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Manager at 20, Callum delights at his chosen hospitality career

A SHINING talent in Grimsby’s hospitality profession is urging other young people to grasp the industry’s recipe for success.

Manager at 20, Callum delights at his chosen hospitality career

At just 20, Callum Kirkley now manages one of the busiest bars, bistros and function venues in central Grimsby. 

Abbys and Abbys Upstairs, on Abbeygate, comes under the guiding eye of Callum as he oversees the busy bistro and restaurant downstairs and the function rooms upstairs. 

His rise up the ladder with Abbys Group is proof indeed that young people in this area have opportunities to succeed, said Callum.

“I think there are some young people out there who would try to avoid the hospitality industry, thinking it is maybe too stressful or the hours do not fit with their plans. But there are really good careers to be had,” he said.

Callum started his career when he was just 17 years old as a kitchen porter at what was then The Riverside in Cleethorpes. He remained with the business when it was taken over by Abbys Group and significantly expanded, refurbished and rebranded Tale of Two.

A Grimsby lad, he attended Havelock School and Franklin College before deciding the academic route was not for him.

“As a kitchen porter I was doing all the prep work for the chefs but really wanted to be front of house, and when Abbys Upstairs needed someone I was determined to go for it. From there, I then came downstairs and now manage both,” said Callum.

Downstairs his people skills means he gets on with all the customers, knowing many of their names, and upstairs he helps to plan business and family functions, including weddings and christenings. 

“There have been some challenges along the way and I work extremely hard. But I love it and I love the industry. 

“Wherever you go and whatever you do, there is always progression – I never thought in a million years that I would be a manager at Abbys, but if I see an opportunity I will go out and try to get it,” said Callum.

“I actually have a dream to open my own restaurant, but that is a little way down the line yet,” he added.

For now he is in good company, with Liz Parry, former Northern Lincolnshire Business Person of the Year, having also acted as a business professor at Grimsby Institute.

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