Marta Pogroszewska is the Managing Director of Gail's, a 50+ unit bakery chain. Prior to Gail’s, Marta worked at Pret A Manger for over 12 years in roles ranging from General Manager to Director of Operations in the US. In this episode, we sat down with Marta to talk the industry, the power of putting people first, leadership, technology and Gail’s approach to expansion.
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Michael Tingsager: 0:59
I'm super excited to welcome Marta to the Hospitality Mavericks podcast who is Marta. She is the MD of Gail's Bakeries - a warm welcome.
Marta Pogroszewska: 1:11
Thank you so much for having me. And we were trying to arrange this for quite a while now. So I'm really happy that we're now here in beautiful Brighton and have an opportunity to talk about the industry and all things.
Michael Tingsager: 1:20
Yeah. And thank you very much for coming down. That's always a pleasure when guests choose to come down and visit you down here at the coast. We're doing recording and Platform-9 and they have like a meeting room where you can look over the town. It's a beautiful view. You can't see much today because it's raining and a bit in the middle of July. So yeah, it's a bit sad today. It's still a lovely place.
Marta Pogroszewska: 1:40
Yeah, it's still not bad anytime when you by the sea it's always good. You can't go wrong with that. But now we have two bakeries here in Brighton, so I have more reasons to come than ever.
Michael Tingsager: 1:51
So for the people who don't know, we'll start with Marta, who Malta is and where she's from, and why she's here. Now with Gail's Bakery, could you give us a bit of enlightenment on that?
Marta Pogroszewska: 2:03
Marta is a very happy person. On a serious note, yeah, I'm really happy. I am on personal level. I'm a mom of 15 years old son, I'm super proud of him. I talk about him a lot. He inspires me to do a lot of things in my life and enjoy my life and make sure that whatever I do has a good purpose. I am now working as an MD of Gail's. I joined Gail's three years ago, my journey in hospitality is quite long. I've been in the industry for 15 years now. I came to London in 2003. So 16 years ago now. And when I came here, I never thought I'm going to end up in hospitality. But in 2004 I joined Pret and I fell in love with Pret as a business but also with the industry. And I've seen a lot of opportunities for growth and a lot of opportunities for myself to embrace my passion for business and everything that I've been studying for for many years.
So I've really enjoyed my job that actually ensured I had something like 14 or 15 different job titles. I grow through ranks. I run operations in the UK and I moved to New York in 2013. I spent the three years with Pret I loved it absolutely and 2016 I made my choices and I decided to come back to London and do something else explore new opportunities and I came across Tom the CEO of Gail's and he inspired me so much I couldn't figure it out at the beginning why, you know, why would do we have this connection? The longer we work with each other the longer I work with him and learn from him understand his values and understand him. The more I understand why did I connect with him in the first place so quickly? And I haven't looked back since I had amazing three years with Gail's I have phenomenal team and really enjoying being here.
Michael Tingsager: 3:49
For the people who wouldn't know what Gail's is? I think most people out there know about Gail's. How many shops do you have now?
Marta Pogroszewska: 3:56
We have 52 and we are opening 53rd in a couple of weeks.
Michael Tingsager: 4:02
What kind of offering is that you do if you were sitting and thinking I've never heard about Gail's?
Marta Pogroszewska: 4:07
If someone never heard of Gail's please get in touch with me through yourself. I will definitely invite anyone who wants to see for themselves and taste for themselves in the first place what Gail's is. We have the most wonderful delicious world-class craft baked food cakes, bread, a really delicious range of salads recently, and we have phenomenal coffee. Our coffee is really one of the best in the market again, craft artisan, super well-executed something that we're really proud of. So I think Gail's is somewhere where you want to be every day. It's a place, it's a team and it's delicious food really.
Michael Tingsager: 4:47
I was quite lucky. So Marta brought me I think this cake in a box. Lots of cake. A cake so somebody's gonna be happy when I bring that home this afternoon. It's gonna be my son going to be very happy, he likes to cake as myself so yeah and for people that haven't tried I can say yet the coffee is quite unique.
Marta Pogroszewska: 5:06
Yeah, the coffee is unique. Yeah, we are very proud of our coffee obviously is a massive part of our of our business but it's really so well done our coffee team and coffee training team and Jessica our head of coffee is doing absolutely fantastic job in training baristas and everyone else in the business pretty much every single manager leader and barista is trained on coffee and in Gail's. So the passion for quality and execution of our coffee is absolutely there as much as the quality of the bean and the milk and everything that goes into it. But Jessica's soul and Jessica's love for coffee really is in you can find it in every single cup of coffee we sell.
Michael Tingsager: 5:39
It's gone really fast with Gail's over the years, I can still remember when I moved back to London in 2013. It was about you know, a couple of handful of shops maybe eight shops or something like that. But it's gotten really fast. Now, you just said shop number 53 is opening, tell us a bit about that. Because it has been a part of the journey where a lot of restaurants opening when we now in a market where nobody's doing anything if they're doing anything that turning out the light in the shops, and you still opening?
Marta Pogroszewska: 6:08
Yeah, we still opening and I think we're just warmed up. To be honest with you. We have great plans ahead of us for the next three years, we just finished building our three year strategy and there is more to come. I can tell you that a lot of people asking the question, why are we growing? And how are we growing? I think how it's probably the easy answer. It's thanks to our teams and under setup that we now have it Gail's you know, we've worked really hard over the last few years to make sure that we build an amazing team that is capable to grow and is ready to grow and wants to work and be in very, very dynamic business that grows quite fast, quite rapidly. It brings its challenges.
