Swapped soccer for Vapiano: lateral mover Melanie Soyah

Melanie Soyah used to play midfield with FC Bayern Munich. Now she’s a Junior Operations Manager with Vapiano. She tells us how she made a success of her lateral move.

Hi Melanie! The German national women’s team has just won gold at the Olympics. What does that mean for you?


Well naturally it reminds me of championships I’ve won. (laugh) My best friend Saskia Bartusiak can now call herself an Olympian. Amazing! I’m really happy about that.


That sounds like you still have very close ties with soccer.


Absolutely. That’s because my best friends also used to play or are still playing. And I love watching soccer – British soccer’s my favorite.


So tell us, what made you move to Vapiano in the first place?


After more than twelve years with FSV Frankfurt, I moved to FC Bayern Munich in 2005. While I was there I discovered that I was no longer willing to put so much effort into it: I was studying, training junior teams and, of course, I was still playing as well. Over the long term that was too much. At the time I often went to Vapiano in Munich with a girlfriend for a meal. One day she happened to mention that this was a great place for a lateral career move.


And as a lateral mover, you’ve now achieved the position of Junior Operations Manager.


Yes. In fact, I started off as a Vapianist – a chef. And then I worked in Frankfurt as a trainer. When the restaurant management changed there, I was appointed as a shift manager – six weeks after my first day at work there. I have to admit, it was a bit chaotic. But I always managed to keep an eye on the big picture and – most importantly – it was great fun!


That sounds like your previous career was an advantage. Are there other things from the soccer pitch that help you today?


I learned teamwork, leadership and discipline from soccer. And how to make sure my hair’s looking good – no matter how hectic things get! (laugh) 


At this stage, you must have shaken off your status as a lateral mover? Did you do some training as well?


Alongside my work, I trained in system catering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and finished my course in 2013. At that point I was already a Restaurant Manager. When I sat my exam I had to work out things like: “A can of artichokes has a net weight of two kilograms. 40 grams are used per salad. How many salads can you make with one can of artichokes?” 


We guess that’s one thing you won’t be missing. So how much do you still miss your “old” life?


I do miss people cheering me on. Today I have to work much harder to get praise. (laugh)


But today you are a Junior Operations Manager – that sounds like quite a lot of recognition – particularly for a lateral mover.


Absolutely! As a Junior Operations Manager I’m responsible for several restaurants. These currently include the three Frankfurt Vapianos and the restaurant in Saarbrücken. It’s incredibly exciting to think about what the future will hold. For me, and for Vapiano as well. We still have so much potential. I am very grateful that I’m allowed to be a part of that.


So what do you still want to achieve for yourself and with Vapiano? 


I really want to get some international experience with Vapiano – preferably in the USA.


Many thanks for talking to us, Melanie – and continued success!

Are you interested in a career with Vapiano as a lateral mover or career starter? Then take a look at our Careers page!