Lorna McVey
General Manager of Maray, Allerton Rd.

Originally from Warrington, Lorna McVey is becoming more Scouse by the day thanks to her role as General Manager of Liverpool restaurant Maray.

Maray was born in the summer of 2014 out of a desire to bring back a piece of Paris’ 4th arrondissement to Liverpool. Since then, the restaurant has continually been praised for its diverse pallet, exquisite food and evolving menu, receiving outstanding reviews from some of Britain’s highest critics. But Maray is more than just it’s menu, the attentive and welcoming staff have enabled Maray to thrive to three new locations, and keep customers coming back for more.

Having just been awarded the Rising Start Award at the Hospitality Awards, it felt like there was no one more prevalent to be this issues Hospitalian, than Lorna McVey

"One of my favourite training sessions I do with my team is teaching them the difference between service and hospitality. "

The Interview

Q. Tell us about your career in hospitality, how did you start out?

I started working at my Mum’s coffee shop when I was 13, washing dishes on a Saturday afternoon. I saw first-hand the hard work and dedication it takes to run a successful hospitality business and I always knew it was the industry for me. I studied Hospitality & Business Management at Birmingham University where I gained a 1st Class Honours Degree. From that I moved to Manchester as Assistant Manager of Teacup Kitchen, located in the Northern Quarter.

I was a year into that when I saw Maray were advertising for management positions for their new site in Allerton in 2016. I was already a huge Maray fan, and I was so excited to start working with them when they were opening their second site. Three years on, Maray now have a third site open on the Liverpool Albert Dock, with plans to venture into new cities in the future.

Q. What does hospitality mean to you?

Hospitality means so much to me. Many people use it as a part time/casual job or a sidestep whilst looking for other jobs, but for me I knew Hospitality was the Industry I wanted to pursue as my career. Hospitality is the art of making someone feel welcome, and its rare skill. It’s what keeps people coming back to the same restaurant time after time. One of my favourite training sessions I do with my team is teaching them the difference between service and hospitality. 

Q. What’s been the best piece of advice you have ever received?

When I first got promoted to GM at Maray, my dad gave me the best advice for managing people, “with every pair of hands you get a free brain!” Anyone in the team can have a great idea, and the best managers listen.

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration from the industry?

I’m currently a huge fan of Marguerite Zabar Mariscal. She has recently been named CEO of David Chang’s restaurant group Momofuku at the age of 29! She featured on Chang’s podcast recently and inspired me with her fearless attitude, faith in her own judgement, and never being afraid to ask for help. I’ve tried to take all those things on board and I really look up to the work she is doing.

Q. How have people shaped your business? From your staff to your customers.

One of the best things about the Hospitality is the incredible people you come into contact with. I have built up a strong sense of belonging within my team so that everyone takes ownership of the business. I believe everyone genuinely cares about the work they do. This is a very competitive industry where a product can be easily replicated, it’s my team’s hospitality, personality and level of care which sets us apart from any other restaurant in the city.