What an incredible day…

I own an amazing company.

I realised whilst I was away on hols that its not been built by Anthony, Jason or I for sometime now, we’ve been guiding it, but its actually being built by my people. Yesterday & today have brought that home to me, more than ever.

I’ve had some fun. I’ve pulled my 24 hr shift, played with websites and Twitter and Facebook and been in meetings and meetings and meetings, but my guys and girls have been the one’s delivering. And thats what they do, day in, day out.

Today, I believe we have made a difference.

It just takes one.

One match to save a beautiful little girl like this one.

Margot

Yaser and Vicki are clearly never going to ever let anyone forget who she is, I actually think she might turn out to be one of the most important little girls lost the World has ever seen with the drive, passion and commitment they have to spread their message. It just takes one. One match.

Its been an absolute privilege to be part of the awareness campaign today. The drum will keep on banging, I’m keeping the yummy websites down until Monday with the takeover pages to tell anyone thats looking for a cracking boozer of mine, just have a look at what you could do first.

If I can be remembered as Keith has made sure Franca is remembered today when I part this big old lump of rock, I’d be skipping around the moon.

Live life. Love life.

Thanks to all of my loons. You’ve been exceptional.

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Love ya.

#Liveyourlifeday

#togethersavinglives


30th July a date to celebrate

#Liveyourlifeday

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Pop in and see us. Pick up one of these wrist bands, have a cuppa or a pint, a natter, then tell everyone you know to look at http://www.teammargot.com

Join in our fun. These are my Yummy loons with another load of selfies to come in tomorrow. Tweet us yours @yummypubco #Liveyourlifeday #togethersavinglives

Two beautiful ladies are no longer with us, one had time to build a legacy behind her, one never had the chance, lets see if we can save a life who can go onto give so much back as Franca Knowles has.

Live Your Life.

Be a Hero.

http://www.teammargot.com

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Today, I will mostly be having a bloody good laugh.


Live Your Life

Tomorrow is going to be a celebration in Yummy with our wider friends in pub World. We’re going to be celebrating life, hell why wouldn’t we, it’s a beautiful thing!

It’s a sad day.

A woman whom I only met on a couple of brief occasions loved life. Since her death I’ve been overwhelmed of how special she was to thousands of people she touched throughout it. Its sad for me because if we had asked Keith to be our chairman earlier, I’m certain she would have become a real inspiration and special person in my life as Keith has become in such a short time. But ironically, the legacy she has left behind which is being celebrated and kept alive through her work and foresight makes me feel as if I knew her far better.  Maybe its testament to them both that they are just some of the special people life produces? Maybe its because life doesn’t make us who we are, we make life?

I love life.

I’m not a passenger in the process, blaming the World around me for my failings, I grab it by the horns and I run with it. My childhood taught me that everything can be taken away from you, because it was, but they are just ‘things’ they can always be replaced – houses, cars, toys, computers, photographs, clothes, gadgets, but people, people can never be replaced.

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Franca will be celebrated tomorrow by trying to save other lives. She will be looking down, proud, so proud of her brood and what they are doing. Her husband is a legend, she has turned him into one of the most generous and compassionate people I have ever had the privilege to meet. He can do it because he took life by the horns, gave it a bloody big kick up the arse and has built and still building an amazing business. His passion bleeds into his kids and the people that surround him. I’m honoured to be part of it.

For the next 366 days, starting today, I’m going to challenge my life to do something different, not huge, it’s the detail in life that’s precious and I’m going to love it and live it. Today my boy gave me a cuddle in bed, first thing he asked to do when he woke up, I take that for granted, but not today, its date stamped, recorded, treasured.

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Tomorrow I’m going to challenge all of my people in the company I have built to inspire others to do the same. I have an amazing army of loons in Yummy. I’m going to ask them to ask every customer, every tweeter, facebook friend, blogger we meet to send out a really simple message – Together, Saving Lives.

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I can’t imagine what the loss of a child can feel like. I know what losing a dad is like, I know what losing close and cherished friends is like, but never seeing one of my boys again, no thank you. That can stay in the box that says ‘do not open’. If either of my two, or indeed Lucy needed anything from me to save their lives, I wouldn’t even hesitate, I’d trade mine to see them flourish in a heart beat.

