Donna Ahern talks to Paddy Quinlan, growth manager, Deliveroo Ireland.
How would you describe your role?
I am responsible for Deliveroo in Ireland. My job is to help keep the team motivated and focused while removing obstacles when they arise.
My main ambition is to make sure we have the best proposition for riders, restaurants and customers – the three key parts of our marketplace.
This year, in particular, I’ve been driving our expansion, including the signing-up of lots of exciting new restaurant brands, along with our new on-demand grocery partners, such as Aldi.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
Assembling ‘drinkers’ for chicken cages – I learned the value of good gloves!
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
I spent part of a summer installing insulation into pig houses. I still had a lot of fun, but there would be times when the smell was overpowering.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people at Deliveroo are amazing. It’s really like a big family. We are all so passionate about food, and it is a great place to work. I especially enjoy working with my team. It is amazing to be part of their journey, and to be able to celebrate their successes with them.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time, and what is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
Advice for starting out: be a sponge. Don’t assume you know anything, and never be afraid to ask questions.
If you’re passionate about what you do and you work hard, that will be rewarded. In five years’ time, I’m hoping to be able to socialise as I did in pre-Covid-19 times! Professionally, it is hard to say.
The world has changed so much in the past ten months that it is difficult to anticipate what opportunities will be out there five years from now.
What do you think the government could do to help businesses in the current climate?
Moving online is really important in the current climate, but for the vast majority of small bricks-and-mortar retailers, it wasn’t something they were looking at until Covid-19 arrived.
For restaurants, delivery is their only means of trading and generating revenue, so it has become a lifeline for so many.
The government could certainly do more to give these retailers funding, but also mentoring, when it comes to moving a business online. It can be quite intimidating, especially in such uncertain times, but having someone to support you would remove a lot of the fear.
This is a long-term shift for the sector, so the government should aim to support restaurants if it wants to have a healthy hospitality sector once the pandemic passes.
What three business people do you most admire, and why?
John Henry [owner of Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC]. He bought and turned around two sporting franchises. His record is exceptional. His belief in winning through marginal gains is one that resonates strongly with me.
Michael O’Leary [CEO, Ryanair]. In my previous roles, before Deliveroo, I worked with a lot of start-up companies. They would often use a business planning tool called the Lean Canvas to map out the early phases of the business. One section of that model that was always the hardest to nail down was the ‘unfair advantage’, i.e. to be truly disruptive, you need to have something unique over the competition that is very difficult to replicate.
Over the years, it is amazing how many USPs Ryanair has built up, and it was all done through savvy business moves and by investing in the right areas at the right times.
Will Shu [co-founder and CEO of Deliveroo]. He built a truly transformational business, revolutionising an industry while remaining down to earth. He is still as passionate about Deliveroo now as he was when I joined, almost four years ago.
What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
SuperValu’s newest Christmas ad brought a tear to my eye.
If you could bring back one product no longer available in Ireland, what would it be?
Ricicles. When I was younger, I remember I saved up lots of their box tokens and got the branded bowl. It was a prized possession for a while. It was probably full of sugar, but, from memory, they were amazing. Cornetto Soft is a strong number-two.
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up?
Cadbury – their small chocolate chip cookie box was always the big treat, growing up!
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
Dave Chapelle – not only is he the funniest person who has ever lived, he is also exceptionally interesting. Wise, well read, and not afraid to share an opinion.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“The most valuable resource you can invest is your own time. You can’t make more of it, so invest it wisely.” A former boss of mine said that to me, and it stuck. It impacts on both my personal and professional life.
What do you like to do in your spare time, and how much time do you spend on social media in an average week?
I swim in the sea when I can. I spend a lot of my ‘free time’ with headphones in, listening to podcasts. I read consistently, and I’d like to read more, but there isn’t always time, unfortunately.
When it comes to social media, I would spend a half an hour on it in the morning and another half an hour at night.
Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?
I turned off notifications for Facebook over a year ago, and I’ve never looked back. I use Twitter often. You can see the best of Ireland in Twitter’s reaction to TV programmes like Room to Improve and Home of the Year. On LinkedIn, I mainly react to messages. I don’t tend to scroll too much.
With which fictional character do you most identify?
Bilbo Baggins. There are times when the journey can feel overwhelming, but, time after time, we continue to overcome obstacles.
© 2021 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign up to subscribe to Checkout.