Carmen Malo with over 8 years of experience in revenue management and data analysis, has set herself responsible for taking the restaurant revenue optimization to the next level by applying dynamic yield management strategies and by exploring what is next. Her inner drive is to always find new techniques to generate value and help people at their jobs. She is a true pioneer with a desire to transform the industry.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Carmen Mallo: Where I am today is thanks to the first job I got in the UK as a waitress. I studied music and business in Spain (where I am from), but when I moved to London my work options were limited to my low English level. I showed up to the restaurant trial incredibly nervous. So when I was handled my first contract in an A6 sheet, I literally could not believe it and I cried. Ever since I worked consistently my way up to lead a team of 50 and manage the revenue for one of the most successful restaurant groups in the UK. I am grateful to everybody that gave me an opportunity all these years, because of that I can now help restaurants to drive performance to a different level and explore their full potential through my own company.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Carmen Mallo: My inspiration comes from books, my family, and my friends. However, my inner drive comes from all the battles I went through during the recent years of my life and how I overcame them. I always knew the only way to progress forward is to learn from history and make the necessary changes that can help people now and in the future. For that reason, I am a big fan of philosophy and people that use their words and actions to promote a better way of living. I cannot say of one particular person that inspired me to take this journey as many have contributed to it.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Carmen Mallo: Each entrepreneurial story is unique because behind the scenes there is a team of people, one or many ideas and so often many cultural backgrounds. The main challenge I have so far encountered is that some people simply love the idea of becoming an entrepreneur without really understanding what that entitles. There is a huge amount of work to do and a lot to sacrifice in most cases and not everybody is ready for that despite how attractive to have your own company might sound. Elon musk says if you work double the time of someone else, your odds to overcome them multiply. The second challenge I struggle with is false beliefs. It is incredibly hard to realize there are things you are simply not good at, so it is better to invest your time elsewhere. We are all (especially entrepreneurs) responsible for learning what is best for us and others through hours of reasoning, critical thinking, and help if needed. The word entrepreneur should not be taken it for granted.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Carmen Mallo: REMS Hospitality helps restaurants understand the market they operate in and how they can overcome the competition by providing them with insightful data and resources. If something, restaurants have suffered the pandemic more than any other business but thanks to the online platforms some of them were able to continue offering delivery during the most difficult times.
The parameters to define success in a company have changed drastically and as David Campbell said: “I think restaurants need to look at current comparative data, as soon as they can. Comparisons with the past, particularly in current times, are becoming less relevant a comparison to other periods have become less relevant.”So in that aspect, the pandemic has helped REMS Hospitality. I understand my answer might not be truly linked to your question because of the nature of the industry I operate in, but the pandemic has demonstrated that nowadays you either innovate or die. So restaurants have to embrace this fully.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Carmen Mallo: I love this question. I see REMS providing benchmarking data to more than 50,000 worldwide and helping restaurants to invest where they only needed. I want restaurants to become obsessed with market share, to look at the app daily, and work harder toward realistic and measurable targets. We believe when revenue management systems for hotels become highly accurate and efficient, some of these professionals will migrate to restaurants and the first thing they will demand is: where are my benchmarking reports?.
I also aim to help restaurants become less reactive by understanding how much they can achieve if they focus on their competition more. Aso, restaurants should start hiring revenue managers to increase their revenues by adding a new perspective to their operations. To summarise, my purpose is to cultivate a culture within restaurants where “me, myself, and I” become less relevant and the industry expands towards a more globalized and competitive vision.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Carmen Mallo: I am a work in progress, hehe. But so far honesty, knowledge, and people have helped me to be where I am in today. Honesty is a double-edged sword. Some people manage to reach the top of organizations by being the complete opposite, which I am still trying to work out how they do it and get away with it. I simply cannot consciously harm someone knowing that will make me more powerful or richer. I do not think it is worth it. But that is just my opinion. Knowledge because is the only way to move forward. The progress we are experiencing is not because of some shallow speakers or inadequate politicians, it is thanks to those who silently have worked hard using their knowledge to seek something better.
People. We are nothing if we do not surround ourselves with the right people. I think of people skills and development above any rigid structures. I once was told, do not think about the person, think about the role. And I thought how? I have great talents in front of me that could be increasing the value of any business, but they cannot because they are put in boxes with static role descriptions. I am conscious in big organizations, it should be a mixture of both role and person, but for startups, It is paramount to scan the person for what they can do and adjust the roles accordingly.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your brand reflects your company’s values?
Carmen Mallo: Absolutely. When I was sharing the idea of REMS with my closest friends or colleagues, they were all saying: “This is a great idea, you are going to become a millionaire, etc.” After hearing the same comments over and over I realized, are they telling me this because they believe in me or REMS? So, the point is, your brand is highly linked to what you do and in my case as CEO of REMS, my values have always been: driving for excellence, identifying talents, and never stopping researching and innovating.
How do you monitor if the people in your department are performing at their best?
Carmen Mallo: Managing people is difficult. It is a give and takes. It requires a lot of understanding and modesty. You need to be ready to hear nasty things, learn and move on. When you work in an organization is critical to learn where the company is heading, get familiar with the dynamics and how that will impact your department. Once that is clear, you become the navigator and your team is the engine that keeps things moving. The only way I know they are performing at their best is when they present me with a solution to a problem that is not a problem anymore. So to me, the whole process of identifying, thinking, and presenting a good and logical solution is what I use the evaluate success.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Carmen Mallo: I am not sure, to be honest. But from my experience and by talking to others I am more inclined to believe you are born with it. This is because I was born and educated in a way where the ultimate goal was to secure a lifetime job. Security above anything. My mum would shiver every time I was telling her I was changing jobs. Now, she is fine with it. Had I been educated differently, I would have probably started a company earlier but I guess the process was inevitable. Because since I walked into my dad’s friend office (bus company owner) at the age of six, I imagined what would be to manage all that myself
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Carmen Mallo: If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading. – Lao Tzu
And because I did not like where I was heading, I had to do what I could to go somewhere else. We most have the opportunity to seek a better life but the only problem is we do not know to do it, it is overwhelming and we are highly programmed to believe we don’t have the power as individuals to achieve something of a greater scale. But the reality is we do. There are millions of inspiring stories out there from 0 to hero, so I took the one that said: You can reeducate yourself as your brain will pick it up, you can help others as that will make you feel better and you can be an incredible source of wisdom if you realise that is what you are meant to be.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Carmen Mallo for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Carmen Mallo or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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