Be Inspired. Be an entrepreneur Bobby Kerr CEO of Insomnia
The Be Inspired. Be an entrepreneur series welcomed Bobby Kerr CEO of Insomnia, Irelands leading coffee company and Dragons Den Judge to a full capacity crowd at Gleeson Theatre, DIT Kevin Street. Listen to the Be Inspired podcast here.
Bobby Kerr, CEO of Insomnia presents at the Be Inspired
The Kilkenny man felt at home in DIT as it was here he launched his culinary career as a graduate of Catering Management, DIT Cathal Brugha Street. With many aspiring chefs and hotel management students watching Bobby told about his long and interesting career in the hotel and catering world to where he is today, running multiple business and investing in people.
l-r: Conall O’ Móráin, Sunday Business Show on TodayFm, Jonathan Ruane, MD of Eventovate and Garret Coady, MD BlueBridge Technologies, Bobby Kerr Insomnia, Ruth Kearney Marketing Officer DIT Hothouse, Greg Swift CEO DCEB sponsors of the Be Inspired series and Tom Flanagan Head of Commercialisation DIT.
Earning his strips
Bobby worked with the top hotel and catering companies in the country including Jury's Hotels and the Campbell/ Bewley catering group where he oversaw 30 cafes and a bakery with a turnover of €40 million. Bobby earned his stripes working long hours and travelling the world, from the North Sea oilrigs where he worked as a chef and Canada where he co-ordinated the catering for 1 million people at the Pope's visit, back in 1985.
Going it alone
Bobby was always coming up with new ideas and new ways of doing things and after 13 years with the Campbell/Bewley group he finally decided to go out on his own. He opened his first coffee shop on Dawson Street and another on Grafton Street and through expansion and takeover, Insomnia now has 56 Coffee shops. Bobby is very proud to be the first 100% Fairtrade and organic company in Ireland and is committed to giving a fair price for the coffee bean as he grows Ireland’s leading coffee brand. The company has a turnover of €12 million with a staff of 200 selling over 5 million cups of coffee annually. Asked how he stays in business and continues to beat off stiff competition, Bobby explained that the following points are critical to success;
1. Know Where the Costs Are.
2. Be Careful on Advisor Costs.
3. Only Recruit When You Physically Can’t Do It Yourself.
4. Sign All Cheques – Query Every Invoice.
5. Examine Your Sales Daily.
6. Do Weekly Gross Profit Reports.
7. Check the Bank at least Once a Day.
8. Keep Head Office Costs to a Minimum.
9. Reinvest in Your Business When Ever You Can.
Bobby also shared some of important life lessons including enjoy what you do, surround yourself with positive people and enlist a mentor. But the number one life lesson was your health and family.
Speakers on stage
Conall O’ Móráin, presenter of the Sunday Business Show on TodayFm chaired the session interviewing two DIT Hothouse Venture Programme graduates, Jonathan Ruane, MD of Eventovate and Garret Coady, MD BlueBridge Technologies.
The participants who own and run successful companies inspired students to get out there and do it for themselves. Eventovate, a Ballina-based software company won the Bright Ideas Challenge and it going from strength to strength. The company enables hotels to offer additional added value services to customers booking events and conferencing; while also enabling them to improve the management, booking and delivery of events and conferences to their hotel.
Garret, founder of BlueBridge Technologies, a product design and innovation company explained how he works internationally with organisations and entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between early stage concepts and commercially viable products. Garret explained how BlueBridge have strong collaborative links which academic institutions here as well as in Germany, U.K. and the US and experience in progressing products through the regulatory process and product launch.
All three speakers are fantastic innovators and entrepreneurs and even thought the tough times are providing value to their customers and getting on with it.
Full house at Gleeson Theatre, DIT Kevin Street
Bobby Kerr with Be Inspired volunteers Sarah Lawlor and Dara Fitzpatrick (Event management, DIT Cathal Brugha)
Watch the full Be Inspired video series here
Sponsored by: Dublin City Enterprise Board
Dublin City Enterprise Board is a state funded agency that helps start-up and micro businesses in Dublin city with enterprise information, advice, training, mentoring, networking and in some cases financial assistance. http://www.dceb.ie/
For more information contact
01 402 7144