Lessons from the Boardroom with Pat McDonagh

The Association’s Mid-West Chapter was to host an evening with Pat McDonagh and Professor Stephen Kinsella at the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick. The format of the event was a fireside chat, which took place in front of a full house of members and students.

Pat McDonagh is the Managing Director of Ireland’s most successful indigenous quick service family restaurant group, Supermac’s. With over 116 restaurants throughout the country, the company employs over 4,000 people nationally and has helped to establish up to 60 self-employed franchisees in their own successful businesses. As well as being the owners of the iconic Supermac’s, Pat & his wife, Una, are also the owners of the Plaza Group of motorway service stations that includes the Barack Obama Plaza and the Portlaoise Plaza. Pat and Una own the Só Hotel Group that includes the Castletroy Park Hotel and Castle Oaks Hotel in Limerick, the Loughrea Hotel & Spa, the Charleville Park Hotel in Cork, the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise and the Athlone Springs Hotel.  Each hotel is an award winner with the LoughRea Hotel and Spa recently having been selected as the best wedding hotel in Ireland while the CastleTroy Park was selected by couples as the best wedding hotel in Munster.

Pic Arthur Ellis

Pat believes that a strong community is built on being actively involved in sport and community and he was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Industry. Both Pat and Una were honoured with an outstanding contribution award by the Irish Sponsorship Association for their commitment to sponsorship over the past 45 years.

Pat’s ‘take-aways’ from the evening:

  • If you have the drive and put in the effort you will succeed.
  • Self-financing makes you more careful about what you put money into
  • 70% decisions right
  • You really have to love what you are doing
  • Recruitment: do they have the right attitude? How do you test for attitude?
  • Fear of failure ensures failure – you overcome the fear
  • Be content what you’re doing is the right thing
  • Take the opportunity when it is there
  • The risk is part of the excitement
  • In business you’re always going forwards or backwards
  • Enjoy the success of people that started with you
  • Enjoy feedback from customers
  • Success has moved from ordinary people to vulture funds
  • Drone delivery will be a success

Pat McDonagh, Founder of Supermacs and Michelle Gallagher of the MBA Association of Ireland, pictured at the ‘Lessons from the Boardroom’ event at the Kemmy Business School in UL
Pic Arthur Ellis