Last week I spoke to Mital Morar, owner of Ancoats General Store in Manchester, when I was fortunate enough to be the one to tell him that his shop had made the Independent Achievers Academy Top 100.
He was happy to have been recognised – he knew how happy the news would make his staff. We had a great conversation about the IAA benchmarking process and how it has helped him take a big store-wide look at what they do.
While on the phone, I asked him about his beers, wines and spirits (BWS) display. Having visited his store, I know that his wooden racks are heaving with a brilliant alcohol display, perfectly marketed at the young professional demographic heading to the Northern Quarter for work and play.
“I look after the BWS display myself as it’s my passion,” he told me. But despite the time that Mital has spent time working and managing pubs and restaurants, he knows that sometimes there is a better way.
While he manages it, he encourages his staff to suggest new lines to him, and to take ownership of it. “They have time to go out every weekend and see what’s happening in the pubs and clubs,” he says. This time gives them a view on what’s out there, and what might work back at the shop.
“They come back and say ‘can we stock this?,” he told me. “Sure, I say to them. Get in touch with the brewery, get the pricing right, and let’s see how it goes.”
He retains overall control – staff will always come and go, so the risk has to be with him – but trusting and believing your staff, and giving them the belief that they can make suggestions and you’ll listen to them, is crucial.
Younger people spend time out and about, and they see the trends that start in bars first-hand. You could do a lot worse than put your trust in them, and give them the power to make it happen.