The identities of Clubs within the ALC are diverse, although they principally offer hospitality. Each Club represents individual member interests such as automobiles, military organisations, art, literature, politics and many more, but they are brought together by their shared values and interest in building communities, in the preservation of historic buildings and heritage, and in the care and career development of their staff.
Karim has worked at the club since 2003 and is one of the first faces members and their guests see as they enter. I like it that the staff of the club are so helpful with members and guests, and reciprocal members,” he adds. “We have a very good reputation. People who come here often tell me they have recommended the club to their friends. People love the atmosphere… we build up relationships with them. It is more like a family”.
Agron started at the East India Club in mid-2000 as a student chef and has risen to Junior Sous Chef. Over the years the club has sponsored college attendance to complete NVQ’s in cookery and English language. Agron says ‘he is immensely grateful to the club for the opportunities it has given him’. What’s most important to him are the friends he has made at the club. “When you start work, you make friends,” he says.
Teo began working at the club in housekeeping and soon moved into the maintenance team in 2002. His day begins at 6.30am where he completes a check of the building, checking all the lights in the club before reporting to reception to see if there have been any problems overnight in the bedrooms. Although it is an eight-hour-day the job offers variety and there is always something different going on.
Elias began at the club in 2003 as a steward in the Drawing Rooms before moving to reception in 2008, working in a team of five during the day and evening. Elias likes the friendliness of members towards staff. I have done everything from first aid to security work with high-spirited members and guests. I think you can teach certain skills, but experience is the key to learning great customer service.
Having worked at the East India Club for more than 22 years, Beatrix started in the Dining Room in 2005, and was sponsored on the wine and spirits education trust wine course. In moving to the reception team in 2011. “I like the way that the staff in different departments are very close – like a big family. We look after each other. All the departments work together. They have to, and they have to have a good relationship.”
Adam’s first job at the club was as porter in the Front Hall, after a year he moved to housekeeping and a more physical role as linen keeper. Adam has grown to be an admirer of the club system. “I like the club because there is no owner,” he says. “All the members are the owners. “My colleagues here are like my family.”
Raj joined the Victory Services Club in 2014 as a Reception Supervisor and is now the Front Office Manager. I've had an incredible journey working for the VSC. I started as a reception supervisor and only planned to work for the Club for six months because I wanted to go on sabbatical leave and pursue my MBA. However, I enjoyed working here so much that I made a significant decision to continue to be part of the team.
Alla has been working in the housekeeping department for 13 years. I think my favourite thing about the Garrick Club is that Members respect the staff and they respect my work. The Club has a great atmosphere where everyone helps each other and as staff we get great benefits.
Kamil started at the Garrick Club in 2017 as a Maintenance Assistant and was promoted to Maintenance Manager during the Covid-19 pandemic. I come from a hotel background, so the work is similar, but the atmosphere is far more pleasant and the Members really take care of the staff. The ALC also shows great support for staff. I recently attended an event with staff from other Clubs in the same role as me and we got to enjoy a tour of two other Clubs which were undergoing some work. It was really interesting and it was great to meet people in similar roles. We now have a network group we can contact each other for help with suppliers and so on.
The Club's ethos is crucial for the enjoyment of its members and continued success moving forwards.
Clubs pride themselves on providing a refuge for Members, a space they can feel at home in while meeting others with similar interests.
Members Clubs have a key feature in common, the way that Members treat staff, something that stands them apart from many other hospitality establishments. Staff are treated like family and Members ensure they are looked after. You will often find staff in Clubs that have been employed for a lengthy period. Some have even been known to spend most of their lives in a Club, starting as students and retiring having worked in numerous roles within the Club.