businesses he’d become aware of in his 15+ years in hospitality.

He met with many teams and business owners, before deciding to join a group who owned a large portfolio of venues across Scotland – G1. Yet another learning curve, he led operational teams and opened many new venues throughout Scotland. After this, David moved on to well known drinks brand BrewDog – helping the team launch and manage their portfolio of bars.

Along the way he had met our Founder, Steve Graham. The two shared not only a passion for the hospitality sector, but had a similar vision for what a group like Manorview could really be. Soon after, David was appointed Operations Director before taking on his current role of Managing Director.

If you ever needed evidence that determination, grit and hard work can bring you a rewarding hospitality career, David’s story is it! But what’s his advice to others? “Set yourself a target, decide what you want to do, and go for it! The great thing about hospitality is that it’s easier to get experience in every role to build up your knowledge and experience.” And why has our MD stuck with the hospitality industry since 15? “Because the buzz you get is incredible!” he said when we asked. “You get a reward every single day in hospitality, even on the hard and tough days, because you get so much brilliant human interaction!”

Well there you have it! If you’d like to be part of Manorview, check out our careers page for the latest job opportunities.