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EP Buisness in Hospitality Issue 55 October 2015

EP magazine provides a reference point for executives on topical issues which may impact business growth, industry structure, professional and skill development, and broader economic and political changes. The magazine reports on all sectors of the industry, including hotels, restaurants, events and foodservice (contract catering).

EP magazine provides a reference point for executives on topical issues which may impact business growth, industry structure, professional and skill development, and broader economic and political changes. The magazine reports on all sectors of the industry, including hotels, restaurants, events and foodservice (contract catering).

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<strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong> | £5.00<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk<br />

BUSINESS IN HOSPITALITY<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>55</strong><br />

PAULINA<br />

BURBANO<br />

DE LARA<br />

6 Life is about the<br />

choices we make


The UK Spa Industry is gett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

together for another great event!<br />

10th-11th November <strong>2015</strong><br />

Holiday Inn, Stratford upon Avon<br />

'Now <strong>in</strong> its 6th year - jo<strong>in</strong> over 400 senior hospitality professionals at the UK's lead<strong>in</strong>g spa convention'<br />

What happens at Spa Life:<br />

1-2-1 Bus<strong>in</strong>ess Meet<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

Where bus<strong>in</strong>ess development<br />

is close-up & personal.<br />

EXPO Arena<br />

A showcase of lead<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational supply brands<br />

Management Conference<br />

With content to educate,<br />

motivate & <strong>in</strong>spire your teams<br />

Gala D<strong>in</strong>ner<br />

Includ<strong>in</strong>g the Good Spa guide<br />

Awards.<br />

Register today at<br />

www.spa-life.co.uk<br />

FOR SPONSORSHIP/EXPO ENQUIRES<br />

CONTACT:<br />

08707 80 44 90<br />

<strong>in</strong>fo@spa-life.co.uk


Chris Sheppardson | Welcome<br />

BUSINESS IN HOSPITALITY<br />

Front cover<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano De Lara<br />

Photography Nick Dawe<br />

Editor<br />

<strong>in</strong>fo@epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk<br />

<strong>EP</strong><br />

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Editorial Director Debbie Attewell<br />

Manag<strong>in</strong>g Editor Gill Hook<br />

Art Editor Gareth Evans<br />

Senior Designer Owen Moran<br />

Picture Editor Tracey Pocock<br />

Account Director Richard Woolliams<br />

Advertis<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Heather Borrett<br />

07932 834207<br />

Pr<strong>in</strong>t<br />

Swallowtail Pr<strong>in</strong>t Ltd<br />

Photography<br />

Nick Dawe nick@nickdawe.co.uk<br />

© <strong>2015</strong> <strong>EP</strong> magaz<strong>in</strong>e is owned by<br />

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of Chess Executive Ltd is prohibited.<br />

The op<strong>in</strong>ions expressed here<strong>in</strong> are not<br />

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Why not get <strong>in</strong>volved onl<strong>in</strong>e?<br />

Check out a wealth of articles<br />

from <strong>EP</strong> magaz<strong>in</strong>e on our website<br />

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@<strong>EP</strong>magaz<strong>in</strong>euk<br />

THE MODERN<br />

AGE ASKS<br />

DIFFERENT<br />

QUESTIONS OF<br />

ITS LEADERS<br />

One of the most common questions we are asked is whether a magaz<strong>in</strong>e is still important<br />

<strong>in</strong> the tech-led world we live <strong>in</strong>? It is a fair question and not meant as a criticism, but do<br />

magaz<strong>in</strong>es have a susta<strong>in</strong>able lifespan?<br />

The answer is that many still enjoy read<strong>in</strong>g a real, physical product rather than one read via<br />

an app or iPad. More substantially, magaz<strong>in</strong>es dissem<strong>in</strong>ate knowledge, which is a crucial facet of<br />

success – anyth<strong>in</strong>g that provides <strong>in</strong>sight, knowledge and <strong>in</strong>formation will have a lifespan.<br />

The real issue of the modern age is that the <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> communications and global nature of<br />

the <strong>in</strong>dustry means the level of competition has <strong>in</strong>creased just as management structures have<br />

flattened, so to succeed one has to handle the <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> competition and rise above it through a<br />

greater understand<strong>in</strong>g and the ability to create a difference.<br />

Today, there is more transparency around what a person br<strong>in</strong>gs to a role and the calibre of<br />

their work. Mistakes may be forgiven but we’re expected to have a work ethic that <strong>in</strong>cludes<br />

constant learn<strong>in</strong>g, and this is driven by technology. The <strong>in</strong>creased speed of communications and<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation means everyth<strong>in</strong>g is <strong>in</strong> a state of flux and we need to have our f<strong>in</strong>gers on the pulse.<br />

And of course all this raises a number of questions and themes worth consider<strong>in</strong>g:<br />

One may have to re-<strong>in</strong>vent oneself three times dur<strong>in</strong>g a career.<br />

Some have struggled to adapt to the demands asked of them <strong>in</strong> today’s bus<strong>in</strong>ess world. We have<br />

seen <strong>in</strong>creased burnout, but the real skill is how an executive learns to adapt and change their<br />

skills for the modern era. Learn<strong>in</strong>g new skills requires an open m<strong>in</strong>d and a desire to improve.<br />

Globalisation naturally asks questions of bus<strong>in</strong>esses.<br />

Today everyth<strong>in</strong>g is accessible, whether through L<strong>in</strong>kedIn, Facebook, emails, mobile technology<br />

or the web. This means more small and medium-sized companies can compete <strong>in</strong> the global<br />

market and a greater understand<strong>in</strong>g of customers from all regions and backgrounds is needed.<br />

It is harder than ever to be heard.<br />

More competition makes it harder to ga<strong>in</strong> recognition. Those who succeed are those able to<br />

stand out from the crowd by build<strong>in</strong>g real and last<strong>in</strong>g value <strong>in</strong> all they do. One has to have clarity<br />

on how one def<strong>in</strong>es one’s offer and communicates it to market.<br />

Chris Sheppardson<br />

Editor<br />

MEET THE TEAM<br />

Jaz Notay Sara Stewart Nick Sheppardson Arlene McCaffrey<br />

Diana Kozlowska Ben Butler Amy La<strong>in</strong>chbury<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 3


<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>55</strong> | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk<br />

contents<br />

24<br />

SCOTLAND’S<br />

LEGENDARY<br />

HOSPITALITY<br />

IN FOCUS<br />

BUSINESS<br />

6 Life is about the choices we make<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara, one of the most<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluential women <strong>in</strong> the male-dom<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

Lat<strong>in</strong> American bus<strong>in</strong>ess arena, talks about<br />

family, success and traditional values<br />

12 Another good v<strong>in</strong>tage With mergers,<br />

acquisitions and <strong>in</strong>vestments on the rise,<br />

it looks like <strong>2015</strong> is set to be another good<br />

year for the hospitality <strong>in</strong>dustry, says<br />

Graeme Smith of consultancy AlixPartners<br />

14 The vital <strong>in</strong>gredient Founder and<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g force beh<strong>in</strong>d Vital Ingredient, Alex<br />

Heynes reveals how his frustration with<br />

food on offer to office workers and a trip to<br />

New York <strong>in</strong>spired his successful bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

18 Not a traditional terraced townhouse<br />

One of the three partners beh<strong>in</strong>d The<br />

Zetter Group’s stylish hotels, Jason<br />

Catifeoglou tells us about the growth of<br />

the bus<strong>in</strong>ess, how they look after their<br />

staff and their ambitions for the USA<br />

20<br />

26 25 years of changes and challenges<br />

As The Russell Partnership celebrates its<br />

25th anniversary this year, its Chairman,<br />

David Russell, shares his views on how the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess has changed, plans for the future<br />

and work<strong>in</strong>g with Boris Johnson<br />

30 Start<strong>in</strong>g a trend George and Ruth<br />

Wakel<strong>in</strong>g orig<strong>in</strong>ally ran a cattle farm, but<br />

now their stock <strong>in</strong>cludes much bigger beasts<br />

– bison – and they are confident we’ll soon<br />

be see<strong>in</strong>g the healthier meat on our menus<br />

44 Are you ready to do the right th<strong>in</strong>g?<br />

The popularity of eco-friendly and<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>able products cont<strong>in</strong>ues to grow,<br />

but now the battleground is not about the<br />

ethics of the products but about how they<br />

actually impact on performance<br />

OPINION<br />

23 Liv<strong>in</strong>g wage… or liv<strong>in</strong>g nightmare?<br />

The Government’s announcement of the<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduction of the National Liv<strong>in</strong>g Wage<br />

has had a mixed response, but will it actually<br />

dampen the growth of the hospitality sector,<br />

asks Peter Davies of WMT<br />

36 Heads up! F<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g the right premises<br />

and lease for your bus<strong>in</strong>ess is essential, but<br />

how do you avoid the pitfalls? Philip Otvos<br />

of Joelson Wilson and Theo Benedyk of<br />

Lewis Craig share their top tips<br />

47 The implications of change Some<br />

contract caterers are struggl<strong>in</strong>g to keep<br />

up with the demands of the fast-chang<strong>in</strong>g<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess world. Julian Fris suggests how<br />

they can leave old practices beh<strong>in</strong>d and<br />

make the most of this brave new world<br />

50 The chang<strong>in</strong>g shift <strong>in</strong> <strong>EP</strong>oS solutions<br />

Technological advances are f<strong>in</strong>ally putt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess operators <strong>in</strong> the driv<strong>in</strong>g seat, and<br />

it’s about time says IndiCater’s guest writer<br />

Jon Davis of Kickstart Technologies<br />

FEATURES<br />

10 Return to the product After years of<br />

concentrat<strong>in</strong>g on market position and<br />

4 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Inside this issue | Contents<br />