But it also brings advantages for people, people's careers and learning opportunities are fantastic. Sometimes pace is high, but those resilient and determined and committed people in the teams we have they absolutely enjoy it. And I think the second part of it is the systems in place and ways of working and all the background that you've set up, in order for business to grow is equally important. And we've worked hard to set ourselves up for growth with a great, you know, ways of working and systems in place.
Michael Tingsager: 7:18
And I guess also, you said it before and I think you're right about that Gail's is the place you want to go every day. So it's a bit like you're not dependent on if it's going up and down because people eat cake and drink coffee every day. If you just execute well on it. That's not a dying trend, I guess.
Marta Pogroszewska: 7:33
Probably people don't eat cake and drink coffee everyday cake maybe not be that thing but they definitely can eat salads can eat delicious brunch and breakfast. And you know, we cater to everything from vegans to really indulgent afternoon treats. So yes, you can pretty much eat at Gail's everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month and you will have a choice to kind of do something else or try something else every day.
Michael Tingsager: 7:57
So with Gail's, you are opening in that speed and you're thinking about like finding the property probably becomes easier. I don't know if it's that's what they're saying out there. What about your team? You mentioned the team before they're ready for growth. There are a lot of people I meet in a moment who talk a lot about it's hard to find the right people and there are not enough people out there who use the word talent crisis. What is your view on that? Because you must hit that wall as well as when you move fast and need to open doors.
Marta Pogroszewska: 8:27
Yeah, I mean, talent crisis. That's that's strong words, I guess. There's one thing that I fundamentally believe in, it's really planning for a really strong succession. And it's not succession to replace people, it's succession to enable enable people to grow and take more and more accountability. So people who we work with and people in our teams can grow simultaneously with with the business. And I think if you have the team that is able to grow themselves, and you are able to help them to grow, and they embrace the skills and embrace the talents, and you kind of harness it and help them develop that what really pushes the growth and that's what really helps helps the business thrive, you know, and you need to look for talent, you need to recruit teams externally, sometimes you need really an injection of new skills, new knowledge, new fresh point of view, and then you probably go outside and look for for those new additional skills that you need for the teams.
But fundamentally, the first and most important thing is to embrace your team and help your team grow with the business and set everything up for them to be successful, then you probably mitigate a little bit of the risk of as you said, dry market, you know, lack of talents on the market, not dependent on anyone else. It doesn't matter what other people are going to do right or wrong. It only matters what you can do right with your team and I stick it out. You know, there's one thing that sometimes we tend to forget, especially in the tougher times, we forget how good people were in the great times and if you can remember that and if you always remember how great your team is when you celebrate when you are successful.
And when you thrive. And in probably weaker moments when you know, when there's a little bit of downtime, you kind of remember this and pull on people's talents and strengths and everything that is good in them, you're gonna pass through the downturn so much faster and so much easier, you will not need to move on with your teams, you just need to remind them and you need to remember how great they are. Pull it out from them. And that's what will take you through through the downturn. So our turnover, because of our approach, because of our commitment to our teams decreased massively. I mean, the numbers we started from I just even it's, I can't even begin telling you where we started with our workflow. But then it was something like 168%. I mean, we are now at third of it.
And it's because of the approach that we have. I don't know if you've heard the saying that culture eats strategy for breakfast. There's this great book," The Mind of the Leader" that I read recently about mindfulness and selflessness, and conscious leadership, and it embraces everything around exactly now that you need to take care of yourself, you need to take care of your team, and you need to take care of your organization equally when you're celebrating and when you're struggling. Because when you're struggling, the great qualities and strengths of your team will take you through. And this is the approach. And going back to your original question. This is my strategy and my plan and my way around, not really having to look for people continuously.
Michael Tingsager: 11:28
Interestingly, you use the word succession. Yeah, it's something I've tried to practice myself and tried to learn the people I work with in my life that the safest way to create a consistent business. So you have a succession plan, or you have that thinking about that one day, they're going to leave us because we only borrowed them. So we have to think about is the next one ready, and it's not about this just a name in a spreadsheet or on a list is do they have the capabilities to step up when they need to step up to always be a gap, but it has to be as small as possible. And that's something I learned, I think you've probably learned that from Pret, I learned McDonald's the importance of that because if you can develop leaders, you can be promoted. That's how it works.
Marta Pogroszewska: 12:07
It's not only the capability but also the willingness. Sometimes people choose to do what they do and choose not to want to grow. And we need to respect that as leaders in any business of any team on any level, it really doesn't matter who you lead. It matters that you respect the motivations and desires that people have. Because you can't push someone to take a job that they don't really want. If someone wants to be the most amazing Baker for the next five years kudos to them. And we have a lot of people who want to stay and be amazing bakers. And we have bakers, who came to Gail's to run bakeries, and they want to manage the bakery and we help those to grow into management roles. But those who want to be the best bakers, become Head bakers, and then they train the talent around them. So it's the respect and recognition for what people want as much as what they are capable of that makes that kind of balance.
Michael Tingsager: 12:57
You also said something that was like sweet music in my head you started with you had to lead yourself. You had another word for it. But is that leading yourself? Then you learn to lead others?
