Although I have always had a vested interest in digital gadgets, websites and phone apps, I have had a host of other life experiences before and during my entrance into the digital revolution. This journey has steered me to where I am today, in particular how I approach and apply my knowledge and skills within the digital world.
The Cosy Teapot – After a couple of successful years in catering I fulfilled one of my life ambitions when my wife and I bought a condemned ‘greasy’ cafe and transformed it into a very successful tearoom and restaurant. We had 7 glorious years here before moving on to a new challenge. In that time we received numerous accolades and reviews, making our way into the AA and M&S’s ‘Top 100 Tearooms in the British Isles’ publication. This was achieved through hard work, commitment and a visionary approach that combined traditional values with modern techniques in digital media and advertising. We also brought new concepts to an established marketplace; combining all these with all the finer points of customer service proved to be a recipe for success.
Moordown (MAFC) – I have always adopted a belief that I should give back to the community wherever possible, so it made perfect sense when my children started doing sports, scouts and school that I helped out where and when possible. So naturally, I took on a role training children’s football when my oldest son started to play. Because of weekend commitments to the Cosy Teapot, myself and a friend trained all the club’s children from 5 -8 years old. Our role was to recruit voluntary managers and coaches to take each team into the league setup. Before long I was producing the club’s magazine, website, events and a host of other fun duties. Being an advocate for ensuring football is fun for the children AND against unruly, often abusive supporters, I adopted and implemented techniques for both. This helped ensure that MAFC received praise and recognition from the Football Association and gained all its community and fair play badges.
Salvos’s Italian Restaurant Leeds – Helping transform this popular restaurant into an award winning national treasure, which went on to win Gordon Ramsay’s ‘best local Italian restaurant of the year’ and several other prestigious awards. As the Manager I worked closely with the owners. Together, we took Salvo’s from a restaurant which already had a strong client base with excellent reputation for its food, to becoming one of Yorkshire’s finest establishments. This was achieved by examining all the aspects of the User Experience (UX) and addressing each to achieve the maximum potential. By adopting this approach, we created an unforgettable dining adventure for each and every customer, which in turn led to an even greater success for the business. The owners had another restaurant and nightclub where they got me to oversee operations during the setup phase. This enabled me to have a deeper insight into the financial dealings and office requirements. If you are ever in Leeds be sure to pay this fantastic restaurant a visit.
First Direct Bank – Before buying the Café I also worked part-time at First Direct as an outbound sales representative. Within my first year I was promoted to a full-time Team Leader for the insurance and the mortgage departments. Responsibilities included leading and motivating a team to reach and exceed their sales targets by focussing on excellent customer service. I achieved this through staff training and producing fun incentive schemes. It was here that my love for the digital world took off as I produced departmental wide fun magazines and imaginative incentive games. I also undertook computing courses, which lead me to produce data-capturing spreadsheets that went on to be used HSBC wide.
QE2 – From the first moment I saw the QE2 cruise liner pull into Southampton harbour aged 15, I knew I had to be onboard and travel the world in style. After attending catering college and working in the catering trade for 2 years I found myself sailing the seven seas aboard this majestic giant of the oceans. Experiencing hundreds of different cultures, and working with people of all ethnicities, helped mould my positive outlook on life, and attributed to the strong communication, social and adaptability skills I have today.