Art. World. Jobs.

Expired Vacancy
Head of Customer Experience and Sales

, ,
   Location: London
   Salary: On application
Experience: Senior level
Deadline: 13 May 2018

Please note that this vacancy has expired and you can no longer apply.

About this position
The RA is self-supporting, receiving no government funding for its activities. Our Commercial Operations Department is the RA’s highly successful commercial arm which manages revenue-generating activity in support of the Academy’s cultural and academic goals. The RA is committed to expanding its commercial offer and experience, reflecting the aspirations of the institution, the changing needs of its audiences, and the financial imperatives of its five-year Medium-Term Plan (MTP).

In line with its newly-positioned retail strategy, two divisions will work in tandem to deliver strategy, brand proposition and the associated revenue:
• Customer Experience and Sales (The ‘how’)
• Trading and Range Development (The ‘what’)

The newly-created Customer Experience and Sales division will focus on the experiential, physical and operational aspects of all consumer-facing operations across the RA. The mandate is two-fold: firstly, to create and deliver a compelling and excellent experience in all restaurants and shops, and secondly, to drive optimal revenue by doing so.

The Head of Customer Experience & Sales will have one line report – Retail Manager – but will also act as primary client for the General Managers of the RA’s two third-party catering operators.  S/he will also work closely on a daily basis with the Head of Visitor Experience (responsible for non-consumer operations) and Head of Facilities, both based in other departments.

About you
You will have significant experience of catering or retail operational management at senior level, and will be able to demonstrate success in developing a compelling consumer position and attitude for a premium brand (cultural, hospitality, or retail). With a track record of driving sales and profitability within a similar sized business, you will have proven experience of managing third-party operators and contracts, as well as of repositioning an aspirational/prestige retail brand and/or launching a premium brand.

You will possess exemplary leadership, management and training skills, combined with operational thoroughness, an unrelenting eye for detail, and a deep understanding of catering and retail daily process and practicality.

Polished and articulate, you will be confident, energised and enthusiastic in social and customer-facing situations.

Lastly, an existing knowledge of the arts is preferable, although not essential. You must demonstrate a genuine interest in and a commitment to the aims and objectives of the RA.

The benefits we offer
• A very generous pension, contributing up to 10% of your salary into a defined contribution scheme
• Along with 25 days’ holiday and 8 bank holidays each year (pro rata), we close between Christmas Eve and New Year, allowing staff additional paid leave
• Staff are encouraged to attend free History of Art and life drawing classes on site
• We also have a staff choir, running and craft clubs
• Best of all, we have reciprocal agreements with many leading museums and art galleries in London and New York that enable you to enter for free with your staff pass.

Closing date for applications:   Sunday, 13 May 2018 (midnight)
Interviews to be held week commencing: Monday, 21 May 2018


The Royal Academy of Arts is one of the world’s leading art institutions, based in the heart of London. It is an independent and privately funded institution, led by eminent artists and architects; its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education, and debate, and through study at its Schools.

In May of 2018, its 250th Anniversary year, after several years of refurbishment, the RA will be opening its renovated, expanded and connected 2.5-acre site, representing a new chapter in its ambitions and investment for the future.

The timing provides an exceptional opportunity for the RA and for the team who lead it.  In an increasingly competitive environment for audience time and interest, the RA is committed to delivering not only the excellent artistic programming for which it is already known, but a fully rounded experience to visitors across the campus as a whole – its building, its courtyard, restaurants and shops.  As a vital source of current and future revenue, the seamless, polished delivery of experience must be authentic, consistent and excellent, in both conception and delivery.

The opportunity will suit an entrepreneurial operations professional who understands the fundamental connection between exceptional service and revenue generation.

The RA recognises the increasing importance of hospitality, catering and retail as primary reasons to visit cultural organisations. Far from being secondary or ‘add-on’ experiences, the quality of these environments and their offer is one of the first the visitor encounters, and a critical part of their evaluation of the visit.

As a private institution,100% reliant on its own revenue generation and with a heritage based not only in exhibiting art but selling it, the RA is proud of its commercial positioning. Spending money on a quality experience is a vital and integral part of Buying into the RA, in every sense. This role will lead on creating environments and experiences that reflect the wider standards and spirit of the RA; leading and coordinating teams in bringing those to life operationally; and delivering the commercial success that will result.

The RA already enjoys sector-leading financial performance within catering and retail. The aim of this newly defined role is to build on this success, and take it to the next level via substantial EBITDA growth via the creation of experience and service, with reference to models of excellence within and beyond the sector, and as part of the RA’s next chapter.

The role will be responsible for driving revenue through a combination of exceptional customer experience and excellent operations. The successful candidate will lead on developing and delivering customer-facing welcome, seamless service and site-wide experience, both directly and in coordination with other FOH teams.

