Watch now: The casino’s assistant catering manager is no stranger to the region | Living

BRISTOL – Colette Turner has transplanted roots that go back more than three decades to the region.

Hard Rock’s new assistant food and beverage manager said she enjoys the challenge and excitement of launching restaurants in the new casino.

“I fell in love with the area,” said Turner, assistant food and beverage manager for the temporary facility that will become the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “I’ve been in Bristol for 30 years.”

Turner, who joined the casino on May 5, was born in Kentucky but mostly grew up in Olympia, Washington, until she and her parents moved to Wise County in southwestern Virginia. . She graduated from JJ Kelly High School.

Turner returned to Washington but returned to the Tri-Cities after about two years and has not been back since.

Eventually, she said, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol will have up to 13 restaurants or eateries on the site of the former Bristol Mall site. For now, however, Turner said the operation has three dining options, including one that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SHE WORKED AT KINGSPORT

Most recently, Turner was assistant manager at Kingsport Panera Bread. She held a series of positions during her career in the restaurant industry, including shift manager at a Tri-Cities steakhouse. She said she enjoyed her time at Panera and working for the manager there.

“I started out as a waiter,” Turner said, adding that she later became a bartender and then an executive assistant in her career.

“I’ve opened a restaurant before, but not a casino,” Turner said.

THREE FOOD OPTIONS

Turner said the casino currently offers three dining options: Brick’d, which is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves items such as pizza, jalapeno peppers and mozzarella cheese sticks; Grab and Go, which offers sandwiches, salads, fruit and yogurt; and a full-service restaurant named Mr. Lucky’s, open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“Basically I’m on Brick’d and Grab and Go,” Turner said. When the permanent casino opens in the summer of 2024, she said, the plan is for Mr. Lucky’s and Brick’d to “go away” to make way for the new restaurants.

“Something I learned in the casino world: things change every 32 seconds,” Turner said.

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TWO DIETARY DIFFERENCES

Turner said Hard Rock’s food operations are different in at least two ways from many other casinos.

One difference, she said, is that unlike most casinos, the Bristol one has restaurants and other food services separate from the casino floor. That way, she said, families can come to Hard Rock and eat with their young children. By law, no one under the age of 21 is allowed on casino grounds.

The other difference, she added, is that the menus include a certain Southern staple.

“We have something on our menu that many don’t have: soup beans and cornbread,” she said. “We get to know the local flavor.”

Turner said she hasn’t had a problem with that since she worked about three decades in the Tri-Cities food business. She also said the casino’s catering services were working on menus with taste tests and would consider adding or removing items based on customer reaction.

A COMPANY WITH LOCATIONS ALL OVER THE WORLD, ADVANTAGES

Running a dining facility for team members to serve the casino’s growing number of employees, Turner said she had no problems getting food, although the post-COVID world has sometimes made it difficult to find certain items.

And thanks to the benefits and transfer opportunities between Hard Rock properties, she said filling the positions hasn’t proven to be too difficult, given the current situation in the food industry.

“It’s a bit of a challenge. In food and beverage, it’s always a bit of a challenge,” Turner said. “We are paying above the industry standard in the region.”

Turner said she waited a week to give notice to Panera so her manager was back from vacation and she could give her opinion in person, not over the phone or to anyone other than her manager. . Turner said she’s relatively well-known in the area’s restaurant industry and the post-COVID-19 economy is still tough for hiring events, like the one held on June 25. on the casino website.

However, Turner said Hard Rock was not trying to recruit employees from other Tri-Cities companies.

“We try not to poach employees from other restaurants,” Turner said. However, if asked, Turner says she tells potential employees that, aside from the higher pay than most of these jobs in the area, the full-time slots the casino is looking to fill include medical care. , dental, retirement 401(k) and pet insurance.

Additionally, she said Hard Rock offers employees the opportunity to apply for open job postings among locations around the world, including stand-alone restaurants as well as casinos. Turner said she was looking forward to visiting some of the other locations to learn more about restaurant services and to enjoy the experience of just being a customer.

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