The most stressful days for Tristan Torres are, literally, rainy days. The general manager of a fast-growing premium food delivery service describes the scene in his office: “We get a huge number of orders. Sometimes, the riders don’t want to take them. They get slower and customers don’t understand.”
Instead of blowing his top, Torres, who describes himself as an “extremely nervous person”, chooses a more enlightened path – going out for a workout on his bicycle (never mind the rain). “I come back to the office and I’m new,” he says.
The fast-talking 36-year-old Spanish native started training for triathlons three years ago. He now credits his regimen for helping him decompress and, ultimately, become a better manager. “What makes me happy is to see my team happy. If I’m stressed and I yell at people, I’m not going build them up. Biking and triathlons help me to avoid that.”
His training schedule is seamlessly integrated into his workday. Torres trains religiously in the early mornings and evenings, and bikes daily to work. His gruelling sessions include fourhour endurance runs, 3,000m laps in the pool and weekly half marathons.
Yet, his goals are more about personal development. “I’m not a professional. I’m not going to win anything, but it’s important to me for two things: discipline, and time for me.”
Under his leadership, Deliveroo has catapulted from a one-man team to around 1,200 employees in just seven months. Torres says Deliveroo has changed the game of food delivery here, delivering orders in only 32 minutes, and convincing top restaurants of the company’s ability to retain food quality.
He’s zealous about encouraging business managers to take up a sport. “When you’re in a managerial position and leading people, if you don’t find a way to release your stress, you pay for this with your employees.”
An accident last November kept him from exercising for four months. A driver opened his door as Torres was cycling past, cutting his muscle into two. He says: “I felt the difference. I was really stressed at home and at the office. I found it easier to get angry.”
Perhaps the equanimity he found through exercise has paid off. Fifty per cent of Deliveroo’s office staffhave worked with him before or been recommended to work with him, and no one has left the firm since it started.
“Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers make revenue,” Torres says. “People leave the company not because of the salary. It’s because of the boss. Always.”