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But people do have to say goodbye and clearly everyone deals with the loss in a different way. For Yasser and Vicki it is to just save one other person from leaving before their time. Maybe the big man upstairs looks down and sees that as futile, but bollocks to him, people that look down from the top should always be prepared for the unplanned to happen, for true inspiration to thrive www.teammargot.com is just that.

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My admiration for them both can’t be put into words, another of life’s special people.

So, go and take a look. How amazing would you feel if you saved a life without having to smash down the door of a burning building, dive of a bridge into ice cold waters, leap in front of a uncontrollable lorry? (even though all of that is pretty barn cool).

Everyone can be a hero.

Even if its just sticking two cotton buds in your mouth for a minute or two, licking an envelope and popping it in the post. What comes after if you are ‘the chosen one’ is just a bit of pain at worst. I’m thinking its like falling off my bike when I was 12, it’s the worst pain I can ever remember (even though technically we can’t actually remember pain, apparently) my face was totally cut up, my knees were bleeding, my elbows were ripped to pieces, but the amazing thing about us humans, is its all gone, healed, not because I’m superman (ssshh) but because I’m healthy (with some added padding that’s being removed by gym and fruit tea currently), I can fight it all, unfortunately there are plenty that can’t.

www.teammargot.com

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If you don’t fancy it, just spread the word.

Tell everyone tomorrow about it. Send an email, mention it in a meeting, use the #liveyourlifeday #togethersavinglives – it only takes one match, just one match to be a hero.

When Finny and I left our meeting on Monday to head home after he had been with me for the day he said, “Daddy, when I grow up can I be like Keith?”

Pretty good judge of character my non exec.

I replied “That would be a great thing buddy, but as long as you stick to mum’s dress code.

When I’m gone I hope I can be remembered as Franca is, it’s a stunning legacy.

Live Your Life, doing it saving another would just be Amazing – Together Saving Lives.

www.teammargot.com

Margot


Out of bed, into the pig pen…

Its been an emotional week, busy (as normal), but busy building a new future for a pub we all love.

For us its the black sheep of the family, the one we always have problems with, try everything and just don’t know what to do with her. Invest far more time, effort and emotion than a business mind would or should allow, but that’s just us I guess, never one’s to give up.

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 This however, is the final roll of the dice & we’re proud as punch.

As always, there is plenty of ‘final fixes’ little things & big things we’ve missed in the development that need attention in the coming days and weeks, but on the surface, the pub now looks smashing. As well as a new interior, we have a stunning new kitchen and garden bar, a fab taproom and a few new faces in the team.

Initial feedback this week is “Jolly well done” its the coming weeks and months that are important now to delight our customers and over deliver on their expectations. If my team pull together, I’m convinced it can happen, they all genuinely love the pub.

Thanks go to Nigel and his team at Sheps, finally some belief that if you invest, you’ll get returns. The pub game has changed significantly even since we entered it as Yummy, you have to create something that customers can love, the ‘experience’ is everything and that is what we are training into our people every single day.

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These are being rolled out into Yummy in the coming weeks. I want every single member of my ‘loon army’ to shape Yummy, create tiny changes that ripple to create huge waves of change in my business. I want everyone, no matter their job role to own the business, the customer journey, the experience, because they are what makes us Yummy, not the buildings. I think the more I say it, write it, say it, write it, shout it, the more people will actually believe I mean it.

I’ll be doing a lot more of it, after my holiday :)

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The Hobbits enjoying the sun.

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The boathouse now looking far more ‘Yummy’

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Standing proud in the sunshine

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‘Jazz Hands’ photo – thats a keeper :)

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The tap room in full flow (my favourite bit of the development)

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Young Mark showing how to squeeze lemons #Talent #Concentration

Now its time to get smoking, planting, foraging and cooking. We’re bringing back Ssshh bigger and better than ever, now across three of the pubs, soon to be four and ‘With Love from Our Pantry Pub’ is getting ready to roll out for Christmas, yep, we’re sitting in baking hot sunshine and we’re talking Christmas!! Our how we love hospitality!!

