Neleen Strauss is the Managing Director, Strauss & Jordan Ltd and High Timber Restaurant. High Timber Restaurant was built up from scratch during probably the toughest time in London’s economic history. It witnessed two recessions, and Neleen remarks that, “it is gratifying to say that we’ve done better than many of our competitors. High Timber is now a reputable brand with high recognition amongst our target audience”.
“We’ve built up an excellent standing for great food and wonderful wines, particularly those from South Africa, within one of the hardest-to-please target markets; the City of London’s bankers and professionals. We have a loyal customer base which we work very hard to keep. We’ve had great recognition amongst opinion formers and food and wine writers and we’re also proud to have received a Michelin listing which we were awarded after just nine months of trading”.
Neleen is involved in working with CWG (the Cape Wine Guild) to create a brand recognised for quality and innovation in the UK amongst wine opinion formers and the media. She also represents UK syndicates in buying South African wines for investment and drinking. She was also active in voicing the concerns of the London hospitality industry, alongside the British Hospitality Association, to organisations and bodies concerned with promoting business in central London during and after the 2012 Olympics.
Speaking about what makes her most proud about her business, Neleen said, “We’ve built a successful business around a strong focus on South African wines in the most competitive restaurant industry in the UK, possibly the world”.
“We have community loyalties to both South Africa and the UK, and believe that one of the best ways to show it is to make charitable donations for causes we believe in. For six months of the year we make and collect donations for South African charities such as Sentabale and Starfish, and during the remaining six months of the year we support UK charities such as Street Smart.”
High Timber was a Best New World Wine List nominee – Harpers (trade wine magazine). Neleen’s favourite business quote is by Matt Walton – “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone in the company from the Chairman down simply by taking his business somewhere else“.