James Dare

Name: James Dare 

Job title: Co-founder 

Company: The Salad Project 

What was your first job? By taking the Cambridge Dictionary definition of job to be “the regular work that a person does to earn money”, it would be shift work at the wonderful Pig in the Forest in Hampshire. That first job consisted of getting my feet (and shirt) wet in hospitality. I was grateful to learn from such wonderful hospitality icons such as Soma Dala and Jina Kim.

What’s been your worst job interview? Well, my comrade in arms, Florian de Chezelles, once organised a prank interview for me. Obviously rather shameful on my end, but many a laugh was had at my expense. But as a whole I don’t believe in interviewing as a process. I’d rather show them what I can do than tell them. I would always offer a free trial to my employers rather than an interview. That’s a tip for you all!

What was the first music single you bought? Macklemore, The Heist.

How do you describe your job to your friends? I would never describe it as a job. One does not quit their mundane office job and risk it all to pursue another irrelevant existence. So when my friends ask me what do I do to fill my time, I simply respond “my passion”. While that normally evokes a scoff or raised eye, I know they either know what I mean or have envy in my answer. But in layman’s terms, I say that I lead the operational side of The Salad Project. Ensuring our customers get great-quality service, food and experiences at any of our branches.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of the job is the employees. I don’t love the word employees as they are so much more than that. We are like the great Oseberg ship, we only move in the right direction if we are all pulling together. So when I see a buddy member (that’s what I call them) being happy in their work, taking a smile home, thriving not surviving, that gives me such great satisfaction.

What is the least rewarding part? I guess, the times when I realise that it is a business at the end of the day. The moment that I realise what we do has to make sense in the game of quarters and dimes. I know it’s important, I know it is. I just try and see it as the facilitator that allows us to do the good things that I am passionate about. Hospitality of our buddy members and our customers.

What is your motto in life? I have two: “leave no doubt” (go all in and never look back) and “at the end of the day, sand is sand” (which means, however much you try and change something, sand will still be sand).

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? I would love to be able to play the music I like in the store instead of the approved playlists. Florian loves his electro house, but if it was me, we would be rockin’ some old school, dirt road country music. Think Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker and Old Dominion.

Do you have any phobias? Eisoptrophobia, which is the fear of mirrors. It’s not that I’m scared of my own image or anything, I am scared of someone popping up behind me. Always have been, since I was a little kid, even have a case on my phone that limits the reflective attributes of my screen.

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? More hospitality brick and mortar news! Please!

What luxury would you have on a desert island? Football Manager and a laptop with unlimited charge. I don’t need internet or anything fancy, just the ability to take Sutton United to the Champions League.

What animal most reflects your personality? A snake – I am only dangerous when I feel threatened. That sounds bad, but I mean it in a good way. I am not slippery or snake-like as in sneaky.

What’s your favourite film and why? Saving Private Ryan. The cinematography, historical accuracy and character development is just unlike anything we have ever seen before.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? Oh no, sorry The Grocer. But we don’t know each other that well yet.

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? René Redzepi hands down. I never got to eat at Noma, but if i got to work with him for a day, maybe I could?

What would your death row meal be? Might have guessed it from above – but a little doggie bag from Noma, delivered by René Redzepi.

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