18 28 42<br />

38<br />

32<br />

strategy, bus<strong>in</strong>esses today are focus<strong>in</strong>g on<br />

ensur<strong>in</strong>g their core product is of the highest<br />

quality <strong>in</strong> order to w<strong>in</strong> over customers<br />

24 Forgotten Scottish history? The<br />

word legendary rightly applies to many of<br />

Scotland’s hospitality properties and we<br />

take a look at some of those <strong>in</strong>spired by the<br />

country’s long history and great people<br />

31 Why empathy matters The unexpected<br />

gesture or value-added comment are two<br />

powerful ways to make a difference to how<br />

people feel towards a bus<strong>in</strong>ess, so why<br />

doesn’t it happen more often?<br />

35 Pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g press Researchers claim we<br />

are read<strong>in</strong>g less, but are we just access<strong>in</strong>g<br />

books <strong>in</strong> a different format or are we simply<br />

too overwhelmed by everyday bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation to relax with a novel?<br />

38 Historic build<strong>in</strong>g, new venue Lambeth<br />

Palace has been used for centuries by the<br />

Archbishops of Canterbury to enterta<strong>in</strong><br />

the great and good. Now, Louise Donovan<br />

is <strong>in</strong> charge of ensur<strong>in</strong>g the historic build<strong>in</strong>g<br />

rema<strong>in</strong>s a centre of hospitality<br />

46 The 5-m<strong>in</strong>ute challenge Most people<br />

will make their m<strong>in</strong>d up about a hotel or<br />

restaurant with<strong>in</strong> the first five m<strong>in</strong>utes, so<br />

it’s up to the frontl<strong>in</strong>e staff to make sure<br />

their experience from the start is a good one<br />

48 How to be a ‘natural’ (networker)<br />

Whether it’s fear or mental condition<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

many f<strong>in</strong>d it difficult to ‘work’ a room full of<br />

strangers. Stuart Howie shares his tips to<br />

ensure your own network<strong>in</strong>g success<br />

PEOPLE<br />

20 By focus<strong>in</strong>g on food we became<br />

world class A year after jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Restaurant<br />

Associates as manag<strong>in</strong>g director, James<br />

Boyle tells us about the progress they have<br />

made, the challenges they have faced and<br />

what the future holds for the bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

28 The re<strong>in</strong>vention of man From work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> hotels to own<strong>in</strong>g bus<strong>in</strong>esses to advis<strong>in</strong>g<br />

others, David Coubrough has taken many<br />

different career paths, but now he’s add<strong>in</strong>g<br />

crime writer to his list of achievements<br />

MANAGEMENT<br />

32 Success lies <strong>in</strong> the MI flow With<br />

an <strong>in</strong>tense six weeks of British summer<br />

sport<strong>in</strong>g events to cater for, Sodexo’s<br />

Alex Beaumont reveals how accurate<br />

management <strong>in</strong>formation is key to<br />

ensur<strong>in</strong>g it goes smoothly<br />

41 Jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g forces Ireland’s Shannon<br />

College of Hotel Management is jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

forces with NUI Galway. Director Phillip<br />

Smyth tells us how the merger will improve<br />

the <strong>in</strong>stitution’s already impressive stand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

ENTR<strong>EP</strong>RENEURS<br />

42 The future of recipe shar<strong>in</strong>g An idea<br />

to preserve and share old family recipes has<br />

grown <strong>in</strong>to an app that’s been taken on by<br />

10,000 chefs and 160,000 home cooks. We<br />

meet the three foodies beh<strong>in</strong>d Cookbooth<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 5


Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

6 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

LIFE IS ABOUT<br />

THE CHOICES<br />

WE MAKE<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara is one of the most <strong>in</strong>fluential women <strong>in</strong> the male-dom<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

world of Lat<strong>in</strong> America, hold<strong>in</strong>g important positions <strong>in</strong> a variety of enterprises. When<br />

<strong>EP</strong> met up with her she revealed that the secret of her success lies <strong>in</strong> traditional values<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

We all know pre-conceived<br />

perceptions can be dangerous,<br />

but we still all make them.<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara has been billed<br />

as one of the most <strong>in</strong>fluential women <strong>in</strong><br />

Ecuador. In a traditionally male-dom<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

Lat<strong>in</strong> American bus<strong>in</strong>ess arena, she is<br />

a Director of major Ecuadorian bank<br />

Banco Internacional, a Director of<br />

<strong>in</strong>surance services company Equivida,<br />

Vicepresident of Medisystems Hold<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and Executive President of lead<strong>in</strong>g tourism<br />

company Metropolitan Tour<strong>in</strong>g. An<br />

impressive CV certa<strong>in</strong>ly, so it would perhaps<br />

be natural to expect a tough, no-nonsense<br />

character that fights fire with fire.<br />

The truth, though, lies far from this.<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a is a very elegant, thoughtful,<br />

considered and fem<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>e lady. Dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

our discussion, she was very gracious and<br />

ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed good eye contact throughout.<br />

She listened carefully and talked <strong>in</strong><br />

a measured tone. All this is perhaps<br />

predictable, but what was most<br />

surpris<strong>in</strong>g about Paul<strong>in</strong>a is that she is<br />

not reserved at all. If anyth<strong>in</strong>g she is<br />

remarkably open and candid <strong>in</strong> answer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

questions and has both a good sense of<br />

fun and genu<strong>in</strong>e care for her homeland and<br />

the people she works with. Paul<strong>in</strong>a may have<br />

proven herself <strong>in</strong> a very male-dom<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

world, but she found a road to success that<br />

has not meant compromis<strong>in</strong>g on who she is.<br />

One of the most <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g aspects<br />

to emerge dur<strong>in</strong>g the <strong>in</strong>terview was that<br />

Lat<strong>in</strong> America is not that far removed<br />

from European standards and that<br />

however male dom<strong>in</strong>ated one may<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k the country is, women are break<strong>in</strong>g<br />

through at a pace and the traditional<br />

‘glass ceil<strong>in</strong>gs’ are be<strong>in</strong>g shattered.<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a became a director at the<br />

age of 26, so this is not just a recent<br />

development – the country’s Tourism<br />

M<strong>in</strong>ister is 30-year-old Sandra Naranjo<br />

while the President of the National<br />

Assembly is 31-year-old Gabriela<br />

Rivadeneira. Change is <strong>in</strong> the air.<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a’s story is a touch<strong>in</strong>g one<br />

of strong family role models who have<br />

laid the path for her own success. “My<br />

grandmother was my role model,” says<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a. “She became a widow at the age<br />

of 33 with three daughters. In those days,<br />

she found herself faced with two options<br />

– to enter a convent or to remarry a wealthy<br />

man. She did neither and <strong>in</strong>stead moved<br />

to Quito (the capital of Ecuador) with her<br />

daughters and became a teacher. It would<br />

be hard enough today, but <strong>in</strong> those days<br />

she took a great risk.<br />

“I grew up watch<strong>in</strong>g her work hard<br />

for everyth<strong>in</strong>g she achieved, so it became<br />

natural for me to expect the same of<br />

myself. For me, it is natural to work and<br />

take on responsibility. You ask me why<br />

I rose through the ranks so quickly, but<br />

the simple answer is that I would put my<br />

hand to anyth<strong>in</strong>g asked of me, and as<br />

a result I was entrusted with more and<br />

more. I started work at 19 and became<br />

“<br />

I would put my hand to anyth<strong>in</strong>g asked of me, and<br />

as a result I was entrusted with more and more<br />

”<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara Bus<strong>in</strong>esswoman<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 7


Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

a director by the age of 26. Success <strong>in</strong><br />

work, as <strong>in</strong> life, is often about the choices<br />

that we make,” adds Paul<strong>in</strong>a. “The truth is<br />

I didn’t have a social life when I had children<br />

as they became my social life. I did not<br />

exercise, as I wanted to spend my time away<br />

from work with my children. Perhaps it is<br />

easier <strong>in</strong> Ecuador as we do have easy access<br />

to home help. My housekeeper, Dolores, has<br />

worked for me for 18 years and is like a<br />

sister. She is part of the family. My driver<br />

takes my children to sports, so I have cover.<br />

“Women are com<strong>in</strong>g through. It is<br />

a new generation. It is too simplistic to<br />

say that Lat<strong>in</strong> America is male dom<strong>in</strong>ated.<br />

I met the owner of Metropolitan Tour<strong>in</strong>g<br />

when he was mayor of a city and we shared<br />

similar ideas and visions. We have worked<br />

together successfully for 15 years and he<br />

made me Executive President as he<br />

believes I care not just about how we<br />

improve how the company performs but<br />

about the people that we employ.<br />

“Yes, of course, there will be times,<br />

especially with older generations, when<br />

board members of other organisations<br />

wonder why I am on the board. That is<br />

f<strong>in</strong>e,” she says, shrugg<strong>in</strong>g. “It just goes<br />

with the territory. I know what my job is<br />

and what I need to achieve and I work<br />

hard to achieve that goal. This approach<br />

removes the gender debate.<br />

“The generation who are aged 45-60<br />

do not see gender <strong>in</strong> the same way as those<br />

who are older. The world is chang<strong>in</strong>g, and<br />

my success just comes down to the choices<br />

I have made and the results I achieve.”<br />

What has been the hardest part of<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g her way through?<br />

“My divorce. My husband was a<br />

traditional male partner and he struggled<br />

with how I saw work and life. I have<br />

learnt that one needs a partner who does<br />

understand and is patient. My ex-husband is<br />

a great father and we are good friends but it<br />

was probably a dark time. But aga<strong>in</strong> this is<br />

one of the choices I had to make <strong>in</strong> life.<br />

“Pressure is a constant <strong>in</strong> all our lives<br />

if you run a bus<strong>in</strong>ess. It goes with the<br />

territory. I have changed over the years.<br />

Five years ago I had short hair and tried<br />

to fit <strong>in</strong> with my male colleagues, but<br />

I realised I needed to be more ‘me’ and<br />

“<br />

Be<strong>in</strong>g fem<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>e is an attribute and asset, and one<br />

should not hide it. It is also important to have fun at<br />

work and care for those that work for you<br />

”<br />

Paul<strong>in</strong>a Burbano de Lara Bus<strong>in</strong>esswoman<br />

as ‘me’ I could <strong>in</strong>fluence people better.<br />

Be<strong>in</strong>g fem<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>e is an attribute and asset,<br />

and one should not hide it. It is also<br />

important to have fun at work and care<br />

for those that work for you. Life is not<br />

easy, whether you work at the bottom of<br />

the ladder or at the top as a leader. It is<br />

my role to make sure we understand and<br />

create a place of work that allows all to<br />

do well,” expla<strong>in</strong>s Paul<strong>in</strong>a.<br />

“Ecuador is chang<strong>in</strong>g. We have worked<br />

hard at improv<strong>in</strong>g the image and also the<br />

offer<strong>in</strong>g of our tourism. We believe very<br />

much <strong>in</strong> susta<strong>in</strong>ability and eco-friendly<br />

projects and as such we have, as a country,<br />

<strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong> our heritage and legacy. We<br />

need to position the country better around<br />

the world so that people really understand<br />

what we have to offer and this is a challenge<br />

that I love. I am represent<strong>in</strong>g the country<br />

I love and we have come a long way <strong>in</strong> the<br />

past 15 years. Back then Ecuador, as a<br />

travel dest<strong>in</strong>ation, was hard to position<br />

and we didn’t have much to offer besides<br />

products <strong>in</strong> the Galápagos Islands. Now<br />

we have the support from Government<br />

and we are mak<strong>in</strong>g real change. We are<br />

today taken seriously. I love culture and<br />

we do possess so much of <strong>in</strong>terest.<br />

“Ecuador has an economy that was<br />

reliant on oil for many years. When oil<br />

boomed, so did the economy and when it<br />

didn’t we had a problem. The Government<br />

has <strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong> tourism and we are build<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a broader base and structure to our<br />

economy. There is still a way to go, but we<br />

are on the right path and mak<strong>in</strong>g good<br />

progress. You should come to Ecuador.”<br />

An <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g concept, and<br />

a thoroughly <strong>in</strong>trigu<strong>in</strong>g lady.<br />

8 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


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BUSINESS IN HOSPITALITY


The Age of Craft | Feature<br />

RETURN TO<br />

THE PRODUCT<br />

It is not just people that are return<strong>in</strong>g to a desire for the<br />

old-fashioned crafts but bus<strong>in</strong>ess leaders too who are talk<strong>in</strong>g<br />

less strategy and more focus on core offer<strong>in</strong>gs to be the best<br />

A<br />

decade ago, as the market boomed,<br />

many companies sought to recruit<br />

strong strategic th<strong>in</strong>kers. Today, the<br />

talk is less on market position and strategy<br />

and more on ensur<strong>in</strong>g the core product<br />

with<strong>in</strong> a bus<strong>in</strong>ess is as engag<strong>in</strong>g and strong<br />

as possible. Meet<strong>in</strong>gs with leaders will focus<br />

on their teams work<strong>in</strong>g on the cul<strong>in</strong>ary and<br />

service offer<strong>in</strong>gs. It is as though the wheel<br />

has turned full circle and the battleground is<br />

less strategic and more the quality product.<br />

Why and where did this change come<br />

from? The answer lies <strong>in</strong> a number of factors<br />

that all converged at the same po<strong>in</strong>t of time:<br />

● As new technology has improved and<br />

speeded up comms, everyth<strong>in</strong>g is almost<br />

<strong>in</strong>stant, so there has been a movement<br />

back to tangible crafts that one can touch<br />

and feel – food, art, books or antiques.<br />

It is as though the human spirit needs<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g creative and real.<br />

● In the same way, consumers are seek<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from hospitality providers excellent food<br />

and service, as it is someth<strong>in</strong>g they relish<br />

and admire.<br />

● Food seems to have taken over from pop<br />

culture and there has been a move back<br />

to provid<strong>in</strong>g excellence <strong>in</strong> service.<br />

● F<strong>in</strong>ally, and most importantly, there has<br />

been a move back to a bus<strong>in</strong>ess philosophy<br />

of ‘if the product is exceptional, the<br />

consumer will follow’.<br />

Leaders have understood this move<br />

and focus their <strong>in</strong>vestment on ensur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that any operation is built on the strong<br />

platform of a great guest experience. In<br />

hotels this may be the room, spa or leisure<br />

offer<strong>in</strong>g. In restaurants it’s the food and<br />

service level. This theme is not conta<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

just to hospitality but to all bus<strong>in</strong>esses <strong>in</strong><br />

all sectors – the focus is on the core.<br />

Arguably, the irony is that it is the<br />

technology companies that were the<br />

catalyst for the return to basics rather<br />

than just a love of craft – or the technology<br />

companies that <strong>in</strong>spired a love of craft<br />

through their own excellence.<br />

As Apple became the world’s most<br />

admired product and bus<strong>in</strong>ess, they won<br />

great acclaim through the excellence of<br />

their products. We may argue that the<br />

<strong>in</strong>crease speed of comms has driven<br />

many back to a love of craft, but equally<br />

the skilled expertise of the technology<br />

won widespread respect and this <strong>in</strong>spired<br />

a desire for excellence <strong>in</strong> all discipl<strong>in</strong>es.<br />

