Manager, Roundhouse Lodge
Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
Six-word bio: "Enjoying life, wine and great food.”With an office at the top of the world and a staff of more than 100, Doug Burnett ensures Whistler’s guests are fed and happy on the mountain all year long.
You could work in worse places.
Whistler Blackcomb’s Doug Burnett is manager of Whistler Blackcomb’s Roundhouse Grill, the main food and beverage hub for the sprawling Canadian resort. Located on top of Whistler Mountain with some of the best views in Canada, the Roundhouse Lodge serves breakfast and lunch to a good percentage of Whistler’s two million sliders per season, and it’s Burnett’s job to ensure they get what they want every time.
From staffing to product logistics, all of the Roundhouse’s operations fall under Burnett’s purview. He’s responsible for well over a hundred employees, ensuring that staff needs are met, performance goals are being achieved and everyone’s getting along swimmingly. Alongside that, Burnett ensures the 1,500-seat Roundhouse is getting what it needs every day, from Fresh Tracks to sundown.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Burnett started working in the restaurant industry in his teens, and arrived in Whistler after studying business. He meshed the two interests and worked his way up the ranks at WB to his manager role two winters ago, running the resort’s largest restaurant.
These days, he says, overseeing such a large number of people every day is his biggest challenge.
“Managing how they’re working together is the biggest challenge,” he says. “There are so many different personalities and a wide range of ages and experience—there are a lot of twists and turns in managing such a large number of people.”
Running a restaurant at over 6,000 feet also presents challenges of its own—like when the main gondola for Whistler went down and Burnett had to ferry all the supplies up the mountain in snowcats instead, or when he’s had to order an evacuation of the building in a storm.
Although Burnett takes a lot of pride in his management skills, his nominator, Paul Street, director of food and beverage operations for Whistler Blackcomb, says customer service scores (Net Promoter) have gone up both seasons in which Burnett has been working there, and that his dedication and professionalism have created “a very promising future” for Burnett at WB.
What Burnett has learned the most as a restaurant manager, he says, is to really get to know the people you work with and create a positive team environment, so when things are challenging, people are ready and willing to help.
“The amount of time that you spend with your people matters—it’s good to get to know your staff on a non-work level as well, as they’re more likely to step up when you need them to,” he says. “We’re really lucky in Whistler, they’re here for the mountains, so they want to be here.”
Going forward in his career at Whistler, Burnett says he would like to expand his skill set into different areas of the resort. He’s a little afraid of being “pigeon-holed” as a food and bev category, and would like to eventually “take the skills I’ve learned and apply them to another aspect of mountain operations.”
Until then, he’ll keep enjoying the view.