HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, Australia

Jay Giles, Operations Manager, Raw Energy Cafes

On honesty, support, and competition.

QSR Media: What makes you excited about your position?

Jay Giles: I’ve always loved pushing boundaries in healthy eating, so this position with Raw Energy Cafes really gives me the chance to reach such a broader audience, bigger than I ever imagined. Being local to the Sunshine Coast where Raw was first started I’ve always loved it, so I’m extremely excited to be heavily involved in the growth of the brand. The brand and concept has so much potential in today’s more health conscious culture.

QSR Media: What are your key business philosophies?

Giles: I feel it’s as simple as remaining honest. Honest to the brand, honest to our franchisees, and most importantly, honest to the public with what we promise to provide.

QSR Media: What three goals are you focused on? 

Giles: 1) Ensure the best support for our franchisees

Since coming on board, my focus has been to simply establish and build relationships with our Franchisees. Find out what we can do to assist them and help them realise their business goals. They’re the ones who are on the frontline for our brand, so we need to provide the right support so they ca do their job right. They do an incredible job, every day. Hospitality is a tough industry, but so rewarding.

2) Ensure our offering meets market demand

Having run a number of my own cafes in London, I know how important menu development is in maintaining a customer base and ensuring loyalty. With this in mind I set about tweaking the menu a little. It was a chance to remain true to our brand, and push the menu further into a realm that puts us at the forefront of healthy eating and, ultimately, living.

It enabled me to get back to my ‘chef roots’. I always love getting creative with daily specials, and ‘off the menu’ items and this was a chance to get some of those tried and true items into a permanent spot on our menu. 

3) Become market leader

I love all the competition within the healthy food space today, and it is constantly on the rise. It proves there is a wider, growing market of people craving what brand’s like Raw Energy Cafe has to offer. My ultimate goal is to be the competition leader in the Australian wholesome food space. I’m excited by the competition we face, as it brings an awesome sense of motivation to all our stores.

QSR Media: What long-term changes are you planning on? 

Giles: Ultimately, I just want to grow the brand. I want to see Raw Energy Cafes all across Australia, with the long-term option of taking it overseas eventually. I spent seven years in Europe, and a little time in America too and throughout all my travels, I always craved a place like Raw Energy. I want to take this brand to new heights, all the while remaining true to our roots.

QSR Media: What previous positions have prepared you for this one and how?

Giles: Most of my career has been focused on food and retail industries, so I am confident my skills will benefit Raw Energy Café. I’ve worked in many kitchens throughout my career; from beachside cafes, English Golf Clubs, Wedding Venues, right through to food trucks. All that experience helped shape me as a chef and ultimately a business owner. The growing list of chefs I’ve had the chance to work alongside has also helped me grow as a person too. It’s so important to make the most of the people around you, to surround yourself with inspiring, motivated people. I’ve been very lucky to work with some incredible people.

That aside, nothing prepared me more than opening my own cafes. I understand firsthand what it takes to run a successful café and food brand. I poured my heart and soul into these places, that’s why I have so much respect for our Franchisees. I truly understand what it’s like and that makes me very relatable and practical in my role as Operations Manager. I witness every day the passion that goes into all our Raw Energy Cafes, and it’s beautiful to be a part of this business.

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