Updated: Mar 31, 2020
From his very first job peeling spuds as a teenager, Bryan Lynch has worked in the food sector. Food is his passion and, since the mid-1990s, he’s been running food-related businesses.
Before Bryan Lynch Finest Salads was established in 2002, Bryan started his own café in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan in 1998 and was preparing the salads at night.
The move into his successful business started out very simply – because he had a cheffing background, his brother, a supermarket manager, asked him to supply coleslaw.
What was the inspiration for setting up your business?
I am a chef by trade and my brother was managing a supermarket. He asked me to make coleslaw salad. From there, it went from one customer to another, to another.
How did you initially fund your business?
It was a small loan from AIB in 1998. Angela and I built our house and converted the garage for making the salads. The business was making good money producing the salads, so it built up its own fund to help things along.
What was the main catalyst for growth?
The staff we have here. We don’t have a turnover of staff. The very first person I employed 13 years ago is still here with me today. They know what I want and expect and I know what they can do and expect of them. We’ve a very good understanding of where the business needs to go. We talk to them on a daily and weekly basis. We’re not big chiefs here, sitting up in the office, telling the staff nothing and cracking the whip; you have to tell them what you’re at and encourage them.
What have been the highlights to date?
We do everything right and we try and do our best. I try to enter into some national awards and, by winning awards, it shows people that we are doing the thing right. For the last four years running, we have been shortlisted as one of the top five companies in Ireland under the hygiene EIQA mark. They come out to our premises and audit you every year, unannounced, so you have to make sure you’re on top of your game.
Do you feel you know what your customers really want? How do you stay updated with this information?
I do. I’m in contact with customers on a daily or weekly basis. We listen to them; we see what they want and what their story is. Coming from a catering and cheffing background, I have a good creative mind and flair, and tastes to get new ideas.
How do you achieve a work-life balance?
Very simple: start early, finish early. I start early in the mornings. I try and finish at 5.30/6 o’clock every evening, no matter what happens, because I have three small kids and they need to be going to football and soccer and swimming. If it’s not done by 6 o’clock, it won’t be done before morning.