The product’s excellence brought<br />

the consumer to Apple and it rem<strong>in</strong>ded<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess leaders that if the product is<br />

good enough then the customer will<br />

come, and it is no co<strong>in</strong>cidence that<br />

suddenly boards are talk<strong>in</strong>g about the<br />

excellence of their product aga<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Back <strong>in</strong> the late 90s, there was a<br />

well-known management team that<br />

resigned from their corporate positions<br />

because board meet<strong>in</strong>gs never talked<br />

about either food or the customer. The<br />

discussion was simply about figures. Today,<br />

that situation is likely to have changed<br />

because there is a greater understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that <strong>in</strong>vestment <strong>in</strong> the core product will<br />

reta<strong>in</strong> and grow the customer base.<br />

One of the real bus<strong>in</strong>ess lessons of the<br />

last 20 years is that little of quality ever dies<br />

– it may decl<strong>in</strong>e and so re<strong>in</strong>vent itself, but it<br />

rarely dies. C<strong>in</strong>ema was supposed to be <strong>in</strong><br />

a term<strong>in</strong>al decl<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> the late 90s only to be<br />

today a stronger customer experience and<br />

as popular as ever. Books were supposed<br />

to be <strong>in</strong> poor health but they too have seen<br />

a return to strength. Supermarkets were<br />

supposed to have killed off the high street<br />

butcher and fishmonger, but now a new<br />

generation of local shops is emerg<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

the quality of product offered is higher than<br />

before. There are services and brands that<br />

do die but this is because their service level<br />

and offer<strong>in</strong>g is simply not good enough and<br />

their departure is of little loss.<br />

Little of quality will die but the product<br />

needs to be excellent to w<strong>in</strong> the customer.<br />

10 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


ADVERTORIAL<br />

THE ONLY SHOW IN THE UK FOR THE<br />

LUXURY AND BOUTIQUE HOTEL<br />

SECTOR RETURNS TO OLYMPIA VENUE<br />

The event’s hand-picked collection of more than<br />

300 exhibitors from across the hotel supply cha<strong>in</strong><br />

will feature exclusive products, lead<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dustry<br />

figures, <strong>in</strong>novative workshops and top awards<br />

The Independent Hotel<br />

Show returns to Olympia<br />

with a packed two days<br />

of network<strong>in</strong>g, new bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

ideas, advice and <strong>in</strong>sight from<br />

some of the UK’s lead<strong>in</strong>g figures<br />

from the luxury, boutique and<br />

<strong>in</strong>dependent hotel sector.<br />

EXC<strong>EP</strong>TIONAL EXHIBITORS<br />

Discover the f<strong>in</strong>est products and<br />

service providers with a carefully<br />

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premium exhibitors from across<br />

the hotel supply cha<strong>in</strong>. Offer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a one-stop shop of the essentials<br />

needed to run a successful hotel,<br />

The Independent Hotel Show<br />

is the must-attend national event<br />

for anyone work<strong>in</strong>g with<strong>in</strong> the<br />

boutique and luxury hotel sector.<br />

INSPIRING IND<strong>EP</strong>ENDENTS<br />

Hear more from the <strong>in</strong>dustry’s<br />

thought leaders as they share<br />

their knowledge, <strong>in</strong>sight and<br />

expertise across a range of<br />

hard-hitt<strong>in</strong>g sem<strong>in</strong>ars and<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess discussions that tackle<br />

some of the sector’s hottest<br />

topics. Offer<strong>in</strong>g first-hand<br />

design, technology, market<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and bus<strong>in</strong>ess support and advice,<br />

the free-to-attend sem<strong>in</strong>ars<br />

and panel discussions provide<br />

valuable <strong>in</strong>sight from some<br />

of the lead<strong>in</strong>g names <strong>in</strong> the<br />

hotel bus<strong>in</strong>ess to help new<br />

and established hoteliers improve<br />

their performance.<br />

DESTINATION SPA<br />

From top to toe, the Independent<br />

Hotel Show is mak<strong>in</strong>g an even<br />

bigger splash this year with an<br />

expanded feature area dedicated<br />

to hotel spas. Featur<strong>in</strong>g some<br />

of the most respected exhibitors<br />

<strong>in</strong> the sector and supported by<br />

Spa Bus<strong>in</strong>ess, Dest<strong>in</strong>ation Spa<br />

will also present a targeted<br />

programme of bus<strong>in</strong>ess sessions,<br />

ideal for anyone <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong><br />

expand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> this area.<br />

THE IND<strong>EP</strong>ENDENT THINK TANK<br />

Launch<strong>in</strong>g at the show this year,<br />

the Independent Th<strong>in</strong>k Tank is<br />

a dynamic space that br<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

together the movers and shakers<br />

of the hotel sector to debate<br />

key issues and evaluate sector<br />

opportunities. Throughout the<br />

two days it will host a schedule<br />

of smaller, more <strong>in</strong>-depth and<br />

focused workshops allow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

attendees the opportunity<br />

to ask questions and actively<br />

engage with the content.<br />

THE HUB<br />

Let the <strong>in</strong>novation of some of<br />

the design <strong>in</strong>dustry’s most exit<strong>in</strong>g<br />

talent <strong>in</strong>spire you to network,<br />

discuss and share ideas at<br />

The Hub, a transitional space<br />

seamlessly chang<strong>in</strong>g from cafe<br />

to champagne bar as the day<br />

progresses – designed this year<br />

by architects Jestico + Whiles.<br />

HOTELIERS’ HALL OF FAME<br />

The Independent Hotel Show<br />

will aga<strong>in</strong> acknowledge and<br />

reward the country’s most<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluential and respected<br />

<strong>in</strong>dependent hoteliers with the<br />

annual Independent Hotelier<br />

of the Year and Outstand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

New Hotel of the Year awards.<br />

EVENT DATES<br />

Tuesday 20 <strong>October</strong>:<br />

10:00 - 17:00<br />

Wednesday 21 <strong>October</strong>:<br />

10:00 - 17:00<br />

Olympia West,<br />

Olympia Exhibition Centre,<br />

Hammersmith Road,<br />

London W14 8UX


AlixPartners | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

ANOTHER<br />

GOOD VINTAGE<br />

If the f<strong>in</strong>ancial and M&A transaction markets are<br />

anyth<strong>in</strong>g to go by – leav<strong>in</strong>g aside the recent market<br />

volatility caused by concerns over the economic health<br />

of Ch<strong>in</strong>a – <strong>2015</strong> is so far another good year for cater<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and foodservice companies, says Graeme Smith,<br />

Corporate F<strong>in</strong>ance Partner at AlixPartners<br />

Mergers, acquisitions and<br />

<strong>in</strong>vestments are on the up<br />

right across the sector. The<br />

successful flotation of Elior <strong>in</strong> spr<strong>in</strong>g 2014<br />

and its acquisition of Lex<strong>in</strong>gton Cater<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

the acquisition of Searcys by Westbury<br />

Street Hold<strong>in</strong>gs and the <strong>in</strong>vestment <strong>in</strong><br />

Alliance <strong>in</strong> Partnership by Key Capital<br />

Partners have been followed by further<br />

deals at the end of 2014 and <strong>in</strong>to <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

The private equity company LDC<br />

completed two deals <strong>in</strong> the sector <strong>in</strong> quick<br />

succession. They were successful <strong>in</strong> back<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the secondary buyout of Waterfall just<br />

before the end of 2014 and then as <strong>2015</strong> got<br />

underway they acquired cater<strong>in</strong>g bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

Amadeus as part of its acquisition of NEC<br />

Group from Birm<strong>in</strong>gham city council.<br />

Private equity cont<strong>in</strong>ued its <strong>in</strong>vestment<br />

<strong>in</strong> the sector with MML support<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

merger of CH&Co with HCM Group. Both<br />

this and the Waterfall transaction appear<br />

certa<strong>in</strong> to be the first step of buy-and-build<br />

strategies – a strategy that has proved to<br />

be so successful <strong>in</strong> this sector <strong>in</strong> the past.<br />

If this proves to be the case, owners of<br />

companies <strong>in</strong> the sector will have a broad<br />

range of options to consider when they<br />

come to consider an exit – a marked<br />

difference to the situation s<strong>in</strong>ce 2008.<br />

Drivers of change<br />

There is no doubt that this sector is<br />

a beneficiary of economic growth and<br />

confidence. The sector reta<strong>in</strong>s broad<br />

exposure to both corporate and consumer<br />

spend<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the form of bus<strong>in</strong>ess and<br />

<strong>in</strong>dustry (B&I) contracts, venue concessions<br />

and direct retail outlets. So as visitors return<br />

to attractions, companies spend more on<br />

enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and eat<strong>in</strong>g out and the<br />

foodservices sector rises with the tide.<br />

In fact, bus<strong>in</strong>esses with relatively high<br />

levels of exposure to enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, events<br />

and corporate hospitality may see an<br />

economic recovery more ak<strong>in</strong> to high-end<br />

restaurants. When this type of spend<strong>in</strong>g<br />

returns, it flows rapidly to the bottom l<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

Another factor that has started to<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence more rapid improvement <strong>in</strong><br />

profitability as the economy recovers is<br />

the will<strong>in</strong>gness of operators to take on<br />

more risk. This <strong>in</strong>creased risk has come<br />

<strong>in</strong> many forms <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g full at-risk<br />

profit-and-loss (P&L) <strong>in</strong> B&I contracts,<br />

large fixed venues (such as the Sky Garden<br />

by rhubarb) or more retail units (such as<br />

the growth of cafe cha<strong>in</strong> Benugo with<br />

Westbury Street Hold<strong>in</strong>gs). It will be<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g to see if this appetite for risk<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ues to grow and cause others to<br />

move away from traditional cost-plus<br />

contracts or straight concessions rents.<br />

An external driver for the <strong>in</strong>creased<br />

<strong>in</strong>vestor activity <strong>in</strong> the sector has been the<br />

focus on cash flow yield. Cash-generat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses have been attract<strong>in</strong>g higher and<br />

higher valuations. Investors are look<strong>in</strong>g<br />

further afield to f<strong>in</strong>d companies that<br />

generate strong and scalable cash flows.<br />

This focus has, for example, resulted <strong>in</strong><br />

valuations of restaurant groups <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from 6-7x EBITDA to north of 10x<br />