Marta Pogroszewska: 13:07
Michael Tingsager: 13:07
And then you lead the organization. And this is a principle in the way we created our leadership development program as well. Because if you don't start with yourself, where are you then because you are the one they're going to be looking at when the day you go in the door. So leadership is very visible. So you don't have the energy and the power you need and you're not in the right balance. How are you going to actually start leading anyone?
Marta Pogroszewska: 13:29
Absolutely. And also if you expect people to do something else that you do you perceive you believe in a new role model it's never gonna work. It's just becoming fake and you know, unsustainable for in the long term, and people want to enjoy being there. And having that's not what we want, isn't it?
Michael Tingsager: 13:45
No, no, it's interesting when you start working with yourself the power it gives you because the odd to next steps becomes quite easy, you know, because the energy you send out you almost accepted already as the leader without being you know, you don't need the actual to have a shirt on or anything they just note that it's you because the way you enter the room or because you are confident in yourself and you feel good about yourself. So it's very interesting. You said to start there because a lot of training often starts with oh, we're gonna give you some skills in leading teams and how to communicate with people but that's just a step too far. If you're not in control of the other bit, or you can always be better You're never done. Leadership is like a skill on a muscle you keep on training, I call it solving the Rubik's cube you are never done you can always do it faster.
Then you also said something else Marta, you said that even in hard times it's how you in a way see the world you have a circle of influence you in a way say to change that. I think that that was really inspiring as well. So with these things in the arsenal going into the where the industry is now and you like anyone else are probably looking at it and thinking this is quite crazy. What's going on out there. What is your thought about where we are as an industry there's a lot of people have said to me It's about the perfect storm and you know costs workforce, you have Brexit, you have economic uncertainty, you have technology changing the society and our industry, what is your view on all the things? And where do you see we are?
Marta Pogroszewska: 15:14
I'm always a glass-half-full person. We all can choose the perspective that we see the life and the industry and everything. So a lot of perspectives events, from where you look at this, and where you sit, obviously, being at Gail's and being in driving part of the thriving business that grows continuously, we probably look at the world from a little bit different perspective, and we look for opportunities in a different way. And it's sad to see really big brands falling apart and crumbling and disappearing from high streets and from towns and you just kind of wonder what happened, what really went wrong? And what was that that everyone else can learn from what is that everyone else can think about for their businesses to avoid being in the same place? I think the industry is, you know, always will be fluctuating in dynamic hospitality, it's really incredibly dynamic.
The trends and overall visions of different businesses set the tone that constantly changes and trends, the reality around us and the innovation and the influence of technology and influence of the whole world. In especially a place like the UK like London and trends around the world, that will always make it a super dynamic industry. So the change is given. And, and probably is like similar like with business, if you have the team that you believe in if you have the plan that you believe in if you have a very clear vision, and you understand where you're going, and you will set yourself up for it the sky's the limit, the circumstances don't change. I really do believe it doesn't matter what other people are doing wrong, it only matters what you can do
right. You know, and I think in industry, as colleagues, as friends, as everyone together if we helped each other sometimes and maybe had had each other's back in the really tough situations and probably reached out more and had more conversations about, hey, I'm struggling with this. How do you deal with that, hey, I'm looking at this, how do you deal with that it's never good for us to see other businesses falling because it impacts everyone impacts more than the industry and impacts the economy and the best thing we can do to each other to actually help each other. There are many places where Gail's is and thrives thanks to the strong competition that we have around if the competition wasn't as strong around, we wouldn't try to be as good as we are. And also it wasn't brought as many customers as it brings, obviously. So there are different ways of looking at this.
Michael Tingsager: 17:40
And I think you're right, I call it environment predict performance. So if the competition is sharp and moving all the time, you will move with them.
Marta Pogroszewska: 17:48
Marta Pogroszewska: 17:53
And also you don't need to compete against other businesses, you compete with them, you just want to be the best you can be, and everyone else around us just pushing you to be better. It's not about competing against anyone. It's not about being happy when someone you know, when something doesn't go right for someone else, it's incredibly important to remember that, for me and for anyone in the business. I've seen a lot of great teams and great businesses going through some difficulties. And when they asked for help, and when they stick together and have a clear plan they get through it.
Michael Tingsager: 18:26
Yeah, I think one of the things you said that has been quite clear and what we could see when we do some work with people as well, there's that vision of clarity of direction that's often missing. There are a lot of great initiatives, but why are we doing them? And why do we need to go through with this change because we actually need that there needs that this purpose of why are we on the journey? And I think maybe that's sometimes what's going wrong when it really really goes wrong.
Marta Pogroszewska: 18:53
Yeah. And it's so easy to divert from the original vision of the businesses and the original way the division was supposed to be executed. It's just you know, there are so many layers and decision-makers in the businesses, if you even you know, take a traditional hospitality business, you have the CEO, you have management team, you have a number of departments, you have general managers of the sides, and then you have the teams that actually talk to customers.
So this message from the vision from the centre of the purpose of the existence of the business, by the time it gets to the customer is it could be like a bit of a Chinese whisper you know, one person deviates from the vision which is sometimes it's a word sometimes it's a sentence. Sometimes it's just the statement. Sometimes it's you know, unclear communication. And the further you go out from the central vision through all those layers of the business, the more difficult it is to actually deliver it to customers. So it's a really clear focus and strong channels of communication and a very clear plan, as simple as you can. We'll help you sustain this vision and always the vision so all the way it's up to the customer.
