Learning Curve | Building on success a win-win for all

Re-establishing well known businesses a magic formula for enterprising Bay family

Ryan, Pauline and Brett Ritchie at Fernando’s Guest House at 102 Cape Road. Their stable includes Fernando’s Guest House, Bay Lodge Guest House, The Grill on Cape, Kitchen on Cape and The Daily Grind
Ryan, Pauline and Brett Ritchie at Fernando’s Guest House at 102 Cape Road. Their stable includes Fernando’s Guest House, Bay Lodge Guest House, The Grill on Cape, Kitchen on Cape and The Daily Grind
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Reviving, modernising and reestablishing businesses has been the magic formula for Pauline Ritchie and her husband Brett.

Can you give me some background on yourself and how and when the business was started?

The Ritchie family previously owned a lodge in the Zuurberg mountains, in the Greater Addo area catering predominately for the foreign market.

I was always passionate about the industry and actively pursued opportunities to reenter the market.

What makes your business unique?

We have taken over existing, long-established businesses from the founding families with a view to reviving, modernising and re-establishing their place in the market.

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

A lesson we have learned from the business model is not to change what works and to identify and implement complimentary services and ideas.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before even getting off the ground?

These were usually financial-related in terms of start-up capital, building cashflow, marketing constraints and costs associated with these areas of the business.

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?

In this industry these challenges are to ensure economies of scale and to maintain quality and service with well-trained and efficient management and staff.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you about success?

Success comes from being happy doing what you are doing – your passion and drive in your chosen industry will go a long way to ensuring your success.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

By receiving complimentary feedback from your guests, being recommended by past guests and patrons and having your guests or patrons return.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

The best practices are to measure up to expectations, be consistent in product and service delivery and not to over-promise and under-deliver.

What kind of advertising do you do?

At present advertising is done on social media, brochure drops and hopefully word of mouth.

A website is in the process of being developed encompassing the entire group of companies – Fernando’s Guest House, Bay Lodge Guest House, Kitchen on Cape, The Grill on Cape and most recently The Daily Grind.

This is our daytime bistro/coffee shop and lunch stop under one umbrella.

What are some of your highlights in running your business?

A few of the highlights include receiving positive feedback and compliments on service delivery and product quality and being invited to promote the businesses at various sports events and venues by well-respected events coordinators and sporting personalities.

How many people do you employ?

We currently employ 10 permanent employees and make use of temporary employees when the need arises.

How do you motivate staff?

The staff are motivated by being encouraged to participate in the business in their particular areas of responsibility and by interacting with them at regular intervals to discuss and address areas of concern and areas of growth.

How did you acquire funding for the business?

Our business has been completely self-funded to date and as we enter the next phase of our growth trajectory, various funding models and ideas will be explored.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business journey so far?

The biggest lesson we have learned so far is to project and provide for the peaks and valleys which are not only seasonal, but can be suddenly imposed or thrust upon you by a number of other factors completely out of your control.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?

The greatest challenges of running a business in PE are predominately centered around trying to attract volume and creating a dedicated core client base.

The advantages are being able to conduct business in a relatively calm and structured environment.

Operating in a relatively small city offers the added advantage of being able to get to know your competition and react and operate accordingly.

What do you think are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?

These are to know your product and competitors.

You need discipline and self belief, persistence and tenacity.

You also need integrity, honesty and compassion, a sense of direction and good judgement.

And you have to be a decisive decision-maker and a humanitarian.