In an exclusive interview with The Tycoon Magazine, Robert Ancill, the CEO of The Next Idea consulting and The Next Idea Design shares a brief inside story of the ups and downs, struggles, and success of the organization.
Specializing in concept creation, development, and management everything from research, strategy, brand, and product development, franchising, through to design, execution, systems, and operations, and communication The Next Idea is an Award-Winning International Restaurant & Hospitality Concept development and management agency.
And TNI Design is a team of Architects and Interior Designers providing creative Interior Design, Landscaping, Home remodel, 3d rendering, and construction drawing services to Private Individuals, Architects, Interior Designers, Businesses, Landlords, Developers and building construction professionals.
Below are the interview between Robert and The Tycoon Magazine;
Kindly brief us about you and your journey since the beginning of your career.
My name is Robert Ancill, and I am the CEO of The Next Idea Group
My job is CEO of a Restaurant and Hospitality Consulting Group, named The Next Idea, we create Restaurant and Hospitality concepts around the world. I began as a bouncer at a bar in Glasgow, Scotland, and worked my way into management. I began the Next Idea in 2002, mainly due to some unique life circumstances, and realized that this was my calling.
Since 2002 The Next Idea Group has grown into a well-known consulting and design brand with multiple service companies covering design, consulting, and business services.
How do you describe yourself in one-word or one-sentence?
Always creating and always learning
What is your source of motivation?
I think it’s just about the enjoyment in seeing a customer enjoy something I had a hand in creating – there is nothing more gratifying
Kindly tell us about the challenges you faced to withstand the complexities of the industry.
Creative services is a complex business in any field, as the product is subjective. A design, menu, photograph, graphics; are all open to interpretation
Kindly describe in detail about your company and its unique services/products.
The Next Idea Group is split into two distinct companies: Hospitality Consulting and Interior Design. In both companies, the services are creative and dynamic nature.
The Next Idea – Hospitality Consulting
The Award-Winning Next Idea is an international Restaurant & Hospitality Concept development and management agency. We are based in Los Angeles and have offices in India, along with representation in Africa and Europe. We work across the world, specializing in concept creation, development and management everything from research, strategy, brand and product development, franchising, through to design, execution, systems and operations, and communication.
The Next Idea has developed restaurant concepts in USA, Dubai & Abu Dhabi (UAE), Kuwait, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Taiwan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico, China, Qatar, Oman, UK, Bangladesh, and India.
We are highly specialist and stay close to our expertise in hotels, food service operations, restaurants, cafes, leisure, and entertainment.
We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by always beginning with the end-user The Customer Experience, The Employee Training Experience, and the Brand Experience are given the utmost priority when we approach a project. We have opened and managed over 750 restaurants across the US, Middle East, Asia, and Europe, and developed 84 concepts.
The TNI team has consulted with some of the world¹s most eminent Chefs, and upscale restaurant groups, in addition to working with clients in entertainment, casual dining, fast-casual dining, resorts, theme parks, and travel. In each project, we have been involved in all areas of the business, and have delivered programs and plans that have targeted the elevation of concept positioning, product and menu, operating standards, infrastructure, and overall quality. Our larger clients include or have included: Royal Caribbean (USA), Protein House (USA), Eggslut (USA), Steak N Shake (US), Pizza Metro Pizza (In), Gustoso (In), Plant Power (US), Al Saud Family (KSA), Marias Italian Kitchen (USA), Pizzaro (UAE), Caliburger (China & Int.), Hollywood Burger (UAE/Arg), Skynny Kitchen (US), House of Fraser (UK), Albert Roux (UK), Chilis (Qt), Johnny Rockets (Qt), Safeway (UK), Virgin Trains, (UK), Panera Bread (US), Deandas Tacos (US), Fairmont Hotels (US), Starbucks (UK & US), W Hotel (USA), Tacos Don Manolito (Mx), DeAndas (USA), Ritz Carlton (US), SEGA Entertainment (US), Sushiitto (US), Caesars Palace (US), Saks 5th Avenue (US), Macaroni Grill (Qt), HMS Host (US), amongst a very broad range of smaller yet very dynamic restaurant and hotel groups.
TNI Design – www.tnidesign.com
Based in Los Angeles, TNI Design is a team of Architects and Interior Designers providing creative Interior Design, Landscaping, Home remodel, 3d rendering, and construction drawing services to Private Individuals, Architects, Interior Designers, Businesses, Landlords, Developers and building construction professionals.
We provide custom designs that will be relevant, compelling, and engaging with the target consumer profile. Our focus is on highly creative and sustainable designs, aiming for net-zero environmental impact.
We serve the Residential, Office, Hospitality, Restaurant, and Retail industries.
Brief us about the current industry scenario from your perspective.
At the time of participating in this interview, (May 2020), the restaurant industry is facing an extraordinary crisis, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While prior to the Pandemic, the US restaurant industry was in very good shape, $800billion, and growing year on year.
The US restaurant industry reacted extremely supportively to the government’s requested /mandated closures. This is because our industry is inherently an industry of servants who believe in the collective effort to serve the community at any cost. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant and foodservice industry has been one of the hardest hit from the shutdown with layoffs and furloughs expected to reach 5-7million, a little shy of half the industry workforce. Even when the shelter-in-place period concludes, there can be no expectation that there will be a miraculous comeback.
It is far easier to close a restaurant than it is to open one, and yet, so far the game plan, if there is one (there isn’t by the way), is that hundreds of thousands of restaurants and bars, not to mention all the hotels, theme parks, airports, food service canteens, and so on, will reopen for business pretty much at the same time, maybe not all on the same day, but certainly within a short spectrum of time. Given (so far) the lack of coordination in what will be one of the greatest food-based mobilizations in US history, in my opinion, the US restaurant industry has a considerable adversarial challenge ahead.
With that said, I have every faith that we will recover through innovation, enhanced concepts, and better operations as we overcome the challenges ahead.
State us your major achievements and your company’s achievements under your leadership.
I am naturally delighted at the progress of The Next Idea Group, like all businesses we have faced multiple challenges and made some big mistakes, however, we continue to create great concepts and designs and support our client’s development.
We have won multiple awards including but not limited to:
Best End-to-End Hospitality Business Consultancy (Travel Hospitality Awards) 2017
Most Innovative Hospitality Consultancy Group (USA Today Corporate) 2018
City Beat News 5 Star in Customer Service (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Most Innovative Hospitality Consultancy Group (LUX Hospitality Awards) 2016
How do you see yourself and your company in the near future? Tell us about your future goals.
Presently our focus is working with clients to address reopening their business once the [COVID-19] lockdown is lifted. We have written a book Post COVID-19 Reboot https://www.postcovid19reboot.com/ to help businesses understand the new physical and human environments they need to adapt to in order to keep their employees and customers safe.
Longer-term we are seeking to grow our business to become a leading consulting and design group.
What would you advise to the budding entrepreneurs?
I am regularly asked this question and I always struggle to answer given every entrepreneur has their own story and set of values. I think, from my perspective, I would advise listening to Charles Darwin who said; ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’
From my own experience, I have learned from my mistakes and adapted to new environments and conditions. I think we are always learning, therefore my advice would be to always be open-minded, and it’s ok to be wrong!