For me, its off for a well earned break with the family. Some sun, a pool, great Tapas and downtime, our year end is this month, its been one hell of a year, I need to recharge the batteries.


10 years in & everyday is a school day

Before Yummy we were BarHub Limited (we still are in some guises) – a ‘hub’ of hospitality excellence! We created that on a beer mat, in a pub, in Lewes (Sussex) on a hot summers evening not too dissimilar to tonight, just short of 10 years ago.

Anthony & I were pissed off with telling other people what they should do to make their businesses really tick. We (naively or not) thought we could do better. In the excitement & flowing beer, we registered Bar Hub Limited on companies house, split the shares (think it was 100 each!) & began a journey into the unknown.

We were right. (of sorts)

In many instances we could do it better. Its not too difficult though, our trade is one of the most undeveloped in the business world, apart from a huge handful of independent retail, which still amazes me to this day, but it shouldn’t. They are individuals. Without huge insight teams, agencies, specialists, budgets, designers, PR agencies, R&D teams……

I walked past a pub tonight we were buying, well leasing. Its been empty for over 9 months. It has a huge potential, but we walked away, even though the goal was personally huge for us, thinking with hearts, not really business. We walked because the landlord wanted more of the ‘pie’. We’ve grown up in the past 10 years, less excited kids, more excited adults. But we still know how to have fun, we’re just not prepared to make bad business choices anymore.

I think that’s what keeps us Yummy.

This Friday we relaunch the Grove, our beautiful Kent manor house, eventually as she should look, well, 90%. It wouldn’t be a business if it was 100% done. I now feel that there is an equal balance between us and landlord, even though they are guaranteed the cash in the bank, that’s how it should be, its now down to us to prove we know what we’re doing. As I write this the site is 90% UP V’s Last Year, that would suggest we’ve made the right choice, the sun however is probably helping our cause.

But, she’s a beaut.

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 She’ll now take centre stage for our relaunch of #Ssshh in its new format. Produce my pantry products for all the pubs to sell (which has been a genuine dream of none for the last 4 years) and be capable of hosting over 1000 seated guests in a day! Who said beauty can’t be HUGE?

So, something to look forward too.

Today though has filled me with confidence we have enormous talent in Yummy. A quick photo shoot at The Gorringe produced these on paper, even better in the taste, thanks to my amazing team in the kitchen. I’m so excited about what Drew and Joe can produce as well as teaching Shantel the balance in flavours and the way to create a truly balanced dish. The lamb bangers and aubergine mash was stunning, simply stunning.

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As of right now food sales +57% V’s same day last year, no question its in the quality.

So, to bed. Big day tomorrow, up early with Goffa D. day full of sunshine and fun.

Its great owning Yummy right now. Genuinely great.


The more you Love them, the more you need to let them go…

…or, as one of my most favourite people in the World puts it “Peacocks have wings, let them fly…..”

Ed Harper is back.

A life long friend I have not known for a lifetime has flown back to Yummy, but do you need to know somebody for a lifetime to know they are right, that they are part of your future?….No…He’s my first EVER, very FIRST, it’s never, ever, never, ever, never, even, never, happened before……………”Yummy Ops Director”.

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He left to develop, learn and just do.

I now have the boy back, to do, do, do….

I tell everyone, well, nearly everyone, every day that I have “Yummy Sleepers” and usually they laugh, roll their eyes, laugh a little more….”What the f*@k is a ‘Yummy Sleeper’ the rude people say? – I go on…..usually fruitlessly that they are my secret army, the talented individuals that ‘at the time’ I couldn’t develop, I couldn’t created dreams for, I couldn’t deliver a role capable of their aspirations because my business ‘couldn’t justify it at the time’, but who would have thought, 18 months after telling him it was absolutely the right thing for him go….”Let Peacocks fly….” the boy would be back in the fold, helping us create one of the best teeny, tiny, boutique pub companies in the country…..into a reality?

Ed Harper is back.

