Inside Track: Eileen O’Connor, Café Riva founder
The Irish catering company provides gourmet food to private jet companies
Eileen O’Connor, founder of Café Riva: “We started the business entirely from our own resources and cash flow is a real challenge until a steady income stream begins to flow.”
What is special about your business?
What sets your business apart?
Studies have shown that the atmosphere in an aircraft reduces our sense of taste by about 30 per cent. We understand the challenges this involves and have concentrated our focus on the use of the fifth sense known as “umami” – a Japanese term describing a pleasant savoury taste.
What has been your biggest challenge?
From a business perspective, managing cash flow during start-up.
We started the business entirely from our own resources and cash flow is a real challenge until a steady income stream begins to flow.
What has been your biggest success?
Equally important for us was moving from a rented premises, which had many restrictions, to our own custom-designed unit closer to the airport. We invested heavily in this move.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Who do you admire most in business and why?Margaret HeffernanDunnes Stores
What two things could the Government do to help SMEs?
In your experience, are the banks lending?
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in business?
The one that springs to mind is a reluctance to delegate in the early days. This can slow down the growth of your business.
What is the most frustrating part of running a small business?
What’s your business worth and would you sell it?
It also takes years to build a committed team who understand the service level goals and really want to achieve them. We put a lot of emphasis on staff retention and training. Many of the team have worked here for over 10 years. This has enabled them to develop a personal knowledge of our customers’ needs and that’s not easy to put a price on.