1.    To drive revenue for the RA through the delivery of exceptional experience and excellent operations in catering and retail
2.    Play a key role in the creation and delivery of joined-up Customer Experience. working across the organisation to develop, cost and implement an effective plan for looking after on-site visitors and for driving revenue from Catering, Retail and all other consumer-facing opportunity.
3.    To create the blueprint for joined-up welcome and service, specifically within catering, retail and on-site sales, in close collaboration with other FOH services across the RA. To deliver an experience, service and welcome that is distinctively and authentically RA, working with the Commercial Director and senior team to deliver new strategies, environments and product types
4.   To ensure the sustained delivery of that experience, every day across every touchpoint, through the development of empowered, engaged, well-trained teams and clearly defined KPIs. To provide inspiring, energised operational leadership, both directly (retail) and through strong partnerships with third party operators
5.   To deliver pleasing, well managed and operationally efficient environments within shops, restaurants and public connecting areas.  To ensure consistent presentation and upkeep across the site, with customer perspective as the priority.
6.    To oversee store management, including budgeting, staffing and display schedule. To develop training and service models that incentivise and engage, with a strong emphasis on staff input and involvement.  To instigate campaigns and promotions that attract audience and revenue.
7.    To drive sales and manage cost, increasing conversion and spend from existing levels and committing to the delivery of significantly increased turnover and profit over the next 5 years, as reflected RA Medium Term Plan.  To identify and enable opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell between retail, catering and other channels, driven by customer convenience and appetite.
8.    To work closely with colleagues on the wider lifetime RA visitor journey, the opportunities of CRM and supporting technologies.


Team Development and Management
• Act as key point of contact for catering operators, supporting and guiding business for best results for RA and its customers
• Play a lead role in RA Customer Experience Transformation project, building understanding, support and commitment from stakeholders and teams empowered deliver it, both within Commercial and more widely
• Motivate, manage, and professionally develop Retail Manager, Assistant Manager, Supervisors and retail teams
• Work closely with Commercial Director and Finance colleagues on preparing annual budgets, agreeing branch and/or individual targets, and reviewing outcomes.


• Budget for and manage costs of retail operations
• Develop sales forecasts for on-site branches in consultation with Head of Trading and other commercial colleagues
• Overall responsibility for shop staffing budgets, supporting Retail Manager in development of efficient sales resource


• Develop site-wide customer positioning of catering, with the advent of a second operator requiring a joined-up approach
• Manage the relationship with both third party catering operators, ensuring alignment with the overall customer experience, and adherence to financial targets and contractual KPIs and SLAs
• To develop a first-class, relevant and appealing offer with options and programming designed to meet the needs and appetites of different audiences
• Contract management with focus on maximising revenue for RA, but always with customer experience as brand and financial priority
• Advocate for optimal locations and deliver appropriate retail responses, permanent and temporary
• Play a key role in the redevelopment of the physical RA shops, working with the wider retail teams to deliver new store builds in 2018 that attract, charm and significantly increase turnover
• Monitor and analyse sales trends, and respond accordingly, in order to develop range, maximise sales and drive profitability
• Work with Commercial Director and other colleagues to identify target motivations, build team understanding of different customer motivations and drivers, and to build sales
• Work with Commercial Operations colleagues to develop sales plan by season and week, and to instil awareness of same
• Oversee VM schedule, cost and critical path, managing external freelance design, shopfit and VM input
• Ensure that Health & Safety policies, procedures and regulations are known, understood and complied with by yourself, your team and any contractors, suppliers and all others who work with the team.
• Undertake any other task which may reasonably be allocated by the Commercial Director or other senior manager.


• Demonstrable experience of developing a compelling consumer position and attitude for a premium brand (cultural, hospitality, or retail)
• Demonstrable experience of catering or retail operational management at senior level
• Proven track record of driving sales and profitability within a similar sized business
• Proven experience of managing third party operators and contracts
• Demonstrable experience of repositioning an aspirational/prestige retail brand and/or launching a premium brand
• Proven experience in developing briefs for high profile shop and/or restaurant re-fits, including costing, design and project direction
• Previous experience at senior management level, with strong leadership skills leading by example, maximising potential, and creating high-performance teams.
• Proven ability to present clearly set out business plans

• Exceptional leadership skills; visible, energised management and motivational drive
• Results-driven, with a proven record of delivering challenging targets and KPIs
• Keen eye for customer-facing and operational detail
• Strong team player, able to reconcile and resolve
• Energised, enthusiastic and confident in social and customer-facing situations
• Excellent organisation and time management
• Existing knowledge of the arts is preferred but not essential
• A genuine interest in and a commitment to the aims and objectives of the RA.

Art. World. Jobs.