Costa Coffee (Whitbread plc)

Joanna K Dawson, Formerly, International Operational Systems Manager, Costa Coffee International

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert.

As the strategic Project Manager of The Costa System, I worked with Penny Hopkinson over a 2-year period.

From the outset, Penny became a lifeline because I was starting from a blank sheet with a massive amount of Content to structure, document and streamline, while ensuring alignment with our Franchise Agreements – both UK and International. I started by attending her specially tailored 2-Day One-to-One Workshop in the UK. This helped me understand how to write clear, succinct, generic minimum operating standards and procedures that were capable of being understood easily or translated within all our international markets. I completed the Workshop with a full understanding of how to create a blueprint for each function within the Costa System together with a template that each Head of Function could populate to deliver appropriate Content for each manual.

She also advised me on how best to structure Content across the suite of manuals as well as the flow. Penny’s high level editing skills proved seamless – eg. in achieving compliance and uniformity of style. Her editorial background and industry sector knowledge enables her to ‘put into words’ the seemingly inexpressive technical or operational process. At the same time, she is able to identify and recommend improvements to bridge operational gaps.

During the writing and implementation period, Penny was responsive and a great trouble shooter. She also maintained a great sense of humour which, when under pressure, is a great relief! When difficulties arose, or Content had to be revised or reviewed several times due to changes within the System or, contributors experienced difficulty in writing a section, Penny remained calm and responsive, listening actively and came to their rescue quickly and decisively.

When it came to understanding the best format or system for updating and uploading the manuals online, Penny facilitated several options explaining, in layman’s language, several methods I had heard of but did not fully comprehend.

It gives me great pleasure to recommend Manual Writers International unreservedly. It is a tribute to Penny’s commitment and quality assurance that since The Costa System was launched, Costa continued to contract Penny to develop and edit additional manuals for Health & Safety and Human Resources and an extension of their Supply Chain System.

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The AA

Gill Balshaw MX, Head of Training Academy, The AA

From a blank canvas Penny developed and delivered a fully Operational Franchise Manual for AA and BSM Driving Instructors. This manual is now provided to all Driving Instructors joining The AA and contains all the information needed to run a successful Franchise business. I knew from the moment that I spoke to Penny on the phone that we would develop an excellent working relationship. Her expertise, professionalism, relationship building and commitment to the task all contributed to Penny exceeding expectations with production of the final product. Penny took a great deal of time and care making sure as a team we all understood the development process and the requirements of the Organisation to achieve the final product. Penny has a well tried and tested approach and all stages of the project were met to timescale. I cannot speak highly enough of Penny and I have no hesitation at all in recommending her to deliver any type of Operational Manual. Penny has the exceptional ability to simplify complex information in an easy to understand format.

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Spring Impact

Dan Berelowitz, CEO & Founder of Spring Impact

Penny saved us months of time and significantly increased our knowledge of manual writing in just a day of training – it will transform the way we work and how we are able to help others. Penny is also a great host and we are looking forward to staying in touch with her as we develop to draw upon more of her wisdom.

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Hidden Art

Dieneke Ferguson, Director, Mazorca Projects Ltd

Manual Writers International played an invaluable part in helping us prepare for the first ever social enterprise franchise and the success of Hidden Art Cornwall. As an NGO we had limited resources, but this was not an issue. Founder and practitioner, Penny Hopkinson, took the time to understand our aims and concept then created a package that included tailored training and templates from which to work, followed by editorial support at each crucial juncture. Her support was provided sensitively, and in a very timely manner, so that we were able to meet each of our deadlines. This made all the difference and we would have no hesitation in recommending Penny should you need guidance and support to develop an Operations Manual for a franchised or licensed business.

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Terry Court, Senior Partner, Court & Co LLP

I have no hesitation in recommending Penny. She is brilliant at what she does and is certainly a leader in her field. Added to this is the fact that she is a lovely, warm and generous person whom you can trust completely as she brings the highest levels of integrity to her business.

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Helen Knox, Managing Director, Helen Knox Publishing

Penny came from nowhere and transformed the way I write about my subject for the public. She guided and supported way beyond the call of duty and she genuinely cares about the people with whom she works, not just their business. Organised, methodical, trustworthy, full of integrity and pedantic about fine detail, Penny is definitely someone to trust with your business as well as your friendship. She wants the best results possible, every time. I long to work with her again.

For further details please contact Penny Hopkinson on +44 (0)7956 315750 or by email at