Home Articles & Features People of the North: John Broderick, MD of Broderick’s

People of the North: John Broderick, MD of Broderick’s

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John Broderick, Managing Director of Manchester based Broderick’s luxury coffee and refreshments company
John Broderick, Managing Director of Manchester based Broderick’s luxury coffee and refreshments company

Established in 1969 & originally known as Manchester Vending, Broderick’s is a family-owned, national luxury coffee and refreshments company headquartered in Manchester.

Broderick’s serves up café quality coffee, leaf teas and an exciting range of snacks in its state of the art vending machines at clients’ premises throughout the UK.

Trailblazers in the vending sector, the company has celebrated a string of industry ‘firsts’ whether in terms of technology, sustainability or healthy snacking options. The latest Broderick’s ‘first’ is the UK vending sector’s first loyalty app: Broderick’s Pay4Vend, which was rolled out nationally earlier this year.

Broderick’s is about more than vending machines – with a selection of workplace catering options and a number of boutique coffee bars too including one at Manchester Airport.

The business was started by John’s father John Broderick Snr almost 50 years ago and John joined over 25 years ago after a brief spell in the travel sector.

It was important to John and his father too that he had first hand experience of all aspects of the business so he knew what made the industry tick & was equipped with the experience and insight required for board level decision making at a later date.

Whilst his mother had hoped he might just become a priest (as John said he blew that by becoming a father at just 17!) it was always highly likely that John & his brother Peter would get involved in the family firm sooner or later as they grew up steeped in his father’s immense pride in and passion for the business.

How long have you been running your business and what does your business do?

I’m a second-generation entrepreneur. I’ve been directing the Broderick’s business for around 20 years.

At Broderick’s we see ourselves as the pioneers who got #VendingTrending by turning

it into a considered purchase, an exciting & engaging experience that’s relevant for a new generation of 21st century vending customers.

We’re proud that buying a snack from a Broderick’s machine is anything but a distress purchase – it’s a treat in terms of product quality, breadth of choice and the experience on offer! With the launch of the new vending app it’s also a fun experience, offering immense prizes such as concert tickets and ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.

Our clients range from household names like Sky Broadcasting & Amazon through to UK airports, libraries, universities, healthcare providers, office blocks and business parks.

What or who was the inspiration for the business current path you are on?

It has to be my father who founded the company and still plays an important role in its success as Chairman. Every day my brother Peter and I take inspiration from our father’s approach: from the very beginning he has stood by the ethos of never compromising on customer service.

Our outlook on the need for innovation is also the same, from leading technological advances in v-commerce through to being amongst the vanguard of businesses offering fair-trade coffee back in the 1980s.

Drawing on this inspiration I guess like any 2nd generation entrepreneur I was keen to put our generation’s stamp on the business – rebranding it as Broderick’s to reflect our family values, its national presence and wider offering, whilst making it directly relevant to the 21st century vending consumer.

What is the one bit of advice you wish you’d been given before you started your business?

I’m very fortunate as I’ve had lots of great advice over the years from my Dad.

Being open minded and flexible can mean being open or receptive to new opportunities and innovation too and this is key to differentiating your business offering.

On a more straightforward level: never, ever give up, don’t be put off by setbacks and instead make sure you use them as valuable learning experiences.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during the experience of running your own business?

Never view your business as a day job: successful businesses grow from a foundation of passion & commitment with dogged determination.

If I’m allowed a second lesson, it’s: surround yourself with the best team possible, people who share your vision for the business and are with you all the way. It’s also important to be open to their ‘take’ on how to do things better, as your team very often has the answers you were searching for….

What do you see as your future business challenges?

It’s staying ahead of the curve to answer to consumers who are ever more demanding due to the level of choice out there. That means that innovation and excellence are crucial to
protecting our position as vending visionaries.

We also need to keep abreast of environmental issues & the evolving plastics agenda and keep one step ahead of changing tastes in snacking – whether that’s low sugar, generally healthier options or ‘free from’ offerings etc. Dietary requirements and trends change so it was good we were prepared for this year’s increased uptake of the vegan lifestyle.

We’ve stolen a march on the competition by introducing the Broderick’s Better for You range a few years back and every healthier options line we add to the range is personally tested by a member of the Broderick’s team.

We’ll continue to strive to be sector leaders rather than followers, always prepared to challenge the status quo.

What would you like to leave as your business legacy?

A successful national business that leads the way and breaks new ground in its field. A business that empowers & fulfils its employees and provides a stimulating & fun place to work, whilst also doing its bit to help the wider community.

What would you say is your biggest business achievement so far?

Embracing the very latest technology to take vending sector customer service into a different league and ensure that we have an offering that’s in step with the needs of today’s time-poor techno savvy customers. Trailblazing innovations through technology – such as the launch of the UK industry’s first vending sector loyalty app and the development of our Broderick’s Media Vend point of purchase advertising channel which has attracted the advertising spend of some of the biggest global outfits in the snacking & confectionery sector.

None of this would be possible without recruiting and empowering such a strong & passionate team of people to work for us.

When you are not running your business, what do you do to relax?

I enjoy playing the piano, the occasional game of badminton and socialising with family and friends.

Having said that I don’t completely switch off when I’m out and about as I’m always looking for inspiration for the next big thing for Broderick’s.

Your biggest achievement outside of business?

Without a doubt my fabulous (grown up) children and family at large.

I’d also say learning to play the piano a little later in life than many people manage to master a musical instrument.

Find out more about Broderick’s here.

Follow Broderick’s on Twitter here.