Sponsored by Wilcox Burchmore
Duncan Kendall is director of business development at Restaurant Associates, where he has overall responsibility for delivering stretching new business targets.
Key to Kendall's success has been his commitment to innovation and creativity across both business development and retention. His principle achievement has been to reposition Restaurant Associates as a ‘people brand', as a key differentiator in a market that tends to focus on food innovation as a point of difference.
Recognising that food innovation should be a given, he has concentrated on the story of the people to sell the brand, using key staff within the business to tell their story in contract pitches. By doing so, Kendall has moved the conversation from ‘we make good food with great ingredients' to ‘we believe in the power of people owning the experience'.
This has opened doors with new businesses and sectors, including Blackrock, KKR and Mazars. In terms of personal success, Kendall has secured eight new business wins in the past 12 months, totalling £36m in contractlife turnover. He has also branched out into new markets, targeting the media world and winning high-profile contracts with Universal Music and Havas Media.
Kendall places significant emphasis on managing and developing his team. He has built a team described as collaborators, each of whom play a vital role in the success of the overall business. Sales can obviously be a challenging role to be in, but Kendall is credited with being a force for positivity and always able to encourage and motivate those around him.
He has also developed a best-in-class service between Restaurant Associates and sister company Rapport, leading to three contract wins with a combined annual turnover of £2.5m.
In keeping with his inclusive people approach, he has also developed a bottom- up culture, empowering everyone in the business to contribute to the bigger picture. Taking on board their comments he has successfully engaged with an important group of individuals and in the process ensured they really do own the experience. And it's not all about new business. Kendall has also been hands-on in terms of influencing colleagues in the retention of major accounts, even though these are outside his area of responsibility. His tendering success translates perfectly to retention too, so if an account is critical, Kendall is the go-to expert.
It's no wonder, then, that he is held is such high regard by his colleagues. As Compass managing director Dennis Hogan explains: "He has challenged his team to think creatively, to collaborate and strategise, treating each sales opportunity as unique, and through his resilience and perseverance has delivered outstanding results. As well as this, he is a charismatic individual that I am delighted to have representing Restaurant Associates for our clients, consultants and customers."
What the judges said
"Duncan has proved himself in a large and complex organisation and managed to bring some personality to the Restaurant Associates brand. Great results and some very nice wins."
Ronan Harte, Holroyd Howe
"Duncan has demonstrated great growth and opened new markets, such as media clients."
Patrick Harbour, Harbour & Jones
"Duncan has made a fantastic impact. He's clearly a very focused and passionate seller. The results speak for themselves."
Simon Houston, Bartlett Mitchell
Duncan Kendall Restaurant Associates
Richard Pearce BaxterStorey
Chris Reynolds Amadeus
2016 Simon Houston Bartlett Mitchell
2015 Chris Chidley Eurest
2014 Lucy Wright Kings Place Events
2013 Jonathan Davies Centerplate UK