My biggest mistake: Lack of confidence that left us behind and in the soup
Wednesday 17 November 1999
MY BIGGEST mistake was missing an opportunity - failing to open soup bars six or seven years ago, when we first had the idea. Now we'll have two in the Millennium Dome and we've just opened our fifth one, on Fleet Street. But we have only just got into it.
When I joined the company in mid-1994, we used to discuss the idea of setting up restaurants or bars at almost every board meeting. We thought we could make a success of this concept. But we also realised our expertise was in marketing, and we were all nervous about maybe losing a fortune.
We were doing a lot of other things that took up our time, so we never got round to doing it. We all thought it was a good idea, but somebody should have taken responsibility and done it, even if the timing wasn't quite right. Then in 1996 we began to set up kiosks in railway stations, but we didn't prioritise it properly. When I became managing director in 1998, I wanted to a new strategy and bars seemed one of the greatest opportunities - we'd already seen the success of the coffee bars.
When I joined the company, we were struggling to find the money to market our soups. The ironic thing is that our soup bars are the best 3-D advertisement. We always get more people ringing up to say they tasted our soups in a bar than those that saw an advert of ours.
We opened our first bar in April this year on Marylebone High Street; if I had known the concept would work so well, we could have had 100 by now. We could have been the ones to pioneer the cafe concept. If you spot something and you genuinely believe in it, then you've got to go for it. If someone does it before you, you'll be kicking yourself. Provided you plan carefully and don't take undue risks, you can't really lose.
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...