Amanda Roche-Kelly, Just Eat

12th June 2019

As part of our WMB Gender Diversity Ambassador series, Amanda Roche-Kelly tells us about her role at Just Eat, her thoughts on diversity and her vision for the future.

Describe your role at Just Eat

As Managing Director for Just Eat Ireland, I oversee all aspects of our business here. This includes operations, finance, marketing, commercial management and sales. Essentially, I am responsible, together with my leadership team, for developing a strategy that will drive the growth of the business here in Ireland and oversee the implementation of that strategy. Our business ensures that we always meet and anticipate our customers’ needs and changing requirements while at the same time driving orders to our restaurant partners. We are also focused on innovation and evolving the level of service we provide – both to the consumer and our restaurant partner. We share business insights, trends and relevant data with the restaurants, helping them to plan for future growth, to evolve menus, to respond to demand and to tweak staffing and opening hours based on insights that we can share.

My role is really interesting and constantly changing. We have a lot of autonomy in our own market, allowing us to make decisions that help us to grow and build our brand.

What’s the size and scope of the operation?

Just Eat plc operates a leading global hybrid marketplace for online food delivery. Headquartered in London, we use proprietary technology to offer a quick and efficient digital ordering service for over 26 million customers and more than 100,000 Restaurant Partners across the UK, Australia & New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, France, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Ireland. In Ireland, Just Eat has over 2,100 takeaway restaurants online and consumers can access their favourite local eateries for breakfast, lunchtime and evening options with a choice of over 40 cuisines. More than 80% of customers order either via the app or on mobile device with the Just Eat app downloaded over 1.7 million times since it was launched in Ireland five years ago.

How important is it to have role models in business today?

I believe that having positive role models is valuable in all aspects of life, including business. Positive role models serve as an example to learn from and strive to emulate in some way, helping you to achieve your full potential. However, it’s important to choose your role models carefully – making sure that you respect this person and that their values align with your own. It’s also important to consider different role models for different parts of your life or different stages of your life. It’s important to be always learning so as you set yourself new goals and targets, ensure that your role model is someone relevant to that goal.

Who are your role models?

I have named this person before but she still really resonates with me – I really admire Beyoncé. She has leveraged her brand very successfully so that she now has her own entertainment and management company Parkwood Entertainment. She has added a music label to its operations and the first three artists she signed were women. She continues to innovate and reinvent herself – a great example of this was the recently launched ‘athleisure’ clothing brand Ivy Park. She also invested in WTRMLN WTR, a female-founded watermelon water start-up. Empowering women seems to be an ongoing theme for her, which is very much in line with my vision of supporting diversity and female entrepreneurship.

Tell us a bit about your career journey

Essentially, I realised I had a passion for sales early in my career and while the product or service I was selling has changed over the years, the opportunity to engage with customers, understand their needs and give them what they want has remained a constant. While my current role involves more than sales, engaging with customers and selling a proposition is the core of what we do. We have ambitions to continue to grow and to do that, we need to maintain our sales focus – something I like and am good at. My career history shows that sales has remained a constant except for one small journey into marketing. I quickly moved back to a sales position, realising that I already had my dream job and that marketing was not for me.

What motivates you?

I love sales, I love engaging with people and I love when you can match the two together. That passion has motivated me throughout my career working in a number of different businesses and  sectors and in my current role in Just Eat. I believe that being passionate about what you do is essential – a job takes up a huge proportion of your life – typically 5 days a week at a minimum so it is important that you enjoy it – both to keep you motivated and to ensure success. I love going in on a Monday, preparing a list of goals for the week ahead and I get great satisfaction from ticking all the tasks off the list by Friday. I am also hugely motivated when I see our numbers continue to grow.

How important is it to invest in technology?

Technology is at the core of everything we do at Just Eat. Leveraging our technology, I can effectively engage with restaurant partners, customers and colleagues throughout the day in an efficient manner. We communicate with all partners in a similar way through our app and this has proven to be a winning formula for our now 2,100 restaurant partners and customers across the country. Really, when you think about it, every company is a technology company. Digital drives the delivery of goods and services and consumers increasingly engage with brands, clothes, food in an online manner. Even the most traditional industries are looking at how they can digitally transform themselves – and if they are not, they should be.

What aspects have helped pave your way to the top?

I work hard, set goals and focus on achieving them. I am incredibly hands-on and continually challenge myself. Along my career journey, I’ve always made time for evaluation which I find keeps me focused on the bigger picture and on longer-term goals. I also invest in the selection and development of my team. The leadership team all share the vision and passion that I have for the business and we work well together to achieve shared success. I can be direct in my leadership style, but this ensures that there is clarity around what we are trying to do and everyone knows and understands the role they have to play in helping us get there. I have also had some very good managers along the way; people who have mentored, trusted and empowered me to try – even if it led to a mistake. I sponge new information and am not afraid to ask questions. This has stood to me as I moved into management positions.

What attributes should a person have to succeed in business today?

People need to be interesting and interested. The world of work is changing so fast we need people who are inquisitive and who are always thinking about what is next rather than just focusing on what is needed today. We also need people who are willing to collaborate and work as a team. In the past there was quite a lot of competition internally in companies – the best ideas were not shared but hidden. Today, managers want to see people bring the ideas into the room and to work them through with team mates. Solo players won’t get on well.

Best piece of advice or favourite motto?

To paraphrase my old leaving certificate pal, Shakespeare – drawing on Ophelia’s words in Hamlet –

We live in the present. What we know is what we know now and we respond to that; however, we do not know what we may become.

You need to decide what you want to become and must make deliberate decisions that will get you there. Whether that is selecting a mentor, doing more study, choosing a job to learn a skill and then moving on, or simply taking on additional tasks in your current role – don’t be passive, be deliberate. And who knows what you may become?