Meet the MD of Broderick's
Thank you so much for joining me John - tell me more about Broderick’s.
It’s a pleasure! My father, John Broderick snr, who is now our company chairman, founded the business back in the 1960s when the vending sector was quite a different world. In those days we were called Manchester Vending and operated mainly in the Manchester area, expanding into the North West a few years later. Now of course it’s a UK-wide company.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. Who or what inspired you to get started?
The individual who has inspired me most in my business life has to be my dad. I come from good Northern working-class stock and my Dad is a real grafter, building the company to provide for his family. Despite his success he remains very humble in his outlook and he doesn’t seem to appreciate what a tremendous talent he has for business.
Dad’s no-nonsense attitude has always inspired me to continue in his footsteps, so when he passed the baton on for the day-to-day running of the business to myself & my brother Peter, I felt my generation owed it to him to build on his business success. He also instilled in me that I should never lose sight of the fact that we’re extremely fortunate, so we must always give something back to the community: this has always been very important to Dad & everyone at Broderick’s.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
We’re leaders rather than followers, always prepared to challenge the status quo. Innovation is our byword and we believe that actions speak louder than words. At Broderick’s we’ve celebrated many ‘firsts’ for vending in the UK – whether that’s in terms of technology, sustainability or product offerings. We’re a flexible organisation and continue to invest in our company and our clients. Investment in new technology is very important to Broderick’s – not just because we want to see shiny new tech in our offices, it’s because it enables us to do so much more for the business. We welcome positive change in a sector that in the past has perhaps been regarded as a little reactionary & old fashioned.
What’s the single most important decision that you made, that contributed to your business?
I’d say serious investment in technology – it has set us apart from many of our competitors in terms of the customer experience. It makes me proud that we’ve become pioneers in our sector, continually leading the way. I’m on a mission to change the face of vending and we’re getting #vendingtrending.
Having said that our decision to diversify into café bars as well as our core vending activities has also paid off and re-branding the business as Broderick’s to launch a truly national operation.
What are the lessons that your working life has taught you?
I’d say getting the right team together is so important as all the business nous in the world isn’t going to help you if you have a disengaged workforce and people who aren’t up to their roles. In this respect I’d say it pays to be guided by your own instincts and recruit people who believe in the business and share your passion and persistence.
How did you conquer those moments of doubt that so often affect entrepreneurs or stop many with great ideas – what pushes you through?
Persistence pushes me through and surrounding myself with people who share my passion for the business, whether that’s family or employees. As far as self-doubt is concerned I act incisively but always weigh up the situation carefully before making a big decision. Having said that my view is don’t be afraid of making mistakes, as if you don’t make the odd error here or there you’ll never learn or progress.
Who is your target audience?
Everyone from multinational snacking brands through to artisan snack foods start- ups as far as our bespoke vending portfolio is concerned. Out in the field we provide a service to organisations in all sectors from hospitals to universities, libraries, office blocks and large corporate employers. We also see their employees and visitors as our customers, as they’re the ones we need to engage with to ensure that sales are generated at each and every site.
As far as our famous Broderick’s coffee shop at Manchester Airport’s T2 is concerned, our customers come from all walks of life, from tourists to business travellers and airport employees.
What would be your key tips for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Research your marketplace, work hard, keep your eye on the ball and surround yourself with good people, don’t be afraid of making the occasional mistake, embrace change, learn from each and every experience and never give up.
What’s first in the mornings, phone, book, laptop or me time?
Me time, with a cup of coffee – usually my favourite early morning latte. I’m not a great sleeper so I’m up early and raring to go once I’ve had that all-important first cup of coffee.
What plans do you have for Broderick’s over the coming 12 months?
There’s lots in the mix – ranging from more developments on our vending industry first the Broderick’s Pay 4 Vend loyalty app, designed with time-poor technology savvy millennials in mind.
We have some major new developments in the pipeline on sustainability and also on the healthy snacking side of our business. There’s more news on our state of the art, point of purchase advertising channel Broderick’s Media Vend too!
We’re also continually raising the bar in terms of vending product quality with barrista quality coffee and leaf teas the Broderick’s norm, we’re always looking at new and exciting ways in which to enhance the customer experience. For example, the Broderick’s Better for You healthy eating proposition will be big in 2018.
What’s the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?
Whether they can do anything better or smarter, whether they are surrounding themselves with the right calibre of people and where they want to be in 1, 2 5 or 10 years.
How do you believe the evolution of tech will affect your industry over the next 10 years?
At Broderick’s we’re leading the way with the state of the art SMART vending machines, our own Media Vend point of purchase advertising channel and we’re looking at the very latest security measures such as iris recognition for our services.
Cashless vending and being able to order in advance from your desk system that we’ve recently introduced will be big influencers too.
I’d say that other companies may follow Broderick’s lead on these technological innovations, but I think the biggest change will be in terms of data capture capabilities. With the launch of our Pay 4 Vend app we can provide brand owners with real- time data on customer buying habits that they can use to inform their marketing planning.
Recharging every so often, especially as an entrepreneur is important. How do you recharge when you’re feeling burnt out?
I enjoy playing the piano, the occasional game of badminton and spending time socialising with family & friends. I also like some time in the sun.
What habits do you think helped you to become successful?
Never, ever giving up, working hard and listening to people who I feel know more than me!
What are your thoughts on networking to build your business?
It’s absolutely vital: you’re in danger of operating in a bubble if you don’t. New people with fresh ideas are great to bounce off and bring a fresh perspective to a business opportunity or challenge.
How did you build such an amazing culture around your brand?
I’ve definitely followed my dad’s lead on that. It’s a family firm and we have always believed that our employees are like members of our extended family. We work hard, we have shared values and enjoy each other’s company at work and at play. Our regular community and fundraising activities are great in themselves and also help us to strengthen that Broderick’s bond.
What would be your top marketing tips, to grow a business that is so niche, yet incredibly timeless?
Be mindful that your business needs to ‘look the business’ in terms of branding & presentation and offer the best customer experience possible in terms of product quality, breadth of choice, technological advances and service. You also need to communicate all of the elements that make your company special and set it apart from the pack. Our app for example, puts our customers first and creates a totally frictionless buying experience that gives back and rewards loyalty too.
What are your thoughts on failure as an entrepreneur?
Never, ever give up as failure for me isn’t an option! Surround yourself with good people and advisors in every part of the business. Whenever you encounter setbacks along the way, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get back in the thick of it.
For more information, call John Broderick on 0161 945 2020 or visit: www.brodericksapp.co.uk