Michael Tingsager: 20:00
I totally agree with that. And also like sharing that plan you said and sharing it all the way out to the frontline. So they also understand that they are not just serving coffee they are building a building the church or building a ship. Another thing that's interesting here is the talent crisis we were then talking about a bit before in the industry, I often say to people, I don't think we have a talent crisis, because the same amount of people for everyone, we just as an industry, as you said that this is not good for the industry. What happened? Is the at least just making it like from an employer point of view, or brand point of view, but also I think we often say a bit provocative, we have maybe, and we all are part of that we have a leadership crisis because we need to set a new standard to get people don't leave a business, they leave their manager, what is your view on that? And because I mean, a lot of people in hospitality they often have left because you know just had a very hard time with their boss. Been very unreasonable.
Marta Pogroszewska: 20:57
Yeah, obviously, what I will say first is there are two to tango. So yeah, we are all adults, we all have our vices, and we all need to learn how to manage upwards as well. And we all have bosses of some sort. And sometimes success, we manage this relationship successfully, and sometimes less successfully. And I just want to acknowledge that that is not only the kind of battle, but I totally agree with you that the leadership is instrumental for how successful businesses are and how successful teams are, you know, being able to build a high-performing team that delivers sustainable results. It's not, you know, hullabaloo for a couple of months, great success. And then it fizzles out. It's about really building sustainable, long-term, high-performing teams with a long-term vision. You know, sometimes it's underestimated.
And sometimes people forget about this, and they get lost in the day-to-day reactive business and forget what's the big purpose? And where, really, where are they going? And what are they trying to achieve and pushing the wrong buttons with people and the teams get lost? I think we have all been in the situation somehow sometimes and guilty as charged, probably I wouldn't be surprised if there were times in my career that I've totally created and probably as well. But as you go, you learn and you see what works with the teams. And I think it's one of the biggest joys of our careers in hospitality to actually develop those teams and, and help people succeed and, and see people grow through ranks, you know, the number of successful careers that I that I've observed over the years. It's just incredible. You know, we've recently promoted group manager from bakery manager, one of the bakery managers, Karolina, and I've recruited her as a team member back when I was a manager 10, 12 years ago or something. And she's now here doing phenomenal work. She's excellent. And she was promoted into operations right now. And I know her for all those years.
And I'm not her line-manager, I didn't promote her, she just goes through the ranks and drives her own career and tries to be diverse as she can be opening opportunities for everyone, and she takes them and that's the perfect scenario. You know, next week, I'm going to meet the Director of Operations for a Canadian company, who is coming here just to visit and we're now good friends, but we used to work together when I was Operations Manager back at Pret, that are many, many, many years ago, he joined the team and ran off one of my shops, and now he's super successful drives really great business forward with the owner and is doing really well. Those things make you remember and appreciate the impact that you can make not only on the business, not only on P/Ls, but also on people's lives, on their careers, and they will be very often.
That's why going back to the leadership question if we forget that there is this people element. And if we forget that the career is long, the life is long, the years to come, you know, we don't think about what's going to happen in 2, 3, 4, 5,10 years to those individuals, if we miss lee, we can really impact the lives and their careers in a very negative way. I also for that reason, never hold grudges, you know, we all make mistakes, and we all have to move on as fast as we can. If someone wants to, you know, the biggest joy is to see people grow. And if you can be a mindful leader who is compassionate and can you know, be selflessly supporting others it's it's beautiful. And the results out of that are fantastic.
Michael Tingsager: 24:24
Yeah, it's an art and the same time a science. Many people says to me that you can learn leadership It's a bit like the Rubik's Cube, you can, but it takes practice, as you say, and you will make mistakes. And we all do them. We all made short-term decisions that we look back on afterwards. That was a bad decision or a lost a good person there because there was actually what I did or didn't do. I didn't see. And there's often sometimes what do you don't see I can remember a situation where I was part of a growing business and we forgot the well-performing units because they were just taking care of themselves and then suddenly. They didn't get that, you know, call the love, touch point they needed weekly from any of the senior people.
And suddenly they went for another job, not because you have done anything to them, you just haven't been there. People like to see the boss. So yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And I agree also those two to tango in a way looking at your growth story, and you have that succession planning, what is it that what is the magic thing you do with people in Gail’s? What have you put in place? Do you drive that turnout down? That's tremendous, just from you know, from a cost point of view, but also it's one where you want to use a one a scale, but you have been way off and say you can easily scale units and you can scale people that the hardest bit to get right in the organization. So what is it that what did you think the three magic touch points are that you got right in Gail's that worked really well for you, you guys because I still believe that everybody needs to find their own ingredient for this? There's not a one-fit approach to this.
Marta Pogroszewska: 25:59
I think there is no magic - its the team, I think we've built a great team that really understands those values that Gail’s has thoroughly. And we all do our best to exert the values and role model those values and make sure that we are standing up and leading people by example. And we show them you know what we want to see as well. And I think there were obviously a number of tactics, a number of plans that we've had to drive our succession planning and help people stay with us from trying to find better ways to recruit people and find talent more effectively. We've recruited a phenomenon recruitment manager who, who is helping us with that we've actually put a system in place ATS that helps us with selection, and so on and so on.
