Above Image Photo Courtesy: Soho House

If you love coffee and if you love travel, Daniel Thompson is a person to know.  Always on the go, jet-setting between Barcelona, New York, London, Berlin, and beyond, Thompson operates as the Head of Coffee Development for Soho House & Co.  As smart as he his is cultured, Thompson has lived a life of well curated adventure and tenacious pursuits and yes, his job is as interesting as it sounds.  Our chat with Thompson…

@MrDan_Thompson

Photo By: @MrDan_Thompson

So how did you start…did Hospitality or Coffee come first?
During school I took on a part-time job at a restaurant and fell in love with the service industry. I worked in a range of roles from barista and bartender to floor manager and General Manager across Auckland, New Zealand, before setting off for London. It was here I started to focus on coffee, starting with a large national supplier before moving into the specialty sector, helping set-up and grow Caravan Coffee Roasters.

After almost a decade in London, I’d had the pleasure of working with some of city’s top restaurants and cafes. I’d spent time with progressive hospitality leaders and saw a huge opportunity within Soho House & Co, so in 2014 I approached them with a three-year coffee development strategy.

So how did you spot the opportunity at Soho House & Co? 
Soho House was always focused on providing an amazing atmosphere with spaces where creative industries can come together to work, relax and socialize under the same roof. A home away from home if you like. As the speciality coffee industry grew up so did its consumers. People started to expect more, taking it from being “just a cup of coffee” to an intense journey in search of the perfect cup. The Group observed these changes over time, in how they affected the consumer and the market, and knew that they wanted to evolve this part of their business. This change is not seen as an admission of weakness but as striving toward constant improvement and willingness to adapt.

@MrDan_Thompson

Photo By: @MrDan_Thompson

What have been some of the largest obstacles with this role?
Ultimately we wanted to completely change the entire coffee culture of the Soho House & Co. Rebuilding from the ground up, making the coffee an experience rather than an afterthought was the biggest challenge. This applies to everyone involved from bartenders and floor staff to architects and financial controllers – but it’s also about managing members’ expectations. We’ve made big changes but the improvements had to come in stages, this is what makes sure that the transformation is lasting and sustainable. I’m proud of our results, not least because the programme has invigorated staff – people across the global group now have a newfound passion, respect and perspective on coffee.

Jet-setting as often as you do, what are the top items you don’t leave home without?
Tom Ford Aftershave
Sunglasses
A good bag is a must have
Personalized moleskin (a present from my girlfriend that’s a nice reminder of home)
Headphones by Bose
iPhone 7
Where possible I try to travel light, so shoes need to suit work and play and these are one of my favourite pairs via Common Projects and Mr. Porter

Great selects!

Soho House Istanbul

Photo By: Soho House Istanbul

So coffee from all over the world – that’s a theme we can get behind. What are some of your favorites?
The beauty of coffee is the end-to-end process. Coffee is subjective; there is something for everyone. When dealing with specialty coffee you are talking about a seasonal product, much like wine certain vintages are better than others – it’s impossible to name a favourite, but yearly there’s a stand-out coffee that I go out of my way to drink. Ambiance and passion make or break a place too, so my favourite spots tend to be based on the whole experience rather than just the product.

soho-house-istanbul-by-mrdan_thompson

Photo By: @MrDan_Thompson

For the uninitiated – what do you like most about the Soho house?
Design! I just love the aesthetics, it’s a combination of eras and therefore timeless. Beautifully curated rather than trend led. Soho House really does have a great feel, likeminded people coming together for work and play – and I respect the high service standards the group aims for across their global portfolio. This, mixed with an exciting list of locations across the world and you get a unique experience that is unparalleled in my view. Each house is different, yet wonderfully familiar.

Any particular location of the 17 you like more than others?
The recently opened Barcelona property is up there along with the absolutely stunning Malibu property. Berlin has a place in my heart for sure, its one of the most fun houses. Realistically it is really hard to pick just one, that would be like picking a favorite child.

@mrdan_thompson Soho House

Photo By: @MrDan_Thompson

Soho House have an in-depth understanding of modern luxury consumers – referring to it simply as ‘good living’ – so each house is different and yet able to cater to different people. They change with the seasons and are connected to the cultural and creative scenes in the cities in which they are located so preference it really depends on the individual.

We always like to ask people about what inspires and or motivates them – any quotes you keep in your day-to-day to keep you focused and or inspired?
Generally speaking I try and always find a positive in every situation. I also like to surround myself with positive, independent thinkers. The most exciting people in this world are creating opportunities rather than just following them, I find real inspiration in that. My friends range from other service industry professionals to designers, film-makers, sportsmen, programmers, teachers, entrepreneurs and countless other backgrounds and professions. I’m lucky to have dear friends across the world, which is helpful when you spend half your life travelling.

A couple of my favourite sayings: No idea where it originated from but my father said to me as a boy to “never settle for anything less than what makes you happy” – I try to live with that as my mantra.

“Manners are free.”

Soho House @MrDan_Thompson

Photo By: @MrDan_Thompson

Keep up with Daniel Thompson and his travels live on Instagram @mrdan_thompason

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