For the third interview in our Cornwall Business Week ‘Celebrating Success’ series, we spoke to Mark Taylor founder of Rumours Bistro in Liskeard. He shared his journey of renovating and setting up a brand-new bistro in Liskeard with his partner, Sarah.
We wanted to combine our ambition to grow, not only the business, but also as individuals, with the freedom to do what we want and have control in the direction we take. – Mark Taylor, Founder
Both Mark and Sarah come from very diverse backgrounds and wanted to combine their skills and talents to start a business together. We interviewed him to find out how they have found the past few months and what success means to them.
What motivated you to start the company?
Many little things escalated to a point in time, when we knew it felt right to do so. We wanted to combine our ambition to grow, not only the business, but also as individuals, with the freedom to do what we want and have control in the direction we take. Ultimately, we want to provide the best we can for our family. We feel Liskeard has turned a corner and is ready to grow and be invested in.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
My partner Sarah and I have been together for two years. We come from different backgrounds but have very similar interests and the same outlook on life. Sarah has been in the food and hospitality industry for 20 years in East Sussex, then bravely decided four years ago as a single Mum, to move to Polperro. She took over a failing restaurant and turned it around within two years and it became one of the most popular restaurants locally.
I was in the transport industry for over 18 years and in the Retained Fire Service for nine years. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, so in January 2000, I set up my own recruitment agency which I grew until I sold it in 2009. Since then I took some time out and got involved in one of my other passions, renovating properties, as I’m fortunate enough to be able to turn my hands to most things. I’ve also fancied myself as a bit of a home cook, so have a love of good food and, when our paths finally crossed, we decided to combine our skill sets. We took the plunge and leased a property in Liskeard with the view of creating something unique locally, if not regionally.
Your Cafe opened in March this year, can you talk us through these past few months and share any tips or lessons learnt that you think have helped you on during this start up period?
The past few months were as expected with any new business, it builds slowly as word of mouth spreads, realistically we knew what we wanted, so we went for it knowing we had to commit everything. We worked as a team and split our responsibilities; Sarah took total charge of the food and hospitality side of things, whilst I concentrated on a complete refit of the property; developing something that we believe has a total wow factor. This has been endorsed by our customers, many of whom are now becoming regular faces and friends.
Tips: don’t do it if you have any doubt in yourself that you won’t succeed. Be prepared to put in very long hours. Be choosey with your suppliers and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Do you have any role models who have been successful that you take inspiration from?
We both love the Jamie Oliver style of cooking, it’s relaxed and relatively simple. Locally, Lee and Roxy at Olive and Co, over the road from us, are a great team who work very hard at what they do and welcomed us with open arms, not as competitors but as a positive addition to the town. If you open your eyes and look around you, many times you’ll notice someone, maybe less fortunate than you, and you think how do they cope? Hopefully this you’ll give yourself a wake-up call and put things in perspective and give you the motivation to get on with it.
Aside from the normal metrics of success (profit, growth etc.) do you have your personal measures of success?
Obviously, we want to achieve the best we can financially, not only for us, but we have some great staff that love working with us. The fact that they want to be there, as opposed to needing to be there, is fantastic. Even at this early stage, when the customers are leaving happy and giving us good reviews, we know we’re succeeding and on the road to something special. Also, we laugh a lot, mainly at each other, but the fact we’re still laughing says something!
What is great about running a business in Cornwall?
Cornwall is a fantastic place to run a business, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s full of great people, who are willing to help and get involved and support local businesses. It has the added bonus of when you do need a break to unwind, you can open the front door and be on the beach or on the moors within minutes and chill out. It doesn’t get much better than that does it?