UCB Conference: Darren Park provides industry insights and advice to retailers

Darren Park, CEO of UCB Stores, discusses team-building, diversification, and customer trends during the 2022 UCB National Member Conference and Trade Show at Royal Pines Resort, Qld,

Park spoke of the difficulties faced during Covid and the effort that his staff put in, highlighting the eclectic nature of the team and their strength and ability in solving problems.

“Everybody in my team is eclectic. We all have something special in us. And someone in your team is that special person. We’ve just got to find them. Covid should’ve allowed us to do that.”

Park gave the example of Eddy Nader, Managing Director of NPG Retail, who being short-staffed, hired Park’s sister-in-law and when called upon last minute to fill in for a weekend double-shift cancelled her trip to Tasmania.

“That person is the diamond in your business. The one that you need to look for. The one that jumps into the fire when you’re in the shit. They’re the people you want to be with you. Everyone is underestimated in this industry.”

Not only is the finding the right staff pivotal to your business but so is creating a recognised consistency of quality from your consumer.

“We’re a business of enticing and persuading shoppers to purchase from us, so deliver reliability, be consistent. Someone said to me that McDonalds has the best coffee in the world, but it’s not, it’s 80 per cent. But it’s 80 per cent every day.

“That’s why I always work with the Reneka machine. It doesn’t care what bean you put in. The Reneka machine takes away the consistency issue. It’s about simplicity fast. I could put my 13-year-old daughter on the machine and she could make 500 cups of coffee in a day, at $4 each, with three minutes of training.

“That’s the person I want. Because every barista I’ve hired says ‘I’m a barista, I don’t sweep floors’, ‘I’m a barista, I don’t stack fridges’. It’s simplicity that we go for.”

Park also discussed the importance of diversifying range and identifying customer’s needs.

“We actually have aspirational marketing versus who actually consumes our product. Our supply chains have moved dramatically and we’ve comfortably moved our business to be a ‘just in time to just supply’ chain approach. Now we need to adopt the ‘just in case’ approach.

“Do you have the inventory, tools, and expertise to make this change without seeing stockrooms overflow, or hurting cashflow or product quality? Many people say we need a new playbook. I think we need to be always making sure we scan for changes in friends and services and enhance the customer experience.”

Over the coming days at the UCB conference and trade show, Park said UCB members will see that they have the capability to make these trends part of their mission possible.

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