April 2016

Maintaining eye contact…

Published on: 22 Apr 2016

It’s always nice to grab a social bite to eat with colleagues or clients but if I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d recommend the Bunyadi restaurant for such events.

The reason I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant for such events is not because of the food, location or service (which I’m sure are all very good).

No, the reason I think it would be an awkward location for colleague or client dinners is due to the fact that, how can I put it but using business terminology, they have taken an extremely differentiated approach to competing.

The Bunyadi restaurant has announced that it is opening in central London in June and the different thing about it is that it will be a naked restaurant.

Whilst an increasing number of people are choosing to eat their food in a more “natural” state without additives or preservatives, the company behind Bunyadi are taking things a step further by having a naked section in the restaurant.

Seb Lyall, the founder of the company behind the restaurant said “we believe people should get the chance to enjoy and experience a night out without any impurities: no chemicals, no artificial colours, no electricity, no gas, no phone and even no clothes if they wish to. The idea is to experience true liberation.”

When you arrive at the restaurant, you’ll enter the bar area (where everyone is fully clothed) and then head to the changing rooms where you will be given a gown. You then go to the naked area, take off your gown, fold it and put it on your seat and then sit down to enjoy your meal (and no doubt concentrate very carefully when eating your hot soup so that you avoid spilling any of it in your lap).

If you are interested in going to the restaurant you can sign up on their website but you’d better hurry. At the time of writing, there were over 15,000 people on the waiting list.

Working from home?

Published on: 16 Apr 2016

Let’s be honest now – have you ever had a day off work when you really shouldn’t have? Have you ever called in sick when you were actually feeling ok?

Well, even if you have taken a day off work when you should have been in the office then you are nowhere near as bad as Mr Joaquin Garcia.

Mr Garcia was a Spanish civil servant who was paid €37,000 a year by a water company run by a local authority in the Spanish city of Cadiz.

He had worked for the organisation for so long that he became eligible for a long service award. The deputy mayor was due to award Mr Garcia a plaque for 20 years’ service but unfortunately Mr Garcia was not in the office.

Further investigation led to the discovery that despite being paid €37,000 a year the Spanish civil servant had failed to turn up for work for “at least” 6 years. Yes, he was employed and was being paid but hadn’t turned up for work for at least 6 years and nobody had noticed!

The water company thought that Mr Garcia was being supervised by the local authority whilst the local authority thought that the water company was supervising him. The end result was that Mr Garcia was not in the office, was not working but was receiving his full salary.

The local authority was understandably not that happy at paying somebody a full salary when that person was at home enjoying life and took Mr Garcia to court. The court found in favour of the local authority and ordered Mr Garcia to pay a fine.

Despite the local authority paying Mr Garcia for doing no work for at least 6 years, the maximum amount of fine that the company could legally reclaim was equivalent to one year’s salary.

Mr Garcia has since retired. No doubt to take it easy after all of his hard work over the last 6 years…

Superdry or Superdivorce?

Published on: 09 Apr 2016

Superdry is one of the world’s top fashion brands. The business was created in 2003 by Julian Dunkerton and James Holder.

Mr Dunkerton originally wanted to be a doctor but after performing badly in his A-level exams he got a loan of £2,000 from his father to start a business selling clothes from a local market stall in 1985.

Mr Holder created the Bench brand in 1992.

They got together in 2003 to create Superdry and since then things have been going well for them on the business front. Superdry products are now sold in over 100 countries with the company running around 500 stores around the world.

Shares in the retailer though recently fell by 6% and the reason for the fall was quite unusual as it involved selling a significant number of shares to fund a divorce.

Mr Dunkerton sold off 4 million of his shares in the company at £12 per share. The £48 million he got from the share sale will go towards funding his divorce as Mr Dunkerton had to sell the shares to pay for a divorce settlement with his ex-wife.

Now £48 million is a lot of money in anyone’s books and I’m sure Mr Dunkerton’s ex-wife is appreciative of that amount of money but there’s no need to feel sorry for Mr Dunkerton when it comes to his personal wealth as he still has a 27% stake in the business which is worth around £292 million.

Interestingly, the co-founder of the Superdry brand, Mr Holder, also had to sell shares because of a divorce. Back in 2013 he sold £20 million worth of shares to fund his divorce.

Some pretty significant figures for share sales to fund divorce settlements and given the amounts involved it’s not clear whether any of the husbands or wives of the other significant shareholders in Superdry are currently consulting divorce lawyers…

The ExP Group