EBITDA <strong>in</strong> some <strong>in</strong>stances.<br />

Foodservice companies are not able to<br />

scale as easily as, say, a branded restaurant<br />

group, but they do benefit from other cash<br />

flow strengths. First, they have a relatively<br />

low capital <strong>in</strong>vestment requirement<br />

mean<strong>in</strong>g that conversion of EBITDA to cash<br />

is quite high. Second, the contract nature of<br />

many of the cash flows make them more<br />

predictable and the apparent low marg<strong>in</strong><br />

“<br />

As visitors return to attractions, companies<br />

spend more on enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and eat<strong>in</strong>g out and<br />

the foodservices sector rises with the tide<br />

”<br />

Graeme Smith Corporate F<strong>in</strong>ance Partner, AlixPartners<br />

12 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


AlixPartners | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

looks a lot healthier once you strip out<br />

pass-through revenues from cost-plus<br />

contracts. F<strong>in</strong>ally, the protection provided<br />

by employee TUPE regulations means<br />

that if a contract is lost, the caterer is not<br />

left with the employee overhang as they<br />

transfer with the contract, an advantage<br />

over fixed-site operations like restaurants.<br />

What next?<br />

The signs po<strong>in</strong>t to further consolidation.<br />

I have po<strong>in</strong>ted out restaurants are much<br />

easier to scale (through new site open<strong>in</strong>gs)<br />

and foodservice companies have proven to<br />

be successful buy-and-build opportunities.<br />

Bus<strong>in</strong>esses are often founded by those<br />

who start their careers with larger operators<br />

and then strike out on their own to offer<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g different. This has resulted <strong>in</strong><br />

a relatively large number of bus<strong>in</strong>esses <strong>in</strong><br />

the sub £30 million turnover size range.<br />

These companies represent potential<br />

consolidation targets. In addition, the<br />

process of tak<strong>in</strong>g on large contracts from<br />

competitors makes management teams<br />

well versed <strong>in</strong> the practice of <strong>in</strong>tegrat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

new staff <strong>in</strong>to their bus<strong>in</strong>ess – a key part<br />

of any successful acquisition or merger.<br />

Often the most challeng<strong>in</strong>g aspect of<br />

a buy-and-build strategy for a private equity<br />

company is f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g the right platform to<br />

acquire to build upon. With LDC and MML<br />

recently <strong>in</strong>vest<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> strong bus<strong>in</strong>esses <strong>in</strong> the<br />

sector, this <strong>in</strong>itial hurdle looks to have been<br />

overcome for these funds. Add to this the<br />

return to the UK acquisition scene of the<br />

larger bus<strong>in</strong>esses, many buoyed by strong<br />

share prices, and the sector looks set for<br />

further consolidation over the next year.<br />

AlixPartners<br />

The op<strong>in</strong>ions expressed are those of<br />

the author and do not necessarily<br />

reflet the iews of AlixPartners LLP,<br />

its aliates or any of its or their<br />

resetie rofessionals or lients<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 13


Alex Heynes | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

THE VITAL<br />

INGREDIENT<br />

Vital Ingredient is a brand that many recognise but few know who or what is beh<strong>in</strong>d it.<br />

Established <strong>in</strong> 2001, it has grown consistently and today boasts 18 stores serv<strong>in</strong>g more<br />

than 8,500 customers a day. The brand pioneered the healthy eat<strong>in</strong>g revolution and today<br />

is well positioned for real growth and expansion. <strong>EP</strong> met founder Alex Heynes to discuss<br />

his <strong>in</strong>spiration for the bus<strong>in</strong>ess, how his journey has been and his vision for the future<br />

It is a slight paradox that many <strong>in</strong><br />

London know the Vital Ingredient<br />

brand yet few know much about the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess. However, it has a very loyal<br />

customer base, one that is clearly grow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and expand<strong>in</strong>g with the bus<strong>in</strong>ess. Scratch<br />

beneath the surface and one soon f<strong>in</strong>ds<br />

the bus<strong>in</strong>ess has focused more on the<br />

produce and the customer and less on<br />

tell<strong>in</strong>g its story and, to a po<strong>in</strong>t, this is<br />

reflective of founder, Alex Heynes.<br />

Alex is naturally self-effac<strong>in</strong>g. He is<br />

modest and would prefer to let the product<br />

do the talk<strong>in</strong>g for him and would rather<br />

operate than talk about himself. To his<br />

credit, he has built a bus<strong>in</strong>ess that may<br />

possess this paradox, but it is an issue that is<br />

relatively easy to solve. It is more important<br />

that he has built a bus<strong>in</strong>ess that, 14 years<br />

after be<strong>in</strong>g founded, has a track record of<br />

growth and steady performance, and is now<br />

well positioned for further growth. More<br />

and more customers are <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong><br />

healthy eat<strong>in</strong>g and are seek<strong>in</strong>g alternatives<br />

to sandwiches or heavy lunch options. It is<br />

easy to see that Vital Ingredient is <strong>in</strong> the<br />

process of build<strong>in</strong>g a strong brand that really<br />

engages with the modern consumer.<br />

Alex is open and candidly honest about<br />

his journey, which has been one of learn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on the job as he has built the bus<strong>in</strong>ess. It has<br />

not been an easy road at times but, to his<br />

credit, he clearly has a firm vision and<br />

a belief <strong>in</strong> what the bus<strong>in</strong>ess does deliver<br />

to the consumer. However, this only tells<br />

part of the story, as few entrepreneurs are<br />

able to build a cha<strong>in</strong> of 18 stores without<br />

steely determ<strong>in</strong>ation, courage and skill. The<br />

journey that most entrepreneurs walk is<br />

rarely ord<strong>in</strong>ary and Alex’s story is one that<br />

is reflective of many who have found their<br />

place <strong>in</strong> life after feel<strong>in</strong>g out of place.<br />

“At school, I was hardly an academic<br />

success. I left school with not too much<br />

confidence <strong>in</strong> myself as someone who<br />

was go<strong>in</strong>g to be a corporate high-flyer,” he<br />

says. “I am not sure they thought I was<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g to be a great success and, to be fair,<br />

they may have had a po<strong>in</strong>t.<br />

“I pretty much knew after leav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

university that the only way I was go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to make a mark for myself was by go<strong>in</strong>g it<br />

alone and start<strong>in</strong>g my own bus<strong>in</strong>ess. I don’t<br />

th<strong>in</strong>k it was necessarily a basic lack of<br />

bra<strong>in</strong> cells, but more the fact I simply<br />

couldn’t hear it from someone else. I’ll<br />

admit I’m not the best of listeners. I had<br />

to f<strong>in</strong>d th<strong>in</strong>gs out first-hand.<br />

“However, I wasn’t sure what type of<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess or <strong>in</strong> which discipl<strong>in</strong>e I would<br />

f<strong>in</strong>d my place. Numbers and paper or even<br />

electronic-based bus<strong>in</strong>esses never <strong>in</strong>spired<br />

me,” he admits. “So it had to be someth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

you could see, touch or even taste.<br />

“I moved to London from the rural<br />

West Country <strong>in</strong> the mid 90s <strong>in</strong> search<br />

of ‘success and fortune’ and worked <strong>in</strong> a<br />

number of unreward<strong>in</strong>g office-based jobs<br />

around the city. I was always distracted by<br />

the apparent success of Pret A Manger,<br />

which at the time was London’s only really<br />

boom<strong>in</strong>g high-end, branded multisite quick<br />

service restaurant bus<strong>in</strong>ess. I remember<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g surprised and disappo<strong>in</strong>ted that my<br />

friends and colleagues didn’t share this<br />

fasc<strong>in</strong>ation,” says Alex, smil<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

