Jake Heenan Interview - Vodafone Business Gain Line Award Winner

We managed to grab a word with one of our winners from the latest Vodafone Business Gain Line Award of the Season, Jake Heenan, to catch up on how they are getting on and what it means to have won this award…

Congratulations Jake, how does it feel to win the award?

It’s so cool. 12-14 months ago, it was all very new to us. We never wanted this business to be limited to what we knew. Thinking of all the learnings we have come through, the good and the bad - we have always tried to deliver not the best we could, but the best the business could. It is nice to get a little bit of formal recognition for it.

Since we last caught up in November, you have continued to grow and just launched a second café, how have the last few months gone?

Yes, it’s been good. We brought a new head chef in late last year and he has been massive for us. I think our flagship site in Redland - it’s almost become a bit of a destination restaurant now, particularly on weekends, which is what we were always kind of aiming for, which is great. Then we have seen opportunities to get in a slightly different community and we are really enjoying the challenge of that as well.

It is nice to be able to take what we have learned from the first café and work with the people we have. We have our chef, the manager of the new site (Molly). She's brought a lot of her experience and there’s obviously Adele (my wife) who set the place up, so it’s being able to take not only what we know, but what all the good people we have around us know as well.

What would you say the next aim/goal/step is for Burra?

I think the next challenge for us is being more visible in the community. We would probably look to more of the coffee truck style type thing where we could bring Burra to people, bring it around Bristol and take it to events.

We can never lose sight of what we have achieved and what we are looking to achieve in our original café. I would say in the next six months, we will aim to keep improving the new place. The scope is so much bigger when you start up again. You have a new audience, and you learn your audience and you learn how you can best cater to that. So that is the focus for now, and I think the next step for us is getting out in the community and being a bit more visible and accessible in different neighbourhoods.

How important has your support network been to your journey, including support from the RPA and your Development Manager, Matt Leek?

It’s huge. Initially it was extremely important as we did not have as much of an idea about what we were doing. But it’s remained massive for us, especially including the support from the RPA and our teammates too. Having that visible support is massive. It is also nice knowing no matter where we are at, we are never too far away from someone who is happy to help or can put us on to someone who can help fill that gap in our knowledge.

How important are initiatives like the Vodafone Gain Line Award for helping players businesses like yours?

They are massive. Starting a business is quite a daunting thing to do, especially while you are still playing, you know you don't anticipate having the time or necessarily the disposable income, so any initiative that encourages players to start a business or to start thinking about it are huge.