Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Dandy Collection
Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, The Dandy Collection
Tell us more about yourself – your role, the work that it entails, and what keeps you busy at the moment.
MG: I’m the Chief Visionary Officer, so my work is generally focused on the creative strategy and execution for our brands. I’ve been focused on opening our newest venue, California Republic, for the last few months. It’s been an intense period, so I’m looking forward to a breather!
RR: I look after the business as a whole as CEO. Ensuring our venues are healthy and performing, our staff are well looked after and being developed, guests are enjoying their experience with us, communications are on point, and that we have plans in place for future growth. For new venues we open, I ensure we are on target not only from a budget stand point, but that we are ready to open our doors in the best possible way to the public.
Describe your morning routine. What do you do to help set the tone for a productive day?
MG: I wake up every day around 5:30am. I take my dogs for a long walk in the Botanic Gardens, followed by a shower and a light breakfast. I like to be at my desk by 7am or 730am because I find I’m most productive in the mornings and my focus trails later in the day. Starting early allows me to accomplish more in the same amount of time.
RR: We have a new-born at home so my day starts whenever hers starts. My wife and I spend time with her and our dog and we like to take a morning walk around the neighborhood. From there, it’s a mad dash to get ready and getting in a bowl of fruit before hitting my desk.
Walk us through a typical workday.
MG: What I do varies from month to month depending on what we’re launching. If we’re doing a launch, then I’m chock-a-block all the way through every day and I live by my task list. If we’re in between launches, then I have a lull. My work intensity tends to be unique in that I can be slammed for three months, followed by a few months to refresh my mind and get the stress off before starting the cycle again. In the slower months, I try to get some golf swings in the mid-day to break it up.
RR: My day is typically spent in the office. We have a great space on Keong Saik Road, right in the thick of all the cool F&B spots. It involves a mix of addressing deliverables, whether those are reporting related, government body focused, investor communications, or internal. I try to carve out time to spend on our future as a business and where we are going, which at the pace we have been, seems to be constant. The rest of my day gets filled up with meetings with our venues, leaders, and management team to keep us all aligned.
Being in the F&B business is no walk in the park, especially given the events of the past two years. As the co-founders of a successful F&B venture in Singapore, what are your secrets to productivity to ensure success?
MG: The early start is the most important for me. That’s my most productive time so I really try to knock as much off my list before everyone else starts (some at 9 and some at 10). Other than that, we use Monday.com to keep all our tasks in line. It’s an amazing tool that helps make sure I never miss anything and that I don’t need to waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do next. Monday keeps it organized for me to ensure my priorities are front and center.
RR: Staying focused. Being in tune with each of our businesses and what is going on with them on a daily basis. Our systems and reporting processes we have implemented over the years continue to evolve and are integral to being able to do that.
How do you rest and recharge?
MG: I need to switch off my mind, which is tough for me. I’m always thinking about things and that’s not always helpful. Meditation is a huge help and so is golf. Having our family conversations at home on things other than business really helps too. When all else fails, I just stare into my dog’s eyes and release as much oxytocin as I can.
RR: I play tennis – it’s been a sport I’ve been playing since my school days and every time I’m on the tennis court, I leave the stresses of what is going on and channel my inner kid again. Now that I have a child, spending time with her (and our dog) as a family is nourishment for my soul.
Sleep more or sleep less – and why?
MG: When I’m less busy, I sleep more. When I have a lot on, I sleep a lot less – but this is not by choice. What I never do is simply lie in bed when I can’t sleep. If I wake in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, I get up. I’ll either go for a cycle, (yes even at 3am) or do some work to tick things that were keeping me off my list. Then I’ll head back to sleep after a couple of hours if there’s time.
RR: Sleep consistently. I am fortunate to be able to sleep anywhere and easily so I try and keep things to a routine and get into bed by 10pm at the latest these days. I don’t know how long that will last!
If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use the extra hour?
MG: I’d sneak in an extra walk with the dogs. I can never get enough of that.
RR: More time to spend with my family… and play tennis!