How This Entrepreneur Pivoted From Liquor Industry Veteran To Getting People Home Safe At Night

Heavy Chef spoke to Joffy Senekal, the entrepreneur behind 1 For The Road. Joffy has a wealth of global experience of over 20 years in the liquor industry. Joffy moved from sales rep to marketing manager and worked with some of the world's largest spirit brands. He then made a decision to start his own entrepreneurial project, offering a service that he knew too well from his experiences in the corporate world. His gamble, that the service would be welcomed by businesses and individuals as well, has paid off with the growth of this fast moving company. 

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Joffy, thanks for taking the time to talk to the Heavy Chef audience. Tell us your background and your journey to 1 For The Road.

During those years of working in the liquor industry, I engaged in regular networking and of course drinking - both quite typical of the highly competitive and fast-paced industry. I've seen a lot, I worked hard and partied hard, and now I want to "give back" by providing a service that promotes responsible behaviour while out socializing with friends and colleagues.

I decided to 'take the plunge' at the end of 2010 and founded 1 For The Road from nothing. My client base in January 2011 was five. And that included myself! Seven years later the business is still growing, with a solid client base of corporates and individuals, getting members home safely every night in their own cars.

How did you come about the idea for 1 For The Road?

Being a ‘fairly’ frequent user of similar services, and after repeated poor experiences, I decided to start my own more premium version. Also, realizing that one need not be ‘drunk’, but driving over the limit - which is just 2 drinks - can result in a criminal record, jail time, or cause an accident, it is just not worth the risk! I want to offer flexible services to anyone who enjoys a drink or two and wants to get home safely in their own car.

What is your definition of an entrepreneur? 

Combination of forward thinker, problem solver, brave and somewhat mad with a ‘can do’ attitude.

You've been in this industry for almost 3 decades now: in the liquor business for 2 decades and had started 1 For The Road 7 years ago. How do you keep yourself excited? 

Every time I go out, I see people drinking, then getting in their cars to drive home, and I realise how much potential there is when people eventually change their mindset. There really is NO excuse anymore, yet people are caught every night of the week, in every suburb – some of my friends still do it! My excitement and passion is that nobody ever has to drink and drive, so the potential for growth is enormous. More and more companies - big and small - are realising that it’s not expensive to provide our services for their staff. And both the organization and staff win!

Who do you admire in South African business? 

Robbie Brozen, Nando’s co-founder. Apart from being a massive fan of their product, I love stories that start from humble beginnings, the typical one small shop or garage adventure and scale to these global brands. I also enjoy the fact that Nandos don’t take themselves too seriously, and seem to have fun while building a successful global brand.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

First, it WILL take longer than you think, and second, there WILL be many ups and downs at every stage of growth.

Joffy is based in Cape Town and is happily married with 5 teenage boys. To find out more about 1 For The Road and the packages they provide, visit their website.