How I Got Here: Samuel Mensah

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Uncle John's Bakery CEO Samuel Mensah

Related tags: bakery

Samuel Mensah is the CEO of London-based Ghanaian bakery business Uncle John's, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Why bakery? 
Whilst working in the music industry I always took time out to support my parents in running the bakery business. This is as since it was established over 25 years ago, things were always changing and it was important for us to keep on top to remain the market leaders of Ghanaian baked goods. I soon realised my parents could not be on the frontline forever – as well as the importance of maintaining the legacy of our family business. As part of the second-generation Ghanaian community within the UK, I made it my vocation to preserve the culture for future generations. Therefore, as of 6 years ago I decided to give up my music career and focus solely on the business. 

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career? 
Brace yourself as this is going to be one hell of a ride.

What time do you wake up?
Between 6am and 7am.

What’s your favourite bakery or even restaurants (besides your own)?
One of them would have to be Nando's, I love the branding and the embedded culture within the brand. It is something that resonates with me and the vision I have.

What motivates you?
Knowing that I’m able to fulfil a legacy not only for my family but for my generation and the ones after. Day in day out I see new and old customers enjoying our products and being able to share our culture and heritage like this is amazing. 

What keeps you up at night?
A constant flow of ideas and innovations.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business? 
My team are my biggest influence as they showcase resilience in our ever-growing business which pushes me empower them even more.

How often do you check your email?
As often as possible to be honest; it seems like the more I check the emails, the more that come in.

How do you let off steam?
I love playing football and I’m part of a league team. I also enjoy travelling.

Worst business decision? 
Thinking that delegation is not important.

Best business decision? 
Deciding to go ahead for the SALSA health and safety accreditation for our business.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? 
Booking a flight to Barcelona and leaving five hours later 

Favourite holiday destination?
Dubai

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business? 
Do not be afraid to take the risk. We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we actually do it. You are more likely to regret not trying rather than failure.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be? 
The industry is a great place with many exciting things happening but I feel greater representation would hugely benefit. As diversity grows so does the potential to try new things and this would benefit the industry.

Related topics: People, Career Profile

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