"At some point the choice is to maintain cruising altitude or challenge yourself," says Danny de Ruiter. ©Aubrey Smith
"At some point the choice is to maintain cruising altitude or challenge yourself," says Danny de Ruiter. ©Aubrey Smith

This is who I am: Danny de Ruiter

The head of procurement at UK cafe and restaurant chain Benugo spoke to Supply Management

How did you get into procurement?
Quite accidently. I was assistant general manager at Amsterdam Airport for catering firm HMSHost when I was promoted to food and beverage cost controller.

What was your big career break?
At Leon, when the number of outlets was in the teens and the atmosphere electric. I worked with the commercial director who was incredibly generous about sharing knowledge and contacts. 

How did you get your current role?
There’s a lifespan of a role, both for the business and for yourself. At some point the choice is to maintain cruising altitude or challenge yourself. Benugo presented a fresh challenge – the job requirements, experience required and challenge fitted like a jigsaw. 

Tell us something we might not know about Benugo
It’s not only a high street cafe brand; the empire includes vast numbers of visitor attractions – including top museums – where you can have our coffee.

What does an ‘average’ day look like for you?
We start the day with the functioning of the supply chain for an estate of more than 120 locations; so there’s usually some excitement to be had; weather, traffic, incidents, London, etc. I love a factory visit – seeing an acclimatising room for avocados or how much physical labour is involved with lettuce harvest.

The best part of my job is…
Finding the next ‘thing’ that works for our business – this could be a new gin or improvement in the supply chain, category or margins.

My current top challenges…
The current yes/no/maybe/postpone/yes/no political climate. But to be honest, it will always be value – note: value for money, not cost.

What piece of advice would you give to junior procurement professionals?
Do not ever accept the status quo.

The future of procurement is...
Less transactional, more partnership; less pat-on-back, more information; more automated.

What is the proudest moment in your career?
Balancing work and life; a young family doesn’t care for an x% improvement on chicken – they just want to have a pillowfight!

How do you relax in your free time?
In the glorious Kent countryside with the family and hound; plus I do a bit of running to keep the blueberry muffins at bay.

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