M&C Report talks Jake Bishop, operations director at Loungers, the award-winning café bar operator, about his best investment, his best business decision, and the best piece of advice he’s ever received

What is the most important action the industry can take to encourage the consumer? Drive hospitality. NB this is not service.

What single action could Government make that would make a difference? Investing in the workers and customers of the future. Investment in catering at school level, see St Katherine’s school in North Somerset as an example – Awesome set up of 12 screen teaching kitchen, cook kitchen and restaurant, the whole school will grow up with a culture of dining out, quality, standards as well as accredited skill set.

What is your top priority? Hospitality

What has been your best investment? £10k for a third of a set-up of a small café bar back in 2002.

What has been your best business decision? Agreeing to invest in a site that could have done 2,000 covers in a week or it could have done 2. Opening Seco Lounge in Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

How much has your business changed to combat the recession? We have always been very mindful of recession, and spent a lot of effort and energy pre 2008 locking down our product offer for quality and VFM, it’s been a core business principle ever since and always will be.

Who is doing something special in the industry? Charlie McVeigh for his passion for all things great and being such a great industry character

Most admired brand? MeatLiquor group – just for doing it their way

Who has been the most influential in your career? Wow, you can learn an awful lot from a lot of people covering many different aspects of catering. For me the biggest lesson was working hard and honestly for a crazy GM called Ed Brown at a chain called Hullaballoos in the late 90’s. Ed was borderline institutional, but catering through and through.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Two different conflicting pieces – Retail is detail and don’t sweat the small stuff. Pretty much covers it.