Steve Carpenter - Founder
In 1990, I embarked on my journey in hospitality as a bartender at TGI Friday’s, which was an incredible organization that showed me the potential for joy in the workplace. Over the course of seven years, I made two career changes within the company, briefly working in marketing before transitioning to restaurant management. From there, I joined Pret, a fledgling company at the time, where I again changed career paths, moving into a role in HR. This was a pivotal moment in my career, as I have never looked back since.
After four years at Pret, I was offered the opportunity to head up Caffè Nero’s newly established HR function. Over my ten-year tenure, the company underwent explosive growth, expanding from just 50 locations to nearly 500.
Following my time at Caffè Nero, I transitioned to the retail sector, spending a brief period at GAME before returning to the food industry with Hotel Chocolat. As head of HR, I oversaw the company’s fully integrated business model, which included manufacturing, supply chain, and multiple distribution channels.
Continuing with my sweet treat theme, I went on to lead the People & Culture function for Krispy Kreme. This was another fully integrated business, but with a unique twist: the product was made fresh every day. Over six years, I played a key role in guiding the company through a period of 100% growth and a cultural shift as it transitioned from a standalone franchise to an owned market within a global organization headquartered in the United States.
In 2015, I participated in my second London Marathon with a personal goal of completing the race in under 4 hours. While I was never a particularly gifted runner, I drew upon the principles of success that I had learned throughout my career to achieve my goal.
To start, I researched and created a comprehensive training and race plan with the help of experts in the field. I then approached the plan with a laser-like focus, concentrating on the immediate task at hand – whether it was a training run or a specific aspect of the race itself. When things didn’t go according to plan, I adapted quickly and got back on track without losing sight of my objective.
Through dedication and discipline, I ultimately succeeded in completing the marathon in 3:59:55 – five seconds under my ambitious 4-hour goal. This experience inspired the name of my business, Three59.
Interestingly, the brilliant author Douglas Adams once claimed that 359 was the funniest three-digit number, although he never provided a reason why.