This month Ulster Life catches up with Emma Shannon. Marketing manager for the incredibly successful boojum chain and former CMPR girl.
What’s your job title?
My official title is Marketing Manager. I work on Boojum Belfast, Dublin, our new restaurant in Galway and also Bubbacue on Callender Street, which opened at the end of last year.
What time does your typical day begin?
Officially 9, but because being late stresses me out more than anything in the world, I’ll normally be in by 8.30.
What’s a typical working day?
Most of my work is computer based, so I’ll sit with several (large) coffees and usually stick my headphones in so I can concentrate if there is lots of bustle going on around me. I answer all feedback that comes through the website, all Facebook pages (Belfast, Dublin, Galway and Bubbacue) and Twitter. Mostly it’s all good because luckily all our restaurants have great customers who will write us poems, send pictures of their food or send in funny videos which keep me amused. I organise promos, competitions and work a lot with various students groups, societies and sports teams on sponsorship. We like to support local charities and teams as much as possible but always try to keep things fun. I organise our events, we had a Belfast Giants vs Ulster Rugby eating contest in Belfast last year, we do customer eating contests in Dublin and a hot wing challenge once every few months in Bubbacue. When there’s a story there I’ll chat to journalists to see if they are interested and get a photographer down so I can send pictures out, as well as working at the event.
Things get a bit hectic when we open a new restaurant because there’s a lot of organisation to spread the word and get the local media interested, but luckily everyone I’ve had the chance to work with has always been really interested in our food. I also get to travel around, which keeps things interesting. Then I do day to day stuff like order all our signage, loyalty cards, t-shirts and menus. Oh and the best bit; I get to eat boojum everyday J
As marketing manager are you more of a team player or mainly on your own?
I’m a team of one so most of my work is solo, but I chat daily to all the senior members of management and all the restaurant managers. The owner is very involved so we will work together too, he is outnumbered as the rest of his management team are all girls. He definitely has his hands full!
What sort of deadlines exist in the world of boojum?
Customer service is really important to us, so I try to respond to anyone who gets in touch within 24 hours. Then there are all the usual deadlines that come with working with journalists, advertising teams and organising events.
How did you end up in your current position?
I did PR and marketing internships throughout university, then I studied MSC Communication, Advertising and PR at Jordanstown. I got an internship at CMPR during this, which then lead to full time work with loads of experience. Then I started working in boojum about a year a half ago. I think about food all day every day anyway, so at least now I have an excuse.
What’s a relaxing evening or weekend?
I am a bit of an exercise fiend, so normally the gym or kettlebell classes. I’m a sucker for terrible telly, good music and spending hours looking at pictures of cats on the internet. Or taking pictures of my cats and putting them on the internet.
Favourite thing of the menu?
Boojum: Pork burrito with Mexican rice, pinto beans, corn, tomato and hot salsas, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Bubbacue: Brisket sandwich with fries and mac & cheese…and burnt ends… and wings.
Outside of boojum where do you eat, drink & dance?
I love Slim’s Kitchen already, their sweet potato fries are a dream. I like a few pints at the Hudson or Duke of York and dancing is normally Laverys (I’m still trying to pretend I’m young).