So we've really spent a lot of time thinking about recruitment, who do we recruit? How do we recruit? Where do we recruit from what is our perfect, you know, employee, we spent a lot of time on thinking how we train, we've implemented online training platform, we've implemented training courses couple of years ago, you know, we had only a couple of training courses with lots of passion and everything, but we now have a really nice suite of training courses for each role. We have an online training platform, we have quite a significant training team, and we train speciality skills very seriously around food and coffee. And there's a lot of passion and knowledge and skill. Going into this. Going back to coffee. Again, Jessica has really professional accreditation, our training new training centre is being built so we can provide really serious certifications to our teams.
And we really took this seriously. So if you find the right people, if you develop them in the right way, and when you engage with them to want them to stay on with you, you know, and you make sure that they have for pay, you really look into people's well being. And we've done a lot of that we work with Barkbox. And we've put in place grades, you know holiday packages, and we have great rewards and recognition overall for our teams. We have a fantastic platform to get us together on Facebook, where pretty much all our team 85% of our team signed up and it's completely voluntary. We don't tell people they don't have to sign up. It's only if they want to. And you can see the culture there is driven that you can see by the posts, you can see by you know what people talk about can see the mood and if they are happy and what you know, what makes them happy, and what drives the positivity and what drives the engagement. And it's a really important platform for us. I absolutely love it. I can show you some posts later.
And we don't put any kind of regulations. We don't tell people what they can talk about or what they can't we just tell them to sign up if they want and talk about whatever they want. It's just fantastic to see what people are proud of the pride of great coffees is that they deliver great teams have team events, staff meetings, successes, sales records, and super P&L promotions, that's what people talk about all the time. So they engaged and they emotionally invested in the teams invested in Gail’s invested in our food, bakers are so proud to engage with the new food launches and help us drive the food knowledge across the business and they talk about it all the time. Everyone talks about whatever they want. And the subjects are just clearly telling me that the teams are generally really engaged. The other thing that we do is we have something called Gail's quarterly awards. So every quarter we get all the managers together and all the Office team together and twice a year.
Michael Tingsager: 29:32
I have seen via LinkedIn looks quite good fun.
Marta Pogroszewska: 29:35
It's fantastic. So twice a year we have a shorter event and twice a year. After we finish our awards evening we invite all the teams from all shops for the summer party and the Christmas party and everyone comes together and we have loads of fun at Gail's quarterly awards. We celebrate success if a little bit of you know business briefing, but we celebrate success and we kind of set up an example of what's important to us and we say to the teams, this is amazing, do more of that. And that was amazing. Do more of this. So it's not only nicey-nicey. And you know, celebration, it has a very clear purpose to help people understand what do we look, what are we looking for? What is the excellence that we're looking for? What would we mean, you know, by someone being great at something, and this, and I think this is really a pride moment for people to be recognized.
And we not only recognizing the bakeries, and the managers, I cannot stress enough how important is for us to recognize all the people in the office and in support departments, sometimes those teams are completely forgotten because they work in the background and there is nothing was the divide between us and them in any business. Obviously, we know that it's so easy to just take things for granted that people in different departments are doing. To enable Baker's to succeed, we take it very, very seriously. And it's a matter of pride for us to reward everyone in the business for things that were exceptional in a given quarter, and all the effort that they've put into helping bakeries and helping Gail's succeed.
And obviously, we have so much fun, and we have wine, and we have food and, and all that it's it's one of my favourite days in the quarter, obviously. And thankfully, Touchwood, we have great results to celebrate, we had another, you know, the best quarter ever, as we've said, to celebrate. So it's good, it's a good opportunity to help everyone lead this team has set them for the next quarter and get back to the Baker's a couple of days after and get back on the journey and keep growing the business. That's the that's the thinking. So I think, all in all, it starts from finding the right talent, training and developing your teams, and engaging with them.
But genuinely engaging, not creating fake things and like channels that don't take you anywhere, genuinely listening to your teams, and genuinely embracing your teams to engage with them. And that's how they stay. That's how you retain your team. And I think it's it's quite simple and quite obvious. And when you say it sounds very easy. But it takes a great team to actually deliver this and I'm so lucky. I'm so lucky. We have fantastic teams with Gail's.
Michael Tingsager: 32:14
Yes, you say it sounds so simple. And I know for myself, that it can be simple to make that plan on a piece of paper but get that together and create that kind of thing. I think there's something really important you said is that it's important to make it very clear how success looks because I tried that in different roles within hospitality outside of hospitality where I felt this bit uncertain about what success looks like for me in this role, and then you just set up to fail in a way you can never become good and that's the company or the leader's responsibility to be very clear about your success when you hit these three top things decently three top things in your job when you learn that and I think also one of the things that I thought was really cool was that you do the celebration, but you also just clarify where you are on the journey. And I think that again and again, people that know they can follow that, especially the managers that have to go out and lift the cultures out in the stores, which can be tough sometimes you know, there are some days were just not going as you wanted to and firefighting and you know a water leak or three people are ill or the bread didn't show up or the coffee machine doesn't work all the things is easier when you know the is something to celebrate later.
Marta Pogroszewska: 33:29
Absolutely. But those tough moments and you know, in, in the bakeries in hospitality in any hospitality business. It also reminded us about all the great things that happen and all the successes you've had. But in tough moments, the best leaders will make it feel like it's seamless. So I had a situation and one of our bakers, the new manager joined and she was absolutely excellent. The team was a bit distressed and you know, needed love and help and it was like the first week after her full training and induction and they had quite challenging mornings. Something didn't come you know, overnight, something happened flood, whatever, you name it, they got it. It's one of my local bakeries. It was the Saturday maybe I don't know 10 o'clock in the morning.
