If you're a lover of modern hospitality, there's a high chance you've been influenced by Coffee Supreme's Al Keating in one way or another - we certainly have. Not only was his tenure as CEO of Coffee Supreme one defined by incredible generosity, loyalty, and inclusivity, he's also got a reputation for wantonly throwing bones to growing businesses, and has a rolodex to boot.
Early on, Al and Jonny took a punt on us with Popped Culture. Since then, Al graciously taken many and varied calls from us saying "Al....we've got a problem." Invariably, he's got a reasoned, people-first idea to help us out. So when Al's speaks, we listen. You should too.
WHO is influencing you right now?
Influence is a big one. There's certainly a great number of people that influence me - influence and inspire. Two key people in my life I would have to say are my parents. Neil and Jenny Keating. They have always cut a different track, done things their own way, made family a huge priority, and have demonstrated to me what true generosity can look like.
They are both journalists by trade, so have always been good with words. Yet, they have done far more than just use words to influence me and the hoards of people that have been come into contact with them over my lifetime. From as long as I can remember they've made it a priority to include outsiders, help someone in need, lay another place at the table for an unexpected guest or subtly slip a fifty into someones hand.
Growing up, I knew things were tough financially, but what I saw was unending generosity and inclusion. This for me has been one of the most influential demonstrations of being a successful human.
WHAT is the next big thing you're excited about?
I've always said, that if you've got stuff to look forward to, you're probably the wealthiest person you know. So the thing that gives me something to look forward to, and my uncountable wealth, is my beautiful wife Bec. We've been married for nearly 17 years. We’ve had our share of cheers and tears over that time.
You hear a lot of drivel about love and commitment, I probably don't need to give you examples.But what I have come to love and appreciate about my marriage to Bec is our contentment. It sounds like the sun-faded twilight phase of your grandparents marriage I know - but true contentment is something to look forward to. Committing to a lifetime of discovering contentment together, and achieving that, is one thing I truly look forward to in my life. Contentment for me is what love is in its essence.
Someone told me once that compromise is the key to a successful life-long relationship, but I've come to discover that is a gross inaccuracy.Compromise creates nothing more than two dissatisfied humans. What one wanted, neither have brought about. And, what neither wished for - both have just acquired. Perhaps the proverbial 'middle ground' is where discontent is conceived and born. And discontent grows to become a relationship's greatest achilles. Two people gaining nothing but beige and C+. Can’t say I look forward to that.
So what I'm really looking forward to, is contentment. And the upcoming summer holidays with her and the kids. Always the summer holidays.
WHERE are you going next?
I'm headed to Mangawhai just north of Auckland. We were lucky enough to be able to buy this shabby little cottage on a quarter of an acre up there. I grew up having pretty modest summer holidays at Mangawhai, and fell in love with the place. Back then though, people drove rusting Valiants down to the 4 Square instead of Vogues, and a two-scoop ice cream actually had 3 scoops and was was cheaper than your jandals, and it was just called ice cream.
I'd love for my kids to be able to grow up having holidays there too, even tho when they're teenagers there'll probable be a motorway offramp over the beach and house prices will be comparable to the cost of starting a medium-sized airline. So we’re headed up there with my broken skill saw and mis-matched furniture, to make it as liveable and fun as possible.
So far we've got an old plunger and a few of our favourite mugs from home in Avondale, a big table in the courtyard out back, and a stink-to-average bbq I got at Bunnings - so we're pretty much set.
There's a bunch of cool projects going on here at Supreme too that I'm pretty excited about - growing Tokyo, building our new Auckland home and cafe experience and a bunch of other interesting new products rolling out here and in Oz and Japan. You'll hear about them all pretty soon too.