James O’Connell has been my business coach since July 2014. After 19 years in Hospitality, and 9 years of business ownership, I needed something to help me get to the next level of business understanding. James’ coaching is an education far more valuable than my formal qualifications. His way of viewing business has transformed me into the CEO of my company and not just my own restaurant manager.
James’ systemised approach allows me to work on, and not in, my business on a daily basis. He has encouraged and motivated me through major system changes that have allowed me to develop the tools to empower my leaders to do much of the operational roles within our company, freeing me to work toward my larger development goals.
The fundamental changes, he has encouraged my management team and I to embrace, have had a phenomenal impact on our turnover growth, profit, and the entire way we approach business. The long term direction and development of our company is now an achievable goal. No longer just hopes and dreams.
Having James’ as my coach has allowed me to teach my team how the business works from the inside in a way that they understand. Not being able to pay people for what they achieve in the hospitality is, in my mind, one of the great downfalls of the industry and personally something I have struggled with. For the first time in my business, I am able to reward my staff financially for their achievements. Watching their professional development has been the highlight of my career. I’m sure they are even walking taller!
James’ no fluff approach makes each session valuable and worthwhile. I would highly recommend James’ for his experience, expertise, ongoing interest in cutting edge systems, developments within the industry and passion for the human resource development of any business.
James runs regular professional development webinars for the Restaurant Association. In that our members (owners of restaurants and cafes) are scattered throughout the country, attending regular workshops is not always possible, and our online training has become a valuable resource.
James has run a number of courses including ‘Marketing Right and Measure Your Success’, ‘Systems = Success’ and is putting together a 2015 presentation on managing wages costs and implementing training systems.
James presentation style is direct and cuts through consultant jargon that often frustrates time poor hospitality operators. Having experience in the industry means that the information he shares is relevant, and feedback from members has been consistently positive.
James’s advice and systems are simple, easily implemented and deliver instant results for hospitality businesses. His advice is a great investment.
James O’Connell has been my business mentor and consultant for the past 5 months. I have found James to be invaluable to me as a financial and business consultant. As a business owner, his mentoring has been focussed on my particular needs and requirements. He has an engaging personality, great sense of humour and a keen intellect. A straight talker who wants his client to be challenged and to grow. I have seen myself flourish under his tutelage and have no hesitation in recommending James to any prospective clients.
Around two years ago the business I am part of partnered with James O’Connell and the Hospitality Company. I can easily say that in my 14 years in Hospitality this partnership has been one of those game changing events for both myself and my company. All my senior management now have regular scheduled coaching sessions with James and our growth as a business and as a team is astronomical. I am an avid advocate of The Hospitality Company and would strongly recommend to all which wish to not just work in Hospitality but to lead in hospitality to give this man a call. What has two years working alongside James done for me? That’s easy… Sales Increased, Profitability Increased, Turnover of team members halved, marketing leads and conversation rates increased, Wage Costs, COGS as a percentage to sales decreased, but more in importantly the Market Value and Personal Development of myself and my team has at least doubled. I am proud to say that I am the General Manager of 35 Degrees South Aquarium Restaurant & Alongside All Day Dining and that I work in and for a profitable turnkey business, alongside a team of world class professionals, serving world class food and service in a fun, innovative and exciting environment and that the Hospitality Company has supported me in developing that business to which I am so proud. The difference between Ordinary and Extraordinary is just adding that little ‘extra’, James O’Connell and The Hospitality Company will add that extra to you, your team and your business.
I have been working with James O’Connell for 12 months; he has become an important part of my business, both as a mentor, and business consultant. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry is second to none. He manages to combine the principles of business as well as dealing with issues as my needs require. He has a positive and vibrant personality and speaks honestly. He continues to encourage and challenge me to take the necessary actions for improving and growing my business.
If you are looking for someone to help you grow your business, James is the man.
Before working with James this would have been an incredibly stressful experience for me and, I felt, not good for our restaurant, because without me ‘no-one’ was keeping an eye on everyone/thing. This time I happily jumped at the chance after a relaxing wine sitting in our bar. This is a new experience for me. I can now sit in either of our two venues, and enjoy socialising with friends and family, and not feel I have to jump up every 5 minutes to correct something.
With James’ help, I worked hard on our business rather than in it, and while it’s taken time, we now have completed the system for our Sales Team and Kitchen Team without too much work for our Marketing and Admin Teams. Our average sale has increased $8 per person in the last 3 months, and as we recruit our 45 new staff for the summer, they are slotting seamlessly into our business. While plenty of people are complaining about the worst winter ever we have been up on last year every month except one, and in some cases twice what we turned over in 2013.
I now take time with the most important people in my business, but I also have time to coach all my teams and help them work towards their goals which in turn has made them excited about our business vision. Next month we have 7 staff doing ‘Stoptober’, 8 staff have signed up to our local gym on a rate we negotiated for them and we have a staff room with a fruit bowl! Our staff turnover rate is down, sick days are down, and we now have a really fun place to work, because everyone knows what is expected of them and when.
Nine months ago this was a complete fantasy, and there were days when I looked at our vision and thought we have so much to do, but we are now heading down the right road to our destination and even better our entire staff is onboard. Once I completed coaching with James we moved on to coaching for our General Manager; the changes were so immediate and positive we now use James to coach our entire management team. The difference has been remarkable, and selfishly, the best thing I could have done for my stress levels and my personal life. I now spend 2 days every week with my husband and daughter rather than 7 days a week
at the restaurant plus I have time for community work again.
So get talking to James, some days he tells me things I don’t want to hear, but they are things I need to be told. James is also a great
sounding board for every issue you are having in the business and happily shares his experience, but is also happy to go away and
research for you if he hasn’t come across the issue before. Every session I come out with a massive list of ‘to do’s’ on my business
plus some great personal development tools. My management team are always chomping at the bit to get the next session with James. They come out energised, positive and ready to effect positive change in our business. I am looking forward to our busy summer season with excitement because I can’t wait to see what the business does after all these changes. I’m also looking forward to more time at the beach even as our business does better.
We used James for our hospitality business Cook Brothers Bars for a number of years. He helped us to define how we could create very happy customers in our businesses and the systems and processes that could help us achieve this consistently. These systems and processes are now an integral part of our business and we now have a way of measuring just about all of the key indicators for each of our sites. We no longer make decisions based on a whim, but objectively and the outcome of this has been far more profitability and far less operational headaches.
There is nothing like an outside set of eyes looking at your operation and challenging the way you are currently doing things to help you see things clearer yourself.