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HomeNewsDaniel Moquet UK Team trip to France Headquarters January 2024 Trip Diary by UK Franchise Director Mark Tomlinson

Daniel Moquet UK Team trip to France Headquarters January 2024 Trip Diary by UK Franchise Director Mark Tomlinson

UK Team members in attendance:

Mark Tomlinson, UK Franchise Director & MJT Managing Director

Zak Warner, ‘Daniel Moquet Ascot’ Branch Owner

Stefan Karachmakov, MJT Operations Manager 

Harry Clapson, Team leader - Soon to be DM UK Branch Manager

Day 1

Departure from MJT/DMUK HQ at 8:30pm, arriving at Portsmouth Ferry terminal just before 10pm ready to set sail at 11pm. A quick beer with the team then off to bed!

A fairly straightforward crossing of the channel but none of us slept particularly well due to the vibrations from the engine in our cabins. Music started playing in the nearby cabins at 4:45am UK time (5.45am French time) which led to a less than ideal 3 hours sleep!

The boat docked at 6:45am and we were off pretty quickly and through border control within 30 minutes. 

As we embarked on French territory, the Telsa finally realised we were in a different country and the satnav was set to DM HQ. It said we would arrive with only 6% battery…it was cold and heavy rain, so we didn't want to risk it.

Luckily we found a Tesla supercharger about 8 minutes from the port so headed there. The supercharger was located at a hotel. Zak assumed breakfast was complimentary with the charging of the Tesla, so headed to the buffet. After 15 minutes the charge was good to go, but we were waiting for Zak to finish his 3rd plate.

We arrived at DM HQ at 10 am for a quick meet and greet with the French Team and a comprehensive tour for Harry as it was his first time.

HQ was very busy with lots of Franchisees there for various training programmes, Health and Safety, Marketing, and Technical Training, including Bobcat competence training. It’s the busiest we’ve seen the place!

10:30 am we were in a training room with Marius. He took us through the theory, pros and cons of Mineralstar and Hydrostar.

“Hydrostar®️ is our one-part resin product and Minéralstar®️ is a Latex and Sand binding agent. These innovative, eco-friendly resin & binding solutions redefine outdoor aesthetics with their natural look and permeability.”

This lasted for 2 hours but seemed very quick. The team had complex questions which I am not sure the team in France were expecting or used to! It’s good to see a determination to learn from our UK team!

12:30pm - in true French style, everything stops for lunch. We went to a local restaurant which was a different concept, you could choose from a set menu or anything you want from their local butcher and cook it yourself.

Everybody went with the set menu, except for Zak who hunted down the largest piece of meat he could find and cooked it to perfection! After a long lunch, back to the office for a coffee to wake up again and out to the test area.

2:30 - 4:30 Hydrostar Installation

A good opportunity to test the product and understand its Characteristics, advantages and benefits, (CAB). The whole team were happy with the product and pleased to get hands-on with it. 

I headed back to the office around 3pm to discuss the development plan with Camille, the Administrative and financial director at Daniel Moquet.

5pm, we were back at HQ to meet with Ludovic the Group Buyer, he had Daniel Moquet's exclusive Porcelain paving products to show us. A really good-looking range, a high-quality product and at a great price. We are finalising this option to use this range here in the UK from 2024, TBC.

6pm - Check into the hotel

7pm dinner in the centre of Mayenne

What looked like a tiny high street pub turned into something reminiscent of the Shinfield Arms, it was like a home from home. We had dinner with Ludovic, Marius, Camille and an apprentice called Jules, who will spend 3 weeks in the UK working with us as part of his training. All great people and great company, the food was amazing, we all shared tapas and the drinks were flowing. The night ended in a dart tournament that Harry won! 

Day 2

Early breakfast at 7am and back at DM HQ for 8am. Another wave of franchisees in for training, a great opportunity for the UK team to experience the vast scale of the company here in France.

8:30am we were back in the test area to lay mineralstar, this is our favourite product so far. I left the training area to spend time with Aurelie, Head of Marketing and Communications to discuss the 2024 strategy.

The team arrived back at HQ around 11:30am and got a chance to "play" on the bobcat diggers! Before heading off for lunch with the trainers.

I skipped lunch and agreed to join Camille in her personal training session. Business partner team building you could say! The 15mins of running at the start was not my strong point but once we were onto cross training circuit I was much happier!

1:30pm We’re back in the training room to get theory and CAB on paving pedestals and DM profile (a loose-laid porcelain patio option with infill strip in the joins.)

2:30 - 4:30 Practical in Pedestal and DM Profile

Lots of discussion and queries over this. The UK team felt the traditional methods we use are better and quicker, but the French Teams disagreed. Healthy debate and innovation are key to being a front-runner in the landscaping industry as we’re always trying to find the best techniques in our services. 

5pm - back to the hotel.

6pm - Over to the Fencing HQ in Laval where Laurent (Franchise Director of Fencing Network) gave us a presentation and showed us their products. Good feedback from the UK team as we hope to be able to introduce these products here soon. 

7:30pm Go Karting team building! In 2 sessions, the young locals Marius and Jules took P1 and P2 and I took the 3rd place on the podium. I didn't tell them I have any racing experience!

9pm Dinner - Zak opted for the 1m long sausage! We were also joined by Charles, Camille's husband. Good times all around and another great end to Day 2.

Day 3

On the road at 8am, The UK team went to a live pedestal job while I headed to HQ to finish discussions with Camille.

At 10am we loaded the car with samples, exchanged gifts with our French counterparts and hit the road to head back home.

Lots of snow as we headed north but no issues on the road luckily. Big discussion in the car about what we learned and were excited about bringing back to the UK.

We stopped at a French supermarket to get supplies just outside the port before the boat set sail 2pm. Great weather and very calm water, was almost like being on holiday!

Whilst aboard, a quick weekly round-up with the teams back home in the UK and once we lost signal it was a combination of sleep and work.

About 4 hours into the crossing we decided it was time for some poker! A great way to end the trip.  

The Boat docked back in the UK at 7pm. We managed to get through passport control with ease and back at MJT HQ by 9pm!

A great trip with tons of insightful training, product introduction, team building, strategising and a good helping of French food & drink! Until next time!

Mark Tomlinson, UK Franchise Director & MJT Managing Director

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