“I wanted to know every s<strong>in</strong>gle th<strong>in</strong>g<br />

about the company – their operational<br />

<strong>in</strong>frastructure, their f<strong>in</strong>ancial metrics,<br />

what they were like to work for, where<br />

they sourced <strong>in</strong>gredients and who<br />

built their shops. I became a bit obsessed.<br />

“I was fasc<strong>in</strong>ated about how a s<strong>in</strong>gle<br />

person can create handfuls of sh<strong>in</strong>y,<br />

sexy-look<strong>in</strong>g stores with<strong>in</strong> a few m<strong>in</strong>utes’<br />

walk of each other and fill them with great<br />

people offer<strong>in</strong>g great food and make money.<br />

“I had to f<strong>in</strong>d out how by hav<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

go myself – I knew that much, no more.<br />

I wanted to start someth<strong>in</strong>g that made<br />

14 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Alex Heynes | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

people happy – both its employees as<br />

a place to work and its customers with<br />

the experience and product.<br />

“While visit<strong>in</strong>g New York City with<br />

a girlfriend <strong>in</strong> the late 90s, I spotted a<br />

restaurant with a display of hundreds of<br />

sh<strong>in</strong>y lettuce-filled plastic bowls, long<br />

glass-screened counters with an array of<br />

<strong>in</strong>gredients, l<strong>in</strong>es of dress<strong>in</strong>g bottles and<br />

hundreds of big metal mix<strong>in</strong>g bowls and<br />

tongs hang<strong>in</strong>g on the back wall. When<br />

lunchtime came, they sold 800 salads <strong>in</strong><br />

two hours, each one made to order, to the<br />

customer’s exact specification. There it was.<br />

“The bus<strong>in</strong>ess plan was written on the<br />

flight home, despite the fact it was the only<br />

place <strong>in</strong> New York at the time to serve<br />

a tossed-to-order salad, and the concept<br />

was by no means a proven model, but it was<br />

probably the first time I knew the true<br />

direction that I wanted to take.”<br />

One of Alex’s attributes is that there<br />

is no apparent side to him. He is very<br />

genu<strong>in</strong>e and what you see is Alex the man.<br />

“I come from a farm<strong>in</strong>g family and have<br />

always been <strong>in</strong>to good, honest, healthy food.<br />

I found it so difficult <strong>in</strong> the 90s to be able<br />

to eat what I actually wanted on lunch<br />

breaks while work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the City. It was<br />

frustrat<strong>in</strong>g that the options were limited<br />

to pre-made sandwiches.<br />

“In 2001, I started the first Vital<br />

Ingredient as a new food concept<br />

to provide others with what<br />

I was look<strong>in</strong>g for, hop<strong>in</strong>g<br />

they wanted it too.<br />

I was not overly<br />

optimistic about<br />

the chances of the<br />

company’s success,<br />

as I knew I had<br />

real gaps <strong>in</strong> my<br />

experience and<br />

knowledge, but I was<br />

obsessed with <strong>in</strong>gredient<br />

provenance and freshness,<br />

friendly service and giv<strong>in</strong>g my<br />

customers control of be<strong>in</strong>g able<br />

to eat how and what they wish.<br />

“Today, my desire to provide such a<br />

service is stronger than ever. I have<br />

always believed <strong>in</strong> what we have been<br />

striv<strong>in</strong>g to achieve, but now the consumer<br />

8,500<br />

The number of customers served<br />

each day <strong>in</strong> Vital Ingredient’s<br />

18 stores<br />

Vital Ingredient founder Alex Heynes, right, and Paolo Peretti, Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director, believe that, with the growth<br />

of the consumer’s understand<strong>in</strong>g of eat<strong>in</strong>g well and healthily, there is still more the bus<strong>in</strong>ess can achieve<br />

believes it too and<br />

wants what we are<br />

offer<strong>in</strong>g. We will,<br />

therefore, push our<br />

boundaries to make Vital<br />

Ingredient the place to eat<br />

proper fresh <strong>in</strong>gredients and to eat just<br />

the way you want to, at any time of the day.”<br />

The first store opened <strong>in</strong> 2001, the<br />

second <strong>in</strong> 2003 and the third <strong>in</strong> 2004.<br />

“It was gradual growth to start with but the<br />

stores never had a quiet day’s bus<strong>in</strong>ess, so<br />

“<br />

When lunchtime came,<br />

they sold 800 salads <strong>in</strong> two<br />

hours, each one made to<br />

order, to the customer’s<br />

exact specification. The<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess plan was written<br />

on the flight home<br />

”<br />

Alex Heynes Founder of Vital Ingredient<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 15


Alex Heynes | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

“<br />

Our customers have almost been on the journey with us and shared our belief. They<br />

know we have been genu<strong>in</strong>e and striv<strong>in</strong>g to develop a bus<strong>in</strong>ess that believes <strong>in</strong> offer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

great products with excellent <strong>in</strong>gredients that are fresh and have real taste<br />

”<br />

Alex Heynes Founder of Vital Ingredient<br />

other consumers wanted greater choice<br />

and real options. If I am honest, I probably<br />

‘w<strong>in</strong>ged it’ for the first 14 years, and what<br />

I am delighted and proud about now<br />

is that we have the credibility and<br />

substance to be able to br<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> real<br />

expertise <strong>in</strong>to the bus<strong>in</strong>ess that can take<br />

us forward <strong>in</strong> the right way.<br />

“Vital Ingredient has had its great<br />

highs and lows over the last 14 years but<br />

we have believed <strong>in</strong> the core philosophy<br />

that sits at our heart. I th<strong>in</strong>k that is the<br />

real secret of the success we have had. Yes,<br />

one can say that our tim<strong>in</strong>g was right for<br />

the consumer, but many others have tried<br />

and failed. Our difference is that our<br />

customers have almost been on the journey<br />

with us and shared our belief. They know we<br />

have been genu<strong>in</strong>e and striv<strong>in</strong>g to develop<br />

a bus<strong>in</strong>ess that believes <strong>in</strong> offer<strong>in</strong>g great<br />

products with excellent <strong>in</strong>gredients that<br />

are fresh and have real taste.<br />

“London is a brutal market,” he adds,<br />

candidly. “If you are not good enough,<br />

the customer has many options, so we have<br />

had to work very hard to make sure we are<br />

good enough and that we keep and grow<br />

our customer base. I am always striv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

for better and I suspect I always will, but<br />

I believe that search for better engages<br />

and keeps our customers with us.”<br />

So what does the future hold for the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess? “In truth, I would like to see<br />

the bus<strong>in</strong>ess double <strong>in</strong> size and expand<br />

<strong>in</strong>to new markets. I believe there is still<br />

much more that can be achieved with the<br />

growth of the consumer’s understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

of eat<strong>in</strong>g well and healthily, and we want<br />

to travel on that journey with them. We<br />

have brought <strong>in</strong> greater, proven expertise<br />

to enable us to improve and grow.<br />

“I cannot tell you where the end lies<br />

because I believe we are not far from the<br />

start. We still have much to do and I am<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g forward to the next few years.<br />

I guess the big difference between now<br />

and 2001 is that I now know we can<br />

achieve our goals. When I first started,<br />

I probably did lack belief and confidence,<br />

but I just worked as hard as I could to<br />

cover my weaknesses and gradually it<br />

worked. We now have a great group of<br />

people <strong>in</strong> the company and all 250-plus<br />

of us share a passion. We are work<strong>in</strong>g<br />

towards a common goal, so maybe the<br />

question can be turned around to be<br />

asked – what can’t be achieved?”<br />

16 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


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Zetter Hotels | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

NOT A<br />

TRADITIONAL<br />

TERRACED<br />

TOWNHOUSE<br />

The Zetter Group is an <strong>in</strong>dependent collection of hotels and restaurants <strong>in</strong> London. <strong>EP</strong><br />

jo<strong>in</strong>ed Jason Catifeoglou, one of the three partners <strong>in</strong> the group, <strong>in</strong> the cocktail lounge of<br />

The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone a week before it opened to f<strong>in</strong>d out about their growth<br />

Stepp<strong>in</strong>g off the smart streets of<br />

Marylebone and enter<strong>in</strong>g The Zetter<br />

Group’s new townhouse feels like<br />

go<strong>in</strong>g back a few hundred years and enter<strong>in</strong>g<br />

an eccentric character’s liv<strong>in</strong>g room. The<br />

cocktail lounge on the ground floor is filled<br />

with antique furniture and every space is<br />

dotted with objects or pa<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>gs, while <strong>in</strong><br />

the background 1920s jazz is play<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

When we meet, the townhouse is home<br />

to friends and family of the group who are<br />

‘kick<strong>in</strong>g the tyres’ before the grand open<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> mid-August. Jason is relaxed and positive<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g returned from a two-week holiday.<br />

“It’s quite unusual to take some time out<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g an open<strong>in</strong>g period, but I am fortunate<br />

to be surrounded by an amaz<strong>in</strong>g group who<br />

are capable of runn<strong>in</strong>g everyth<strong>in</strong>g,” he says.<br />

