Sanjeev Sanghera, managing director, Döner Shack and Döner Haus
Sanjeev started his journey in his family’s restaurant.
My first ever job was working as a kitchen porter in my dad’s restaurant.
I was first introduced to franchising in 1998 when Domino’s was just starting. Before that point, I didn’t understand what it was. I knew that McDonald’s was a franchisor but my knowledge was limited.
My job entails working a lot on the strategy and growth of the business. I direct all our different departments from finance and marketing to operations, and new projects, so my job is very varied on a day-to-day basis.
My professional strengths are being able to look at a restaurant from every single aspect, from the bottom to the top, and how a kitchen should work in-depth. Being able to identify bottlenecks and removing them.
The thing I love most about my job is opening new sites, I love the challenge of looking for new properties and bringing our brand to a new audience that might not have experienced what we’re doing.
I live by a piece of advice my dad gave me, which is working a little bit every day is worth more than trying to do lots in a short space of time.
The funniest thing about my career is somebody I went to school with, from the age of about 10 years old, is one of our competitors in the kebab industry, Athif Sarwar, who owns GDK. I find it hilarious that two of the biggest kebab franchise brands hail from the Southside of Glasgow.
The most difficult part of my job is the challenge of having to learn so much about business. Not just learn it, but then I challenge myself to make decisions that will make us the best in the industry.
People’s reactions when I tell them what I do are very positive. One thing that I have seen on social media is the number of personal messages that I get because people know where I was, and what I did to get to where I am now. To some people, it’s inspirational and I like that I can inspire people.
The anticipation of business growth keeps Sanjeev awake
The first thing I do in the morning is wash my face and brush my teeth. Then, I take my two dogs for a quick walk.
I usually get into the office around 10.00 am, that’s my target time.
Most of the morning up until lunchtime, I’ll concentrate on my emails and deal with anything that’s urgent and needs to be rectified. We’re developing multiple sites at once, that’s always my priority.
For lunch, I usually like to have something simple. Right now, I’m on a health kick. I’ll have something healthy like chicken with salad, pretty much every day. Occasionally, I’ll have a Thai curry, because it’s easy to heat up in the office microwave!
In the afternoon, I like to work with the marketing team and the branding team on projects that are coming up in the future. I’ll touch base with various people up until 6.00 pm or 7.00 pm in the evening.
I usually try to leave the office by 6.00 pm in the evening. I normally get home shortly after, however, it can be as late as 9.00 pm.
I drive home. My time to myself in my car is when I have my best ideas. When driving home, I just put on my music. I’ll only listen to podcasts in about one in every 10 journeys.
My perfect evening after a long day at work is a short workout in the gym for a half hour followed by relaxing in the steam room. In my head, I’m already mentally preparing for tomorrow’s challenges.
I go to sleep fairly late. I often don’t drift off until 1.00 am.
The thing that can keep me up at night is anticipation. The anticipation of everything that’s about to come with our business, the excitement, knowing that I must be patient.
I spend a lot of time on the phone before bed, it’s become such an integral part of our lives. Social media is a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family and keeping up with what they’re doing.
Get to know…
Living life in the fast lane is how Sanjeev switches off from the pressure of business.
My guilty pleasure is racing cars. I don’t get to do it as often as I like. But I am currently preparing for the Ferrari Challenge. It’s been a great opportunity and opened a lot of doors in terms of business as well.
I’m already living where I want to live, I just moved to Canary Wharf in London. I am in my ideal spot and I tend to make the most of the amenities around me.
My role models in life are the McDonald’s brothers (and not Ray Kroc), because of their foresight, their way of thinking about how the kitchen works and taking all the stress points out of the kitchen environment.
The most adventurous thing I’ve done in my life is never giving up. That’s what set me on an adventure.
The one film I could watch over and over is The Founder.
My biggest regret in my career would be my first business, not taking people’s advice and letting myself get into a mental state that wasn’t healthy. I regret not having more control of that, but I don’t regret going through it, because I came out a better person.
If there’s one food I could eat until I die, it would be kebabs.
The one thing that I wish I could change about myself is that I wish I could be a little bit more relaxed, and not so intense.
My dream job when I was young was to own my own business. From a young age, there was a lot of entrepreneurial spirit around about me. My granddad came to Britain with very little and ended up owning the biggest independent furniture store in West London.