Michael Tingsager: 34:12
Who wants to see the MD coming?
Marta Pogroszewska: 34:15
No one is faced by me coming that's not like you know, it's not rare. I work from the Baker's basically and it's how you guys say Oh, we great and I just wanted to give them a hug. I got to do some chuckles Oh my god, I'm sure you know, you survived the morning well done for getting through it. And they were like, We great you know, she really helped us with everything. We have the best manager ever. She just makes she made all the problems go away. She set us up for success and we know what we're doing. So it was the toughest but the best day we've had for many, many months. And that's the statement of the tragedy that if you can make a difficult situation the best situation, you know you're onto something good and you know if you surround yourself with people Well, like the other the have resilience have vision can find a solution very easily. It's the best recipe for success. Otherwise, all of us wouldn't need to be here. If things would get taken care of themselves, isn't it?
Michael Tingsager: 35:11
Then then you've done your job I normally say.
Marta Pogroszewska: 35:13
No, no one is, I mean, none of those jobs needed that.
Michael Tingsager: 35:18
That was another interesting you said that we really spend a lot of time getting recruitment. right?
Marta Pogroszewska: 35:23
Michael Tingsager: 35:24
And you mentioned getting the profile, right? Because that's where I see often, you know, they have all the right processes and systems and all the ATS and all those kinds of things. First, the second interview, training, trial shift, and all that, but they often don't that why what character are we looking for what really fits in this team? What would fit really well with the demographics of this area I think there's one core thing when recruitment gets right is that you understand what you're looking for, and what is missing in that team. But I was never lucky to get out. I was not for apparently not a good enough fit for prep for many reasons. But I applied for a job when I moved here.
And I was actually told that of all the candidates was to candidates, me and another one, but the other one just had a bit of fit from the customer and the area they got to manage. And that just gave sense. For me. It was not I didn't feel that I was discounted. And we got a really good explanation of why they're choosing another candidate. And I was fair enough, anyway, and then you move on. And I'm still like an advocate. I think they're amazing. So even though you can be rejected, you can actually be rejected in a way when people can really explain why you've been rejected, then it will get a really good sense. That was a lot about people, and technology. A lot of people talk about technology and industry. And I don't know how many people I meet during the week, buying a technology, how do you see technology? Some people call it called saviour, it's probably a bit big name, but it's the thing that's really gonna change hospitality to the positive, it's gonna really help the managers do you think tech is here to really transform the sector?
Marta Pogroszewska: 36:54
Absolutely, you know, if you think about, just take your mind back 10 years ago, could you think about all those apps and tech solutions that we have now in place in our businesses that are helping us with day-to-day operations, you know, long term planning, or routers, safety, and so on, and so on, you know, it's just, it's something that we never thought about because it wasn't here. But now it is here. So if we think about what's going to happen 10 years from now on how much and how fast forward, it will take us, I think it will play a massive part in how we think about business.
For me, information technology is really interesting. How can technology support our insight and help us make better decisions? This is something that sometimes we probably don't think enough of an underestimate, you know, we have engaged with the trial, and I know you've had Joe here on the podcast. We do love it as well. And, and obviously, I'm a huge fan of Joe himself as well. And everything that he has done for the industry so far, and people like that, who have a vision and want to better and better the product all the time and, and enable new functionality and want to push the dial, those are the people to watch out for and stay close to and work with them because they will help you be better with them being better. So you don't need to be an expert in technology. You need to find those who are and they will push you up, you know, I'm not sure if you've heard of this business, SweetGreen.
Michael Tingsager: 38:21
We are starting them with a curiosity here to Mavericks because they're definitely on to something very special over there.
Marta Pogroszewska: 38:29
Yeah, I had a chance to meet the founders when I was back in the US. And they are so inspiring in the way they look at the business. It's really it's a tech company, that kind of, you know, it's existing through food. And obviously, they have a fabulous food mission and they actually deliver on this food mission. But they started from tech. That's why they can grow so fast, because tech in information technology helps them make better and better decisions and deploy the resources and invest in the right places, and so on and so on. And I think this is something that we really need to ask as business leaders and as anyone in the industry we shouldn't be seeking help from technology, how to help us make better decisions, even if you think about forecasting or ordering even if you order on paper, you still do an equation computer can do this equation for you if you can find the support in any program or any software solution that will help you be better totally do that.
We are working now on a new system for exactly our F&B management and are going through this whole overhaul of support of decision-making for our managers to help us take the business to the next level. You know, we want to have handled bakeries so we need to think like we had handled with Baker's right now when we wanted to have 50. We had to think three years ago about what it was going to look like when we have 50 and now we are on a different journey. So technology is super important. And there are many amazing creative skilled people in it in this in the whole tech industry that can help us do this. But it doesn't mean that we have to be an expert. We have to find the experts that can help us.
Michael Tingsager: 39:55
I think you're very right. And I think it's there are many people that said but tech will never take the human element out of it and they will not,, I think there's like three things tech should do. And I think one of them is making better decisions. This industry has been for many, many years been too much got because I come from a background for McDonald's where there was not much got decision made there because you had your data. And there's a reason why McDonald's buys tech companies now. Because I know you talked about sweet green. We had Nick Popovich on the podcast recently as well. He said that if you are not implementing or taking tech as part of your growth strategy, you will not be here he was, but I also he's the founder of a tech company.
