M&C Report talks to Daniel Spinath, managing director and founder of Crepeaffaire, the quick-serve creperie group, and co-founder of wine tap concept Frizzenti, 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? Look around and shamelessly steal. Consumers are increasingly looking for an experience when they eat out, not just a meal. It is crucial for the industry to single-mindedly focus on what makes the consumer tick (which is not always evident in new categories – the consumer doesn’t necessarily know what she’s missing when it’s not there) and act on it through all elements of the marketing mix. This requires intuition, research and the guts to “shamelessly steal” (or more diplomatically put: “search and re-apply”) from seemingly unrelated categories and translate findings into actions.

What single action could Government make that would make a difference? Review and reform VAT. The system is out-dated, complicated and full of inconsistencies. Simplicity and transparency will result in better consumer value and cost savings to the industry.

What is your top priority? Surprise and delight – which implies learning and trying to get better all the time.

What has been your best investment? (Cautious) expansion during the recession – consequently finding out that consumers are very ready to sensibly spend on so-called “discretionary items” when times are tough as long as they enjoy the experience.

What has been your best business decision? Quitting the corporate world to become an entrepreneur.

How much has your business changed to combat the recession? It’s become more customer focused and sharper. It’s shifted our thinking from expansion at all cost to getting more out of the existing assets. I believe our brands have enormous potential, upwards and side-ways, and the “crisis” has certainly broadened our thinking.

Who is doing something special in the industry? I think the whole UK leisure industry is a winner. It’s incredible how over the past 20 years or so the metropolitan  food landscape has changed from general blandness to a hotbed of exciting concepts, blowing away traditional foodie cities. “Made in London” today has great value which can be and is leveraged all over the world.

Most admired brand? Disney. Not for its food, but for its capacity to build an empire out of a mouse. Literally.

Who has been the most influential person in your career? Hard to say. Learned a lot from some very smart people, but in the end you need to make your own mistakes.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Follow your passion and have a healthy disrespect for the norm.