Meet the MD: Trevor Crysell
PUBLISHED: 15:58 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:58 13 November 2015
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
The former technical production manager on a new life in the food business, with outlets in Brenchley, Goudhurst and Tonbridge.
Tell us a bit about you
I started off in life as a technical production manager for live events in London and in my youth managed to travel the world in the pursuit of this - it was hard work (honest!).
When I met Sarah, she was running a B2B events company in London and didn’t offer technical production at that time, so we joined up and have been working together every since.
When we decided to have children, we literally looked up the train line from London Bridge and came across Tunbridge Wells. We first settled in Pembury but after selling the first business in London we moved to beautiful Goudhurst, where we still are today seven years later.
I have a great wife and two fabulous girls - my eldest daughter Sydney is 12 and at Invicta Grammar and my youngest Lola is seven and at the local village school. Last year, we also had the addition of an Old English Sheepdog, Skyla.
And your businesses?
Sarah started Olive Stores in Brenchley in 2011 while I was still working in London. She thought this meant retirement as it was a local job with no commute, but she was wrong; it was seven days a week and a very steep learning curve.
When we were asked to look at setting up a similar venture in the Hop Farm it became clear that it was too much for one person to manage, so I decided to sell my technical production business and make a new family firm.
Since then we have expanded with a new Olive Stores & Deli in Goudhurst and a new restaurant in Tonbridge, Graze, which we hope to expand further to Tenterden before the year end. We relinquished the Hop Farm venue recently so we can concentrate on building the Graze brand.
Our customers are very local but they are also very varied, which we like; we have always been children and dog friendly and want to ensure this continues and cater for a lot of different tastes. Having arrived from London, we want to have facilities in towns or villages that we would like to use, so I guess that is how it all started really.
My role is very hands on with the day-to-day running of the business and I liaise every day with each of the managers to make sure things are running smoothly. Sarah handles the finance and strategy and growth of the business and she has a clear vision of how we move forwards every year. I then turn it into reality; it’s a good team.
Any careers advice?
If you want a 9 to 5 job do not go into the catering industry, but if you are passionate about great customer service and great food, then it is a fun way to spend your working hours. Get some experience first, then make sure you do it on your own terms so you can bring something original.
Best business advice?
Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity.
Your most prized possession?
It has to be my triathlon bikes (yes, plural!)
Do you use social media?
We do use social media and it has changed how we do business as it can be very instantaneous from both sides; we can get offers out quickly and customers can interact and book with us as well if they choose that route. Being a restaurant they can review us at any time too; the bane of any restaurateur’s life is TripAdvisor but it’s there and we have to live with it. We just wish customers would tell us when they are here that there is a problem, so that we can fix it, rather than two days later, anonymously online.
How’s your work/life balance?
I always make time for hobbies and running, swimming and biking and combining all three is necessary for my sanity and my patience.
Get in touch
Graze, 89 High Street, Tonbridge TN9 1DR
[Twitter symbol] @HelloGraze w