'Every Friday I have dinner with my family' - My style - Robert Jakobi, MD Metcalfe's Foods

The managing director of Metcalfe's Food Company likes a quiet weekend after a busy week in the office.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 18 Feb 2015


I used to work for BarCap so I tend to be a late worker, late riser. I come into the office at 8.30 and keep going until one or two in the morning. I leave early evening and will go out for dinner or to the gym before heading home to work again. I live in St John's Wood, so it only takes me about 15 minutes to drive to our offices in St James's Park.

Metcalfe's Food Company was started by Itsu and Pret founder Julian Metcalfe, although we're very separate from them. I joined as MD in 2010 and, since then, turnover has grown from £350,000 to £20m and we employ 21 people.

It's run very much like a start-up, which means every day is different. I could be seeing a supplier or one of our major customers, although I always have set meetings with my team every week. I eat at my desk, but if I'm having a business lunch I take people to a great Italian just down the road called Quirinale. It's not expensive and it's family-owned. I'll always have pasta but I avoid wine as I don't drink alcohol in the day.


I love watches but I don't own a nice one yet - one of my aspirations is to build a really great collection. After 12 years of driving a Mini, I upgraded to a grey BMW 4 Series.

I tend to dress smartly; I'll always wear a shirt and a blazer, perhaps with a pair of chinos. I wear a suit if I have an important meeting and I usually wear US brands, mainly because I used to live in the US.

I wear Italian shoes because I have narrow feet and they fit better. I use Kiehl's moisturiser and work out four times a week. I 'm a member of The Peak gym in Knightsbridge and I've recently started attending Barry's Bootcamp, an intense hour of exercise in King's Cross.

I like to chill out at the weekend and catch up on work. I'll spend time with my dogs, and my parents and brothers, who live close by. Every Friday, I have dinner with the whole family, my parents, grandparents, cousins and uncle and aunt.


I probably go away every four weeks. All our suppliers are overseas and I regularly attend trade shows in Asia, the US and Europe. We're also soon launching in Belgium, France and Spain. I always travel with my Macbook Pro, my iPad and two phones, because I'm always working.

The plane journey is the best time to work, although I watched Breaking Bad on a recent tour in Asia when I was flying every day for about eight hours. I can't manage without the BA app, as I always fly with them. I go economy on European trips and economy plus when travelling further.

I frequently go back to New York as I have friends there. But I love experiencing different cultures - I also speak French, German and Spanish.


Julian Metcalfe has been great and I've learned a lot from him. We have different skill sets, so it works quite nicely. He's passionate about product development and branding, and I oversee running the business.

We've also partnered with CLIC Sargent, a children's charity, which we donate a percentage of our sales to. I've always been sporty and my childhood hero was Ayrton Senna.

I went to university in America. On my business course, I was surrounded by people who went on to start very successful companies right out of college and that made me want to be an entrepreneur. I previously started a healthy snacks business called Pod Bites, which led me to Metcalfe's Food.

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