Marta Pogroszewska: 40:37
I mean, you're not gonna be here, people still will have to eat and drink and do all those things. So you kind of you might be here, it's just the scale and the capacity might be different.
Michael Tingsager: 40:46
And my mom always said, as a restaurateur. There are two things there are always going to be in a market, The undertaker and the restaurateur. I also think another thing about tech is that it has to save your time and maybe make you money sometimes as well. That's where it also can be leveraged. If you integrated in the right way. I think you're touched a bit on that as well. I noticed and made a note before this book, you read a lot of books and you brought me a book as well.
Marta Pogroszewska: 41:11
Yeah, I brought you a book Wabi-Sabi is Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life. The book is fantastic. And I actually quite liked the author as well. I followed her on Facebook to see what she's up to the book is exactly about life and how can you be happier I believe in something called Ikigai I don't know if you had had a chance to read about Ikigai when I fought for my 40th birthday, last year, I travelled with my very best friend to Japan to Okinawa to the village called Ogimme, it wasn't easy to find sounds easy when I say and you can find it on the map. Google help to show us what it is. So we booked our flights, but then going into it and really finding the village wasn't as easy but we found it and it was like the most liberating experience ever.
And the whole kind of belief of Ikigai is that you need to find a great balance in your life and do always what makes you happy and find in your profession as well the happiness and you need to do something that you love that you can help people with that you can get paid for. And you have passion for you know, it's something that I'm a really a big believer of you can say life is long, but also life is quite short. We are only here for a blip of time in the grand scheme of things. So if we are here, let's be happy, and let's do what makes us happy and probably won't be savvy is like the next chapter is not the same out there obviously. But it's like the next level of everything about Ikigai and finding this balance in life. So I hope you're gonna enjoy this.
Michael Tingsager: 42:42
I love that you use should see my home. Oh yeah, I'm allowed not allowed to buy any more books. But my wife said we have enough self-development and leadership books and what else is there?
Marta Pogroszewska: 42:54
The one you might want to buy on Audible, so your wife doesn't see it. That is already in the Mind of the Leader. That's all about mindful leadership and it's leading yourself as absolutely yeah, absolutely. And I think we have to be absolutely accountable for ourselves first before we can be accountable for anyone else you want to wake up today and feel that you can be better than you were tomorrow and that you can be good enough to lead the team and you want to feel like you deserve to be in a position that you are and you take care of yourself first before you take care of your team.
Michael Tingsager: 43:30
I have to ask you now because we've been you know circling around that leading yourself question all the time. What are the leadership hacks you do? The everyday person can imagine how you talk about it you almost have like a bit of a habit of creating things about what you do and where you go and get inspiration and stuff like that. What are the top three things you do to lead yourself?
Marta Pogroszewska: 43:49
I think my most important hack is I know I said as far as time if you want you can cut it out. But I do believe that it doesn't matter what other people are doing wrong on the matters of what you can do right obviously it matters if you know what they did wrong? So you can learn from that and it matters what you're going to do but this is a fundamental thing for people to understand if you will really think about how can you help the situation? how can you help the person? how can you help solve the problem? How can you love the problem? How can you be invested in that rather than thinking about working yourself up about people who make mistakes or didn't do something or don't like someone or didn't it's just such you know, an unproductive way of thinking obviously but most of the time you anyway guessing what people thought you guessing why people did what they did you guessing what they may mistake maybe they didn't understand maybe they didn't know maybe they really thought that they're doing the right thing and they just didn't have enough skills, capability, perspective, clarity, you know, directions, training, whatever, you know, no one came to work and said today I'm going to just do badly.
You know, people sometimes make mistakes because they genuinely think we're doing the right thing, but it just didn't turn out to be right. So if you invest all your time in thinking about what people thought, or might have been thinking, it's not going to take you anywhere. So my really fundamental belief is that if I can help the situation, it only matters what I can do, right? And how can I help people? How can I help the situation? How can I help us move forward from where we are, rather than trying to figure out you know, what people thought? And why did they do what they did?
Michael Tingsager: 45:29
I think it was similar I approach to this that you do time in a way I call it an energy, the not a lack of time, your lack of energy of and is not just energy from, you know, you can drink from sugar is like mental capacity, having that, you know, half-full glass, so you can actually take in whatever is going to happen, because I guess that it's hard, sometimes accepting other people's life map because we all come with different views of the world and in with different knowledge and different things. And I guess you you come to a certain stage in your career, as you say, where you actually get more balanced out on it, and you're more aware of yourself, and there's so many, you know, senior leadership that doesn't understand themselves. And that's actually the main reason why they can't get the leadership working soon as they are unleased that bit and they understand themselves and where they're gonna go and get that energy from those two other things just becomes easier in the Ruby coop goes faster and faster.
Marta Pogroszewska: 46:24
You know, Nelson Mandela, I'm not sure if I can quote exactly what he says when you speak. You only say what you know, when you listen, you might learn something new. Yeah. And sometimes this is kind of just, you know, the fundamental challenge for those who find themselves in those situations that they forget to listen to what everyone around them is saying they keep saying stuff, rather than listening to everyone who wishes them well. And once actually to help them.
Michael Tingsager: 46:51
Are there any specific things you do every day to find the energy to go out and be that person? Is this like, some rituals, anything you do? I know you're walking a lot, one of your big passion is to walk?