We’re good. We’re very, very good. But we ain’t perfick. Ed, will make us ‘Perfick’… there’s no pressure, absolutely none…

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I lose people like this boy, once a month a least…

I can call him a boy because to me, he’s still one of my kids. He’s the future of my trade, I LOVE the fact he’s got the balls to leave me, he’s now crafting his own waves, sculpting his own future, but behind the pass, where he belongs.

I genuinely don’t care if its my pass or somebody else’s, unfortunately for me thinking business first, people second (which I just don’t do) he’s gone. The more than comforting thing is, he’s left to go to a phenomenal business @mudtooting  these guys are going to rock it from Tooting to Edinburgh, great people, great ideas, passion and flavour, my boy couldn’t be in better hands right now & Jason & I are chuffed to bits.

He’s a total pain in the arse.

& I LOVE him…

But, I’ve also lost somebody else close to my heart today….

97% of my business don’t know why he’s close to my heart, they question every angle, but they will see. Danny boy leaves Yummy. He’s not happy here, so I need to let him go.

I’ve tried & for me, I’ve failed.

The boy is a shining star. He needs people other than the 3 monkeys to show him the light.

He’s a star. He just needs t0 pull his head out of his arse to see it.

99% of my business will question why. (not the pulling his head out of his arse bit)

I guess that’s what makes me one of the leaders of Yummy, I can see things in people they can’t see for themselves. I can see things in people they didn’t even know existed.

Give me time & I can make it reality. Leave me too early & I can only support from the side lines.

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When they put me 6″ under, this day, this image will live with me & Danny, forever.

This is Danny. This is the boy we bought into Yummy.

As for tonight, only he, I, Anthony & Jason will know why….
For those that were there, they will remember it in exactly the same way, with their own twist, the boy is Yummy, always was, always will be.

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So, from the three monkeys…(make your own mind up for who is who)…”Au revoir” Danny Boy, we love you, highs and lows, we genuinely do.

Poxy French sayings…the door is open for the future, just come in through the one that says ‘push’ & not ‘pull’

So, we move onto a new chapter in Yummy.

This dude…

Keith x2

(trust me, if you search Keith Knowles in Google, this dude will appear….)

Erm… no, Sorry, this ‘dude’… he’s also there, like everywhere…..Google is a total pain in the arse in ‘search’ this is our chairman..

Keith B&B

Still as sexy, still as ‘cool’ … Lush.

We LOVE him to bits (although he is very particular about his porridge in the mornings)…

The soon to be HMRC honoured, no, no, typo – HMTQ honoured (Her Majesty The Queen) as he more than just deserves, just delivers, just keeps on giving, has taken the pity on my POXY, teeny, tiny, little, boutique pub company to become our chairman.

We think he’s done it for fun.

He thinks he’s done it to save lives.

Our non exec – My 5 year old son, thinks he’s done it to draw ‘dino’s’ – he has an entire box of ‘spiderman pens’ – only brought out for ‘special’ occasions to prove the fact…

…in reality it’s all a little bit confusing to be honest.

Quite fancily I don’t give a stuff what anybody else thinks (in this very, one sided isolated instance *customers first) I have loved having him in the business.

My business, our industry is made up of people. They polish your shoes, they carry your bags, they serve you drinks, they clean your dishes.

Every, single step of the way they are still people. They are grafting a way, a wave, a future. So many people in my industry try to focus on the boys at the top – “look what you could be”, “look what you could become”

They never focus on where you came from, who you are now.

Well, that’s going to change, we’re going back to basics, we’re going back to the streets, to prove that if you take an individual out of ‘circumstance’ as a very, very special person in my life said a few weeks ago, you won’t even recognise them.

Our chairman is going to help us, but we’re going to drive the business.

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The next four weeks are going to be great, life changing & emotional.

We’re going to save lives. That’s the power of my business, my people, my future.


Old and grey, both are going to happen, fact.

“I’m going to be old(er) and greyer and one day….”

…..I think I’ve said that maybe 30 times in the past 8 days as I search out the newest talent to join Yummy. In some instances I added ‘git’, in some conversations I added far more expletives and in one I was sitting in my favourite chair (I don’t have one yet, but something tells me I’m the kind that will) as an old git, many years from now, looking back in fondness at all the dreams I helped nurture…proudly, tonight one said dream is and has become reality for my chums the GB’s…and its just the bloomin’ beginning….