The Zetter Group does appear to have<br />

a great set-up with its employees, with a<br />

number of <strong>in</strong>itiatives to encourage<br />

retention. They also stand out with their<br />

style, uniqueness, attitude to susta<strong>in</strong>ability<br />

and approach to onl<strong>in</strong>e travel agents.<br />

The Zetter Hotel and The Zetter<br />

Townhouse Clerkenwell are trendy with<br />

a style that is popular <strong>in</strong> the London scene.<br />

“We didn’t set off to chase a trend or copy<br />

others, and our townhouses are simply<br />

bedrooms with cocktail lounges. Each of the<br />

properties is unique, but there is a common<br />

thread runn<strong>in</strong>g through them. It provides<br />

a great reaction on a guest’s face when they<br />

walk through the door. I love the ‘what is this<br />

place?’ curiosity,” says Jason, smil<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The group weave a story <strong>in</strong>to each of<br />

their properties and use a fictional character<br />

as a reference po<strong>in</strong>t, the latest of which is<br />

Wicked Uncle Seymour, the fictional owner<br />

of the Marylebone townhouse on Seymour<br />

Street. It’s a bit of fun for the guest, and for<br />

the group it’s a creative way of describ<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and market<strong>in</strong>g the properties.<br />

Jason clearly enjoys his job and has been<br />

with the group s<strong>in</strong>ce 2009, hav<strong>in</strong>g jo<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

Mark Sa<strong>in</strong>sbury and Michael Benyan. The<br />

three of them own the company, with Mark<br />

and Michael look<strong>in</strong>g after the development,<br />

design and refurbishments and Jason<br />

the day-to-day operations, sales, market<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

HR and f<strong>in</strong>ance. “Together we have the<br />

hotel, two townhouses and the restaurant<br />

Gra<strong>in</strong> Store <strong>in</strong> K<strong>in</strong>g’s Cross with our<br />

partner, chef Bruno Loubet. We’re not a<br />

massive group but we all have our own areas<br />

of speciality that we all focus on and which<br />

complement each other.”<br />

A Michel<strong>in</strong>-starred chef, Bruno provides<br />

consultancy on the other properties <strong>in</strong> the<br />

group, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g the new nibble menu at<br />

Marylebone. The group, who recently ran<br />

a successful pop-up restaurant at The<br />

Zetter Hotel, are mov<strong>in</strong>g away from a<br />

typical restaurant concept with<strong>in</strong> their hotel<br />

properties and <strong>in</strong>stead are <strong>in</strong>troduc<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

new members’ club, launch<strong>in</strong>g at the end of<br />

the year. “The club is for both work<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

socialis<strong>in</strong>g, irrespective of the time of day,”<br />

expla<strong>in</strong>s Jason. “It’s for members, guests<br />

who automatically become members and<br />

their friends. Restaurants have a downtime<br />

between breakfast, lunch and d<strong>in</strong>ner and<br />

this is someth<strong>in</strong>g we wanted to move away<br />

from. We wanted to do someth<strong>in</strong>g that was<br />

different to the competition.”<br />

Jason has opened many properties<br />

and has experience of operations and<br />

development from his time at My Hotels<br />

18 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Zetter Hotels | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

Darren Chung, Laurie Fletcher, Amy Murrell<br />

The townhouse concept (above and far right) has<br />

20%<br />

worked very well for The Zetter Group, run by (from left)<br />

Michael Benyan, Mark Sa<strong>in</strong>sbury and Jason Catifeoglou<br />

Group and InterCont<strong>in</strong>ental Hotels Group<br />

(IHG). “It’s a hugely reward<strong>in</strong>g process and<br />

I love how an idea on a piece of paper can<br />

come alive only two years later,” he says.<br />

An eco-friendly and susta<strong>in</strong>able future<br />

is an important part of the Zetter Group’s<br />

philosophy and someth<strong>in</strong>g they are keen<br />

to <strong>in</strong>vest <strong>in</strong>. They have added an occupancy<br />

detection system <strong>in</strong> all of the bedrooms to<br />

save energy when rooms are not <strong>in</strong> use, and<br />

they have <strong>in</strong>stalled their own borehole,<br />

which supplies the water for the property<br />

and the dr<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g water for the townhouses.<br />

The group have been able to buck some<br />

of the difficulties of staff<strong>in</strong>g over the years<br />

by keep<strong>in</strong>g a core team together. “It’s not<br />

just at a senior level, it’s across the whole<br />

group,” says Jason. “But it does help that the<br />

average length of employment for senior<br />

management is seven years. The number<br />

one problem <strong>in</strong> hospitality, and the trickiest<br />

th<strong>in</strong>g to get right, is staff<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

“We recently <strong>in</strong>troduced a profit-shar<strong>in</strong>g<br />

scheme, which was <strong>in</strong>spired by the John<br />

Lewis Partnership. This was the first full<br />

year for our scheme and it benefited those<br />

who had clocked two years of service,” says<br />

Jason. “It recognises the commitment of our<br />

team and is a motivation for retention – of<br />

the 120-strong team, 47 received an extra<br />

1.9 weeks’ worth of pay <strong>in</strong> June. The team<br />

were delighted, as it was around the time<br />

they were mak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

summer holiday plans!<br />

It was easy to put <strong>in</strong><br />

place and we’re perplexed<br />

that others don’t do it.”<br />

Regard<strong>in</strong>g onl<strong>in</strong>e travel<br />

agents, Jason says, “I don’t shy away<br />

from them or see them as a necessary evil.<br />

They don’t br<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a huge amount but it<br />

is a certa<strong>in</strong> percentage of our <strong>in</strong>come.”<br />

The majority of guests for the group are<br />

domestic and cont<strong>in</strong>ental, but Jason has<br />

recently made several trips to America and<br />

he is keen to grow this market. “With the<br />

location and style of our properties, we<br />

know guests will fall <strong>in</strong> love with them. It’s<br />

a market that appreciates what we are do<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and we will soon have a director of sales<br />

out there. The aim is to build exposure and<br />

take this from less than ten per cent of our<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess to more than 20 per cent.<br />

“Our drive has been very organic<br />

because we have no set achievements and<br />

we look at build<strong>in</strong>gs and opportunities when<br />

The share of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

the group aims to have<br />

from the US<br />

they are presented to<br />

us. We are keen to<br />

expand the townhouse<br />

brand because it has been<br />

very successful for us – the<br />

Portman Estate, who own the<br />

townhouse <strong>in</strong> Marylebone, approached<br />

us after see<strong>in</strong>g the Clerkenwell property.”<br />

It is this reputation that has helped the<br />

group grow and now they are look<strong>in</strong>g further<br />

afield. “I’d love to do the townhouse concept<br />

<strong>in</strong> New York or the UK countryside,” says<br />

Jason. “But there is no set plan, so we can<br />

do what feels right. We would never take on<br />

a project that would dilute our culture.”<br />

The group are currently look<strong>in</strong>g at a<br />

40-bedroom property while the Gra<strong>in</strong> Store<br />

concept has been taken on by Airport Retail<br />

Enterprises (ARE) who are plac<strong>in</strong>g an<br />

offshoot cafe and bar <strong>in</strong> Gatwick Airport.<br />

The Zetter Group is tak<strong>in</strong>g the boutique<br />

hotel concept a step away from traditional<br />

routes and it will be <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g to see if<br />

the rest of the market follows suit.<br />

“<br />

Our drive has been very organic... we look at build<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

and opportunities when they are presented to us<br />

”<br />

Jason Catifeoglou Partner, The Zetter Group<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 19


James Boyle | People<br />

BY<br />

FOCUSING<br />

ON FOOD<br />

WE<br />

BECAME<br />

WOR LD<br />

CLASS<br />

When James Boyle became Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director of<br />

Restaurant Associates, his first objective was to ensure<br />

that the bus<strong>in</strong>ess was all about deliver<strong>in</strong>g world-class<br />

food and service. One year on, <strong>EP</strong> met with James to<br />

discuss the progress he feels has been made<br />

One of the real changes <strong>in</strong> the food<br />

service sector recently has been<br />

the emergence of a new generation<br />

of leaders. A group of them have come to<br />

the fore over the last few years from across<br />

all the lead food service providers. They<br />

possess a different perspective and one that<br />

will take the sector forward over the next<br />

decade and beyond. With<strong>in</strong> the bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

they have also brought about a new belief<br />

and conviction. One such example is<br />

James Boyle of Restaurant Associates<br />

(part of Compass Group UK & Ireland).<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce its launch <strong>in</strong> the London market<br />

<strong>in</strong> 2002, Restaurant Associates has been<br />

through many highs and lows. At the start<br />

it excited the market, as it was so different<br />

to others <strong>in</strong> its approach because it <strong>in</strong>vested<br />

<strong>in</strong> becom<strong>in</strong>g the premium player with<br />

greater resources and support available.<br />

Over time, the gap lessened as others<br />

caught up and, arguably, for a while<br />

Restaurant Associates lost its way.<br />

Now the brand is back to its best and<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g led by a dynamic team, which<br />

<strong>in</strong>cludes James, Sue Thompson, Jeremy<br />

Ford and James Greetham, with Greg<br />

Mace lead<strong>in</strong>g the brand Rapport (which<br />

provides reception and front of house<br />

services). Together they have taken the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess back to its core basis – food<br />

alongside outstand<strong>in</strong>g service – as they<br />

work to build strength from the cul<strong>in</strong>ary<br />

depth they possess. The move has<br />

co<strong>in</strong>cided with people across all areas<br />

of life return<strong>in</strong>g to admir<strong>in</strong>g and relish<strong>in</strong>g<br />

