A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life… Paddy McLaughlin, director, Hugh Jordan & Company

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
Part of the management team at Hugh Jordan Catering Equipment Supplies, with 85 staff members.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I have been in the catering industry since 1981, managing our family business Thomas Mc Laughlin from Armagh with my brothers, supplying the catering trade throughout Ireland for many years before been acquired by Bunzl plc in 2003. I then worked with Bunzl for nearly five years. I then joined Hugh Jordan, another well-respected name in the catering industry throughout Ireland. We have grown the Jordan business considerably both in Ireland and the UK in the past few years. One of our acquisitions was well-known local business, AJ Stuart in Belfast. We now offer a vast competitive, next-day delivery service of tableware and kitchenware equipment from all over the world with distribution depots in Dublin, Belfast and England.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
Best part of the job is dealing with our friendly staff and respectful customers. I enjoy talking to our customers and sourcing products from all parts of the world to ensure we are ahead of our competitors in the latest trends and ensuring we keep driving costs down for our loyal customers. We stock and distribute all the leading brands of tableware, dispatching over 350 orders every day.

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR?
I believe the tourism sector is key to the success of our economy in Northern Ireland. It has changed dramatically through the years. I live in Cushendall and see first-hand the number of tourists that want to come to the Antrim Coast to see what’s on offer. They expect the best facilities and service. Local government must continue to engage with our sector.

OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
A typical day for me would be working in our Belfast or Dublin offices and showrooms. We have a sales force of 25 managers throughout Ireland; dealing with our people and suppliers keeps me busy.

PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
My son has recently returned from Australia and has joined our business.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL HOSPITALITY SECTOR
The speed of change in the industry. The trends are fantastic and mean you must keep your business model agile and ready to service our clients. New bars and restaurants are opening all the time; all with completely different themes. With over 20,000 product lines in stock, we must be ready for the next new concept but at the same time continue to offer a first-class service on a daily basis.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
I am a keen sailor and love the sea. My brother manufactures boats, Red Bay Boats based in Cushendall, which means boating is in our family. I’m also heavily involved in my local community, trying to create jobs locally. My sport is GAA.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
The RNLI has played a major role in my life as I have been a crew member for 38 years. I am a volunteer coxswain on our all-weather Trent Class Lifeboat based at Red Bay. Like all lifeboat crews, you don’t go to bed without leaving your laces open and your t-shirt ready when the pager goes. My station covers a large area north to Rathlin Island and over to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. Over the years I have been involved in many rescues; some sad times, but very rewarding. I am also kept busy as I am on the Management Committee for the whole RNLI charity throughout the UK and Ireland, with our 240 lifeboat stations and beach lifeguards’ operations. It’s a complex organisation ensuring we keep our crew safe, well trained and ready to go to sea at a moment’s notice. It’s part of my life and I am grateful to be able to give something back to our communities.

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