Jack at The Menu Partners

Jack O’Neill – The Menu Partners

In our latest hospitality interview for Brighton, we introduce Jack O’Neill from The Menu Partners. As Head of Operations, Jack leads a team of experts in all things food, supporting the entire supply chain – from the grower to you.

What is great about working with the independent restaurant scene in Brighton and Hove?

I have always been really passionate about Brighton and its independent businesses, it’s very different from other parts of the country with the number of small businesses we have. In terms of the restaurants it’s always great to work with such a diverse group of places in a small remit of each other. I love catering for the unique needs and building close relationships with our customers.

It’s great to play a part in our community and continue to build up this great industry.

The Menu Partners providing fresh produce

Describe what The Menu Partners do?

The Menu Partners is derived from a passion for food and our aim is to redefine the future of the food supply. What this means to us is the aim to be the ultimate developer and consolidator of food in Brighton and with one of the best procurement teams in the industry nationwide we are confident in the product we can offer our customers. We work with specialised partners across the food supply industry to offer expertise in all areas of our customers menus.

We are one team with one goal, to provide the best dining experience to the people of Brighton.

What range of goods or services do you provide?

We aim to offer our customers everything they need to provide their dining experience. This is why we called ourselves the Menu Partners. Our aim to offer every product that appears on their Menus. We are still on our journey to offering this but with one of the best procurement teams in the business we are very confident we will be able to supply each customer unique needs.

How has TMP evolved to what it is today?

Under the banner of The Menu Partners we are still a fairly young business however we come from a long linage of businesses. In Brighton we started out as Tastables a high-end fruit and vegetable wholesaler and as the years have gone on we have added other businesses to our group and each time we do this we gain their expertise in supply giving us the best people in the industry today. We are now fully positioned to offer our customers an unmatched service.

How do you help deliver a seamless experience for your customers?

We feel the key to offering the best experience is communication. We’ve found that a big thing lacking in the supply industry is proper communication with the customers. We are working on innovative ways to interact with our customers. We are passionate about having close relations with chefs to work on all your exciting projects and menus.

How do you add value to the customer experience?

Our team is our focal point and they are the reason we are able to offer the service we do. Some of the key people within our team are Louise and David. Louise, our operations manager, ensures every order that leaves our depot is of the highest quality. If you haven’t met David yet I am sure you will meet him very soon.

David, our sales manager, works on all new business and is always introduces himself to the chefs of Brighton and the surrounding areas.

Tell us about your career path

I started for the business Tastables over 10 years ago as a Saturday role just to earn some extra money alongside studying. My responsibility was sweeping the floors of the depot and making sure everything has been clean and tidy. From that point I have done every role in the depot from picking produce, to delivering orders and anything in between. This gave me a great insight to the different parts of our industry and how we adapt our process to suit a customer’s needs.

Has there been a funny incident when delivering to your customers?

There was an incident a few years back when we had a customer come in to buy some oranges from our depot. He brought 8 boxes of juicing oranges and was determined to get these on his push bike. Where we are based in Brighton we have a lot of hills. We offered to deliver these for him however he was determined to take these himself. Later that day when driving home we saw a lot of oranges all over the roundabout nearby!

What do you like about the hospitality industry in Brighton?

The thing I really like about Brighton and its hospitality is the different personalities we attract. We speak to a number of different people and you really get to know these people when serving them and what I love most about working with chefs how their personalities are displayed on their dishes. The diversity in Brighton for me is unmatched to other parts of the UK.

Restaurants Brighton Industry Rates

How is your business adapting to current economic conditions?

Like everyone we are feeling the pinch of the current circumstances in the economy however we have used this chance to adapt our aims in our depot to focus more on the local independent trade. Like everyone in our trade we continue to struggle on supply issues from the continent however with the backing of our procurement team we are able to sustain the requirements of our customers.

What is your biggest challenge at TMP?

We find the biggest challenge we face at The Menu Partners is the need to keep up to date in the market.

We understand it’s an incredibly competitive market in the world of supply however we always aim to keep ahead with our new process and being the pioneers in our trade for the technology used. We are currently developing our PDA system to give our customers the opportunity to see the goods delivered pictured and signed for bringing us in line with some of the front runners in the delivery industry.

How do you relax when you’re away from business?

On time away from work I don’t get much time to relax as I have a one year old. Most of my time is spend running around after him however I do like to cook at home and I really enjoy live music.

Where are your favourite places to dine in Brighton and elsewhere? Which is your all-time favourite? Next on your list?

It is so hard to condense a short list for this. I enjoy eating at so many different places in Brighton and it can massively depend on my mood for that day. One place I always seem to go back to is Bincho Yakitori, it’s a great place for trying lots of different things in one sitting. Next on my list is the Pearly Cow once it opens in Brighton, looking at what they are currently doing in Margate and York I think it will be very popular in Brighton. One place I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a place to eat outside of Brighton is the Belgian Café in Eastbourne, this is my all-time favourite place to eat and if you are a big fan of mussels and Belgian beer, this is a must try!

Bincho Yakitori on Preston Street

Are you a home cook? What do you like to eat / cook when you’re at home with the family?

I do like to cook when at home. I am someone who likes to experiment when cooking and I like to pull together what’s left in the cupboards occasionally to see what I can come up with. My personal favourite to make myself is Seafood Chowder which I serve with some crusty bread however my family much prefer when I make my chicken and leek risotto which is always a winner in my house.

What excites you about being involved in the BRAVO Awards?

The BRAVO awards is something we have spoken about in our depot for a long time. I enjoy looking each year to see how the restaurants of Brighton have placed.

To be involved in The BRAVO awards is something we are really excited about.

We love getting involved in the community and the hospitality industry of our local area. We love seeing all the winners from the best restaurant in Sussex category, this years winners were Crabshack Worthing for the consecutive year.

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