Marta Pogroszewska: 47:06
Firstly, I'm not, you know, the perfect person I do make a lot of mistakes. And, you know, I get places as well with my mind. It's not all rosy, but in general, I have quite a few routines. I do. I'm quite organized with my time and respectful of the overall time. I have as I said at the beginning, have 15 years old son who I love dearly, and I love spending time with him because he's fun, and we have great relationships. So make sure that I make time for being a mother as much as being a businesswoman. I do love my holidays, I travel a lot. I love the experiences and I like active life and I like active holidays so you wouldn't see me you know, lying down on the beach on holidays, you would see me ziplining hiking, climbing a mountain riding a bike and so on, so on. So that's kind of the way I recharge and offload. I do yoga three times a week I go to the gym, and most of the day do something active.
That's the release mechanism in the morning, as well. I have my kind of morning routine that I build probably more subconsciously unconsciously. Over the years, I wake up on time and I read there's this great book that I read The Daily Stoic, and there is one chord every day that piques your brain, the way I go about it, I try to kind of think about it every day and it stays with me it's it kind of goes through the day, it's just the page very quick read. And a lot of things kind of get gets into place. When you think about something when you have some sort of you know, a perspective or lens that you put on your day from the very beginning and it helps you go I always do a bit of yoga in the morning. But also just like I think many people do that it's kind of nowadays, it's a thing, I guess.
Michael Tingsager: 48:47
Definitely, people who want to keep the energy in the right place do you have will have different things they will do. I have mine as well. I drink a lot of water in the morning. Water is the first thing when I get up to hydrate my brain, and then I call it some kind of energy meditation, but really focusing on getting into myself and then finding out what I want to achieve in the weekend the day. So I keep the vision in front of me all the time. Maybe I'm not going to achieve it. But I'm dreaming about it. And then you just come out you come out with different energy and there's even under the tough days I will do this even though it doesn't feel like it really gives you anything,, you know, because everybody has tough days, as you say absolutely. And everybody has, you know, dark moments. We all go through we need to have tools to do those things. So it sounds like you have some quite cool things that have been inspired by who is your hero? Where do you find inspiration from besides reading books and going on travels and stuff like that?
Marta Pogroszewska: 49:41
I did find a lot of inspiration from travelling and seeing quite a chunky part of the world, especially with my son and I know it's probably gonna sound for some but my son is my hero. Like, if we're going to start talking about my son right now we will never finish this conversation but I will tell you that this boy is 15 you are old and he has such a passion and drive for getting things done. When he gets into something, he goes like all in he's part of the EUV. So he did his bronze last year and he's doing silver now. And last year he was doing basketball, he's super tall, he's like two meters plus now and he has a physical condition to do that.
And he got himself into volleyball, volleyball is different from basketball different requires a different skill. And he found himself in that so well and probably got into to the right team with the right in the right place, and you know, has a good coach and so on. And he drives himself so much and tries to be as good as he can in something that he really loves. That is just inspiring. Looking at this, he knows goes three times a week to the training session, he found himself training camp in Poland, he goes for two weeks, probably the volleyball team or the world champions. He's gonna be trained with them, like by one of the guys a couple of the guys from the team. And he's just looking for opportunities to be better in what he loves. And this is so inspiring. The second thing he does like bass, he plays bass. He's like really good jazz bass player. And he's just going forward. He played the magic radios festival a couple of weeks ago with his band, and he's only 15. I'm so inspired.
The first thing is being passionate, actually having a passion and embracing this passion and not sitting and thinking, How nice would it be to do something actually doing it are two different things. And at such a young age to be so driven and so dedicated, you know, he wanted to speak German, he went on the online course. And he learned German he did the whole course he wanted to do Python and C++. He did that. He comes up with an idea and he does it. He is not waiting for me to tell him to trust me on the ones I tried to help him with homework in 15 years, even when he went to the US. And he was like, You have no idea, ma'am. Thank you. And we moved on from that he just gets his things done. And I think what I'm really inspired by is his passion, but also dedication to do what he loves and determination to be amazing at this. So when he's into something, he wants to be as good as he possibly can not just do it. And that's what really inspires me. That's what life full of excitement and pride and passion is to kind of do what we love.
Michael Tingsager: 52:19
That's a cool hero. He sounds like he can just he can think it but he can also implement yes two different skills to master. He's looking at a bright future ahead. I think if you continue to that speed. At the end of the podcast, we always ask the guests for advice from the leaders of hospitality and restaurants. If you can give one advice to them. What would that be?
Marta Pogroszewska: 52:43
You know, I wrote in your book, you haven't had the chance to open it yet. But the dedication reads, with love for life. This is my advice. Love Your Life, respect your time, and enjoy everything you do to make it worthwhile.
Michael Tingsager: 52:59
That's the way that was one of the best ones we had here. Remember yourself and love yourself.
Thank you very much for coming down to Brighton. I know you had a reason to be here anyway. But even taking the time, as you talked about before, I'm really grateful you took the time and shared your story and Gail's plans. And thank you for the cake and the book as well. I'm going to enjoy that going on holiday soon. So the book will be very helpful. haven't bought any holiday reading yet. So that's definitely one of them on the list. I'm sure we're going to catch up in due course. And we're going to be interesting to see where Gail’s are moving from here and yourself as well.
Marta Pogroszewska: 53:34
Thank you so much for having me. It's such a pleasure. I really thoroughly enjoyed it. And I hope Yeah, we'll have a chance to catch up maybe in a couple of months and see where we both got to not only myself.