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BROADWAY DELI

OPENED 2002, COTSWOLDS, UK

Interview with: Louise and Alan from Broadway Deli

Visiting Broadway Deli is one of those special experiences that you remember for a long time to come. The drive in alone, through the cosy Cotswolds lanes lined with perfectly quaint cottages is enough to make you want to pack up your home-brew kit and move to the country. And then you get to the Deli itself. Amongst the many shelves piled high with the best local produce and continental delicacies, you will find owners Louise and Alan working closely with their team to provide the best customer service and top quality brunch. Their hands on approach to staff recruitment and mentorship has led to something pretty incredible - a business where loyalty actually means something.

"Just because your business is small doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a professional approach to everything. Do your research and make sure that you operate correctly in such areas as finance, human resources, and legal responsibilities.”

Louise and Alan with one of their favourite regulars, Nuala

What are the key advantages to basing yourself outside of the big city? What are the challenges?

We previously lived in London working very different jobs. One of the key advantages to Broadway is the 5 minute commute from home to work, as it felt like we had spent the best part of 20 years at Baker Street station! The area is quiet and beautiful, and much less stressful. Despite Broadway’s high visitor numbers, it is still a place with a real sense of community. It is also quite eccentric, which we love! We have a diverse customer base which allows us the opportunity to get to know really interesting people – from farmers, stonemasons and vets to politicians, rock stars, Lords and everyone in between. Staff turnover is much lower than London, and most people stay in jobs much longer.

Fifteen years ago, the challenge was finding suppliers who would deliver from London to Hicksville! However, this has become much less of a problem as more and more great places are established in rural communities. Another challenge when seeking to set up in a rural area is convincing the locals that you are committed to staying. For us, it has been vitally important to work in the business ourselves so that people know and trust us. Once established, this trust transfers to other members of staff and you don’t have to be on the shop floor 7 days a week. We still work very hard at trying to provide the sort of establishment we would like to shop in and eat in. The biggest challenge now is to continue to be really good, every day.

Broadway Deli turns 15 this year and you have team members who have been with you for over a decade. What’s the secret to long-term retention of young talent?

We love working with young talent as they see everything with fresh eyes and bring ideas, energy and enthusiasm. It is so easy to teach them to make great coffee as they come with no preconceived ideas and follow the instructions to the letter, which is a trainer’s dream.

In 2006, Billy came to us as a sparky 15 year old Saturday boy. He found an enthusiasm and talent for coffee and has been with us ever since. We are well set up to train youngsters now so we take on Saturday boys and girls from 15 years old, train them to do everything and hopefully keep them as weekend and holiday workers right through school and university. They are a readymade workforce for our busiest times. It’s lovely to see them grow and develop into well -rounded adults.

We also have great success in providing a real career option for those who choose not to go to university, but to enter the workplace instead. We try to develop their natural strengths and find a role which is best suited to their talents, whilst continuing their professional education and development. We try to make our organisation a happy and interesting place to spend time, reward them fairly for what they do (amazing complimentary lunches and coffee – what’s not to like?) and we purposefully encourage the feeling of “Deli family”. We have regular team meetings and we always listen to our team’s ideas. We hope that all staff feel they can have a positive, constructive input into their workplace.

Tell us about your unique family based recruitment philosophy.

Basically we just look for youngsters from nice families then employ all their siblings! Our first Saturday girl Anna arrived for her interview on roller skates, fizzing with energy and enthusiasm. She was the eldest of 3 and we have subsequently employed her sister and brother, all of whom have been model employees and the best fun. All three are very much still part of the Deli family, even though they have careers elsewhere. We currently employ a pair of brothers, a pair of sisters, a mother and son and a pair of cousins. This is yet another benefit of a rural community!

Billy - Operations Director and longest standing employee.

The team at Broadway are trained across multiple sections – front of house, barista and kitchen. What’s the idea behind having the team trained up across all areas of the business?

Our multi-talented team allows us to be flexible and ready for all challenges. It brings each team member a greater understanding of how the business works and the importance of each area contributing to the whole effect. Doing another team member’s job gives you a real understanding of the challenges, rewards and stresses they experience and makes you considerate and respectful of your colleagues. If we are without a KP at any time we always organise a rota so each team member, including us, will spend an hour of the day pot washing, checking in deliveries, making juices, etc. Front of house team members providing kitchen cover also breaks down any barriers and makes everyone work as one big team pulling in the same direction.

Have there been big milestones along the way? How have you stayed relevant and maintained your reputation as the ‘best deli in the Cotswolds’?

Thank you for that! The biggest milestone for us was being offered the opportunity to move into our current premises four years ago. This took us from a small high street shop with a couple of tables to a much bigger organisation with a dedicated café area and space to expand all our ranges. We were lucky enough to recruit three of our fantastic team at that time to make the transition easier with their knowledge and ideas.

Our talented staff keep us relevant and push us hard to achieve bigger and better in all areas. We feel it is important to continually research and push boundaries and not rest on your laurels just making the same offer without deviation.

What’s your advice to business owners in their first few years of business?

  1. Be prepared to work harder than you ever have, and know your business inside-out.
  2. Be very clear about your vision for the business and what you would like to achieve. Your customers need to feel welcome in your business and have many reasons to return.
  3. From day one, have a full understanding of the bookkeeping and accounting. You can identify and rectify any problems quickly and easily if you understand the books.
  4.  Just because your business is small doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a professional approach to everything. Do your research and make sure that you operate correctly in such areas as finance, human resources, and legal responsibilities. If you are a sole trader, you will just have to wear many different hats, which will be hard work. The internet is an amazing resource.
  5. Recruit your staff carefully. Once you identify a role make sure you know what salary you can afford and write a job description and person specification. This seems time consuming when you “just need some help” but will provide you with a basis for employing the best person for the job and help you avoid mistakes. As the expert in your business, you will be able to teach most skills needed so it may be better to concentrate on good manners and work ethic.
  6. Invest in your staff. Continuing professional development is vital.
  7. Constantly monitor what you do and how your staff perform and always be looking for improvements.
  8. Enjoy it! Running your own business should be fulfilling, interesting and fun as well as earning you a living.