At 3.05pm on 11.03.2014 we welcomed Theo Beau Foster to the board of Yummy Pub Co. His brother, ‘Head of future developments’ is very pleased to welcome him to the team & looks forward to seeing the development of Theo’s role as “Head of venue comfort & security” (he arrived 4 days past his due date as he was so comfortable & he’s a big boy).
Young master Theo has already begun to ponder how he can help us with our challenges in the future & made a fair point yesterday afternoon that we really do need to address – our baby changing facilities at all the sites, average is no longer good enough, exceptional is required, the babies have arrived! I have some ideas (borrowed with pride from the NHS).
So, exciting times ahead. It was great to read the story this week about little directors in Spirit, maybe they got the idea from Finns promotion a few years back as a non-exec director, or maybe its just the right thing to do. It’s Finns influence that brought about all the changes for the Grove into the Grove Pantry Pub & Inn, which is most defiantly beginning to show green shoots under the sterling leadership of young miss Crawford, so we can prove listening to the next generation will shape the future.
In the last blog I mentioned about being in the hands of women & I promised an update.
Well, given I have been under house arrest for quite sometime, I have only been able to hear second hand reports, but the news thus far is more than encouraging. I think it’s time for women to start running things, our industry has secretly watched as they’ve entered a very male dominated space, but the qualities a female eye is bringing to us is brilliant to see, the boys have their work cut out for them now (Ryan is attempting a slightly different approach to development into that area, we will see how his strategy pans out).
Our Yummy family is growing & its brilliant to see.
We know there will be bumps in the road, its really interesting to manage expectations now, to make our teams & individuals that make those team accountable for their own actions. We can create opportunities, but we are not giving them away just because people are there. It takes will power, vision & bloody hard work to do what we have done, risking everything to create something.
Theo & Finn will both learn that.
My family business will be built & driven on talent, not on blood, its what I have always found to be so frustrating with some of the family businesses we trade with, its outdated, its stale & in quite a number of the interactions we have had, the family members should just not be there. We will be the new age family business, Katy will give us another cracking member of the team, with a teeny, tiny little bit of help from Jason. As for Anthony, well, he’s still just a baby anyway, theres plenty of time…..
Lets see what happens with my boys, they may just hate it (doubtful), being in one of the most diverse & fascinating businesses in the land.
However, without me (except on the phone & behind my computer 247) my teams have delivered, again, exceptional results. February 2014 ends with like for like sales +15.6% across the sites, Somerstown & The Grove the front runners with The Gorringe & mill coming in a close third & fourth respectively. It was looking like we were going to hit low to medium +20%’s until the idiots who run our road infrastructures decided to close the only road to get to the Wiremill, for a staggering 5 days no less, doing very, very little on inspection.
Bureaucracy, diplomacy, I have little time for either, just two words that get in the way of progress & common sense.
But, we deal with the cards we are dealt, maybe shutting the road helped us beat Mothers Day 2013 on a standard Sunday, or maybe it was the lovely weather? Either way, the team (half the size it would have needed to be) worked their socks off & handled the expectations of our customers admirably. Sure we will get some fall out, ask anyone who runs, works in or has the experience of handling double the demand with half the resource, doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work it out.
Thats not to say we don’t take it seriously, we hate poor reviews & we always react. It does throw up some challenges to us that Theo & Finn will need to help with – expectations & how to react to issues, I wonder what it will all look like in 18 years time? We always say we need to be out & about more, in other peoples businesses not just ours. Its easy to say, not quite so easy to do. Funny enough, that is all I used to do at Carlsberg, I was always happiest when I was out helping people develop their businesses. This week has allowed me to be out of the business & simple things have come to light.
Signage. The NHS are incredibly poor at it, so are we. I’ve been in a foreign place to me for some 10 days now off & on. Two different hospitals, one old, one brand new & they are both as bad as each other. We had to walk this way & that, by the time we were at our destination we were already in the wrong mood for the poor person awaiting us. On my return, there will be a full review of our signage & directions, both in venue, menu, rooms, people……
The lifetime value of a customer. More pertinent now that last week, I think its fascinating to see how this impacts my business. I’ve just left Open Table as a supplier to my company since the very beginning. Online was not big, but it was going to be, that was our vision. No points for getting that right, but it was one of the ‘big money’ things I did at the mill. We couldn’t afford it, but the boys trusted me. 7 years on I generated about £15,000 per year for them in revenue from bookings across the sites & fees for the software. Everyone I met when tendering the offer advised the poor stories about leaving them, I took it on board, but didn’t really think it could be the case.
Boy, was I wrong.
I replied to an email today (shouldn’t be doing it really, but Lucy knows you can’t stop me working) where I made a statement I never thought I would make ‘I will never trade with your company for the rest of my working career’. I leave everyone with the view that this is a very, very big industry, with an incredibly small network of people, everything comes in circles, cider trends, cask trends, food trends & people, they always pop up somewhere.
Lifetime value of a customer.
Can it be true though? Does it still exist with the choice in the market, the change in consumers habits & our incredible expectations? I’ll do some work on it, I think it is still out there, maybe Yummy Treats will be the secret to engaging the right customers to have a lifetime relationship with & train my guys to know the difference between a blagger & a true customer. Standing waiting for my coffee in the very swish Soho Coffee Co. at the hospital I observed the difference between the two. A lady approached the counter & companied in a really lovely way the condition of her sandwich. The staff didn’t hesitate in offering her an alternative. 30 seconds later another lady approached the counter with a totally different tact, demanding, hostile, frankly just rude. To the absolute credit of the staff, they acknowledged her issue, gave the answer & sent the lady on her way “the liquid at the bottom of your sandwich box is tomato juice…there is nothing wrong with it” was her result.
She walked off, cursing, sat at a table with 6 other people, 4 of which put their heads down & ignored her whilst she ranted about the experience to the other 2, pointing at the staff member & shaking her head inspecting her sandwich box, then tucking in. I’m going to see if there is a Trip Advisor page for them in a minute, I wonder what the expectations of a coffee shop in a hospital are that looks & feels like a restaurant, is it a restaurant or is it a coffee shop, or indeed is it a hospital?
Now, I’m off for some cuddles for a few days, the computer can gather some dust, the bigger Yummy boys have everything in hand.