At home in the hotel industry and loving it

Tamarin Frenchman made her rounds in the city centre as a waitress.

Waitress Tamarin Frenchman has worked her way up in the city’s hotel industry, and said she would not want to do anything else at this point in her life.

“There are hotels popping up all over the city, and as long as this is a growing industry, there will always be a space for us as waitrons to grow.”

Tamarin, who is from Eastridge, in Mitchell’s, Plain, left school in Grade 10.

She said she felt that school wasn’t for her, and wanted to explore opportunities beyond the curriculum.

As a young adult, she helped her mom look after her elderly grandfather, who died a few months later. While it was hard to find work because she dropped out of school, she eventually started out as a cleaner at the Kimberley Hotel in Roeland Street.

“My mother started working at the Kimberley Hotel as a chef, and she got me a job as a cleaner. After a week, they had asked me to help serve food from the kitchen for a week, and I also helped with housekeeping. I ended up as a waitron, because the management recognised my customer etiquette.”

She said since then she has developed a love for working with people.

“I was good at being a waitress. I connected with the guests, and I made lots of tips.

“I started becoming better at my job, and after a year, I had moved to the bar for some experience there too.”

She said after two years, she left the Kimberley Hotel because she wanted to explore her skills. “I started at Characters just down the road from the Kimberley Hotel.

“They were just opening at the time and I went for an interview and got the job. There I was an all-rounder. I helped at the bar and served food.”

She said while she was there, a regular visitor to the restaurant noticed her potential and asked her if she would like to apply at the Artscape Theatre.

“Characters eventually closed down and I took the opportunity to get a job at the Artscape.”

Tamarin gained a lot of experience and met many people while working at the theatre. “The Artscape is well-established, and business was good. I made lots of tips and made many friends. I got to meet members of the theatre, local actresses and singers. And the team was very supportive. I think it’s important to have a team which works well together.”

After three years at the Artscape, Tamarin felt she was equipped to explore another avenue, and left the restaurant industry behind to work at Rush Trampoline Park in Claremont. “I stayed a few months, then they retrenched half the staff and I was one of the unlucky ones.”

But this was a blessing in disguise for Tamarin, because her heart was still in the hotel industry, and she missed working as a waitress, and assisting guests. “I then decided to go back to work at a hotel in the city. I have been ‘home’ for 10 months now, and loving it.”

She said the best thing about her work is the interaction with the customers.

“I meet new people every day, and regulars come in season. The city centre is the heart of tourism in Cape Town. This is where I need to be to grow.

“I feel like I have an impact on the guests at the hotel. I am patient with people who do not speak English, and I go the extra mile for my guests and clients.”

She said working as a waitress in the hotel industry requires her to do shift work, but even so, she has never had a bad experience while working in the city.

“I think it is a safe place. Over the years, I have never been harassed or robbed, because I often have to walk to my workplace from the public transport interchange.

“The safety has improved now due to the establishment of the improvement district. People just have to be vigilant for dangerous people hanging out with the homeless.”

Asked where she sees herself in five years, Tamarin said: “Still working in the hotel industry. Even if I am still a waitron, there is room to learn new skills and grow in the workspace.