The coolest baristas in the UK

Tonight the GB’s WON “UK’s coolest Baristas” and came runner up, second place, just pipped to the post, just, only just, to become “UK’s Best New Coffee Shop” in some stellar company of the coffee World…

GB's winning team

The nicest thing for me is that tonight and every day since they ventured on their dream the boys know its their team that make the GB’s special, they’ve know it from the beginning and they treasure it. Without the team, it would be a poxy building as it was when they took it on, just a few short months past, poxy, non descript, a character all its own, but now it breaths…

I’m so proud of the boys, I haven’t stopped taking about them at every chance when I’ve been having chats with new recruits these past months, they are what can happen when you want something, love something and have drive. Passion is a wonderful thing…

But what about me? I’m going to be the old(er) git, grey, sitting back, admiring, better get on and do some bloody nurturing….

“Its not about if your right for Yummy, but if Yummy is right for you”

…its true and has been my favourite saying for weeks, possibly months with the one exception of…”You’re a senior manager in my business” – and the ones who are Yummy, know Yummy is right for them within minutes, not just a quick fix or a stop gap, but right. I’ve seen some extraordinary talent, I’ve employed some extraordinary talent, I’ve told some extraordinary talent to keep on looking, its been fun, exhausting, but fun and it ain’t done yet.

A host of recruitment agencies have applied to my ads (very kind of them). “We can take all this off your hands Tim”. “We’ll sort through all the dross and find the great ones”. “I love your advert, you generally sound like guys we want to work for, can we have a meeting?”….

…In each reply I’ve laboured on the fact that its not a chore, an effort, a bloody waste of time nurturing new talent, its a privilege. Its true, if you’re going to apply yourself and apply for an ad you should do some bloody research too, might get you a bit further than the classic opener I hate with a passion; “To Whom it May Concern” but thats how you get through the volume so quickly. The ones who make an impression, make me go ‘nice’ or ‘wow’ or ‘must have this person in my business!’ normally don’t send me a CV, they send me a story about them, I love a good story!

But everyone keeps telling me there is a shortage in skills and desire to work with ‘generation Y’ the glory seekers, the generation that missed the phrase ‘work for a living’ as they left the school doors, but in all honesty, this past week, I’ve been blown away by the guys and girls I’ve seen. Not necessarily polished, but they’ve got drive and desire t0 excel by the boatload and prepared to work for it.

I’m off to Chicago in a few hours, I’d booked a room in a Premier Inn on the way down on the train, quick stop gap from pub to bed to airport, but as I landed into St Pancras at 12pm (which is unusual for me coming in rather than going out) I walked past too many homeless people, it was horrible seeing them crammed in door ways and under cardboard, ‘circumstance not individuals’ the guys in New Horizons told me a few weeks ago, the kids we try to help are in ‘circumstances’ whether thats upbringing, fallen into the wrong crowd, addictions, its all irrelevant if you look through it all into the person. Remove the circumstance, see the possibilities.

A lovely chap called Tony is currently in my room (hopefully still on his own and not raving it up with loads of his mates or that’s my credit card done for) he was the third guy I offered the room too, but the first one to think I was being serious. I saw a great news report today on the BBC where an experimental group had put £5 notes on a board and a note to say ‘take me if you need me’ (or similar) and the generosity in Manchester was amazing. Guess it made me think, act, do. That and I remember Ellie disappearing for hours some weeks ago handing out burgers, bare foot in King Cross…(she’s got the title loon for a reason)…

There are two upsides to it.

I’m still working and can sleep on the flight / fall asleep at this table in a nice warm pub and Tony is going to get at least one decent nights sleep and a shower. He’s got two kids, hasn’t seen them for a while, been on the streets long enough to know what he’s doing, but doesn’t know how to get off them. Maybe taking him out of the circumstance for a few hours will make him think differently? Who knows. Maybe it will be a disaster.

I get to see my babies and my beautiful ‘significant other’ in 5 days time….

…life is for living :)


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