Mike Chan day in the life

What does your role entail?

My role will dazzle any up and coming person who wants to get into the sales industry. It involves the following: meeting with airline companies to negotiate on-board food and drink listings; meeting with heath food wholesalers to present products from our H&B, VMS & food and drinks ranges; onto the health food end user groups to discuss new products; staff training and; instore marketing activity i.e. a window display in Wholefoods, Kensington high street. Next it would be meeting with food service companies to discuss core food and drink ranges for hotel, coffee and restaurant groups then finishing the week by focusing on my online businesses like Ocado arranging for promotional banners and promotions to be uploaded onto the site. This would seem like a normal week in my role.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Why?

I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to experience this unique role. Each day is completely different from the last almost like a new puzzle to solve each day. I am probably one of the only team members that work on both the Health & Beauty and Food & Drink sides of the business. This means that I cross over from one department to the other usually on the same day to meet with everyone from client managers, marketing managers, finance and supply chain – every time learning more and more about the needs and wants of the business and working on how to implement the agreed strategies for each channel I am responsible for. This in turn has given me the understanding and tools I need to make the job I do even better.

What do you feel the future of the industry looks like? Or what are the top trends for this year?

In terms of the travel industry, the future is all about healthy on board snacking, low sugar and dairy free being top priority on some airlines and rail companies. Online shopping is experiencing double digit growth year after year, with organic and vegan products both +30% in 2018.  Single serve plastic packaging has also been a subject that I have had many conversations about.

What top tips would you give to clients to ensure they face these challenges appropriately?

I would say look to reduce fats and sugars in products and start thinking about the packaging that your products come in i.e. single serve plastics. My customers have already started to ask if my mineral water is available in glass rather than plastic (and it does) so the better prepared you are for these challenges the easier it will be to prevent any major losses in sales due to the ever changing customer demands.

What are you the most proud of in your career and life?

In terms of my life, my proudest moment was when I moved to Hong Kong when I finished studying. I worked in many different food and drink companies but had the best experience working at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Hong Kong Island. Whilst I was there I witnessed the night Hong Kong was being handed back to China after over 150 years of British rule, and I remember being in Kowloon alongside the harbour (one of the busiest harbours in the word) and saw nothing but flat water. The government had banned all boats on the harbour for the night’s celebrations (this had never been done before) and out of nowhere one gigantic Chinese Junk boat sailed through the middle of the harbour this marked the moment that a line had been drawn on the past and it was on to the future.

In terms of my career, I must say that working at Ceuta has been the best journey I have experienced so far. I have had the honour of working at Ceuta for around eight years and am now in my sixth role at the company. The experiences, training and knowledge I have learnt at Ceuta have been incredible and I am super exited to see where the next chapter of my career will lead to.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

Believe in yourself before you do anything else. This was the words told to me by my godfather many years ago and it has worked for me ever since.

What song best describes your work ethic?

That’s easy  – it would be:

The Eye of The Tiger by Survivor

Rising up, back on the street

Did my time, took my chances

Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet

Just a man and his will to survive

So many times, it happens too fast

You trade your passion for glory

Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past

You must fight just to keep them alive