20 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


James Boyle | People<br />

“<br />

It was right that<br />

we re-<strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong> our<br />

food philosophy and<br />

this has created a new<br />

momentum with<strong>in</strong> the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess. It has excited<br />

the cul<strong>in</strong>ary team and we<br />

are see<strong>in</strong>g new ideas and<br />

<strong>in</strong>novation emerg<strong>in</strong>g all<br />

across the bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

”<br />

James Boyle<br />

Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director, Restaurant Associates<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

James says the<br />

company is proud of<br />

nd<strong>in</strong> and enora<strong>in</strong><br />

talented sta <strong>in</strong> their<br />

hospitality careers<br />

real craft skills – whether art, food, literary<br />

or design. Arguably, food leads the way.<br />

“In the first year, I wanted to focus on<br />

the core of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess and <strong>in</strong>vest <strong>in</strong> the<br />

cul<strong>in</strong>ary team,” expla<strong>in</strong>s James. “Last<br />

year, we launched the book called Hidden<br />

Chefs, which featured our chefs and their<br />

recipes as well as highlight<strong>in</strong>g how Jason<br />

Atherton and Michel Roux Jr work with<br />

the team. More recently, we also held<br />

a Chef’s Expo – an opportunity for our<br />

talent to showcase what they can do.<br />

Many of them are from five-star hotels<br />

and Michel<strong>in</strong>-star kitchens, so there is no<br />

shortage of cul<strong>in</strong>ary skill <strong>in</strong> our bus<strong>in</strong>ess!<br />

“Expectations of Restaurant Associates<br />

are cont<strong>in</strong>uously high, and rightly so,”<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ues James. “It was right that we<br />

re-<strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong> our food philosophy and this<br />

has created a new momentum with<strong>in</strong> the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess. It has excited the cul<strong>in</strong>ary team<br />

and we are see<strong>in</strong>g new ideas and <strong>in</strong>novation<br />

emerg<strong>in</strong>g all across the bus<strong>in</strong>ess.”<br />

James is a naturally modest man who,<br />

<strong>in</strong> almost a throwback to past eras, has<br />

worked his way up through the ranks. He<br />

has operated at every level and relates to<br />

the needs of those at the front end. It is no<br />

co<strong>in</strong>cidence that James’ first move was to<br />

look at improv<strong>in</strong>g operational delivery.<br />

Prior to be<strong>in</strong>g appo<strong>in</strong>ted Manag<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Director, he was one of the Operations<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 21


James Boyle | People<br />

Directors and it has been a challenge to<br />

then become the lead player, but he has<br />

seem<strong>in</strong>gly grown <strong>in</strong>to the role over the past<br />

year, not by seek<strong>in</strong>g the limelight but by<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g the courage to empower others while<br />

ensur<strong>in</strong>g the structure and philosophy is<br />

right <strong>in</strong> order for the bus<strong>in</strong>ess to compete.<br />

“It is a very competitive market,”<br />

he admits. “I was talk<strong>in</strong>g to colleagues<br />

<strong>in</strong> New York and when they tender,<br />

they may be up aga<strong>in</strong>st three or<br />

four players while we will<br />

be up aga<strong>in</strong>st 11 or 12 –<br />

all boast<strong>in</strong>g real<br />

quality. To be a<br />

lead<strong>in</strong>g player we<br />

had to make sure<br />

our core product<br />

is stronger than<br />

the competition.<br />

Our focus has been<br />

on food and service<br />

as it is this that impacts<br />

on the day to day.<br />

“The service and offer<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

London is of a world-class level,” he adds.<br />

“The high street does naturally raise the<br />

bar as that is what we are compared<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st, and we need to keep up with it.”<br />

When asked whether client<br />

expectations have changed <strong>in</strong><br />

recent years, James replies,<br />

“There is greater confidence <strong>in</strong> the bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

environment, which has led to a different<br />

outlook. We see a real focus on health and<br />

well-be<strong>in</strong>g. Companies want employees<br />

to live well, and they see they have a role <strong>in</strong><br />

support<strong>in</strong>g this through food and ensur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that employees are operat<strong>in</strong>g at their peak.<br />

“Contractors are market leaders <strong>in</strong><br />

their work on food waste, and susta<strong>in</strong>ability.<br />

We have reduced food waste by 15 per cent<br />

and this has had a genu<strong>in</strong>e impact on our<br />

performance. Along with our clients,<br />

we’re lead<strong>in</strong>g the way <strong>in</strong> food, waste<br />

management and technology <strong>in</strong>novations.”<br />

Another change James has noticed <strong>in</strong><br />

the marketplace is that they are consistently<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g at how best to work <strong>in</strong> smaller<br />

spaces. He says, “Clients have a greater<br />

demand on optimis<strong>in</strong>g their space. It has<br />

made us work hard on <strong>in</strong>novation and<br />

15%<br />

The amount by which food<br />

waste has been reduced by<br />

Restaurant Associates<br />

and their clients<br />

seek<strong>in</strong>g new ideas that<br />

appeal to customers.”<br />

So, what now is the<br />

greatest challenge that<br />

Restaurant Associates faces?<br />

“F<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g excellent talent to be part of<br />

our culture and become the lead players of<br />

tomorrow,” reveals James. “We aspire to<br />

excellence and we need to f<strong>in</strong>d others<br />

that share this vision and belief.<br />

“I th<strong>in</strong>k the work that Greg and his<br />

Rapport team have done over the last few<br />

years has helped us. He has set a new<br />

benchmark for how guests should be<br />

welcomed and greeted, mak<strong>in</strong>g it a great<br />

experience for them. The <strong>in</strong>terchange<br />

between the Rapport team and the<br />

Restaurant Associates team needs to<br />

be seamless, and their service level has<br />

made sure we have raised ours.<br />

“We are work<strong>in</strong>g hard to make sure our<br />

cul<strong>in</strong>ary and front-of-house teams aspire to<br />

market lead<strong>in</strong>g excellence, but we are kept<br />

on our toes by high-street offer<strong>in</strong>gs and by<br />

the service levels offered by others such as<br />

Rapport. These dynamics have created<br />

a special momentum that has raised the<br />

bar, so clients have seen that the cont<strong>in</strong>uous<br />

<strong>in</strong>novation means they can work with us,<br />

as the focus is always on improvement.<br />

We work with clients who see their<br />

colleagues as their most important asset<br />

and understand that great food and service<br />

“<br />

We are look<strong>in</strong>g at<br />

how best to work <strong>in</strong><br />

smaller spaces, as<br />

clients have a greater<br />

demand on optimis<strong>in</strong>g<br />

their space. It has<br />

made us work hard<br />

on <strong>in</strong>novation and<br />

seek<strong>in</strong>g new ideas<br />

that appeal to<br />

customers<br />

”<br />

will help them perform at their best, which<br />

leads to even more successful bus<strong>in</strong>esses.”<br />

Measur<strong>in</strong>g success is key, and how to<br />

do that is the question. James believes<br />

they have the answer.<br />

“We want a bus<strong>in</strong>ess that <strong>in</strong>novates and<br />

looks for new solutions,” he says. “Many<br />

people tell me that Compass has returned<br />

to strength. As a bus<strong>in</strong>ess, we have improved<br />

some of our systems and our approach.<br />

I th<strong>in</strong>k this is reflected <strong>in</strong> Restaurant<br />

Associates, but there is more work to be<br />

done. We are, I believe, on the right road<br />

and the focus is less on ourselves and more<br />

on what we deliver <strong>in</strong> terms of product and<br />

service. Ensur<strong>in</strong>g we deliver world-class<br />

food and service that cont<strong>in</strong>ually seek<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

improve is part of that,” he asserts.<br />

We asked if he found the step up to<br />

becom<strong>in</strong>g Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director difficult?<br />

“I was conscious of the opportunity I had<br />

been given and the heritage and legacy of the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess I <strong>in</strong>herited,” admits James, add<strong>in</strong>g<br />

modestly, “We were a close-knit team, so it<br />

wasn’t as hard as maybe some assume. The<br />

team, and the wider Compass bus<strong>in</strong>ess, have<br />

been very supportive and we have worked<br />

to build the platform for susta<strong>in</strong>ed growth.<br />

Pressure comes with the position and it is an<br />

opportunity I relish. It is the team as a whole<br />

that has worked together to place us <strong>in</strong> our<br />

strong position of growth.”<br />

22 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


WMT | Op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

Liv<strong>in</strong>g wage…<br />

or liv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

nightmare?<br />

Peter Davies gives his views on the National Liv<strong>in</strong>g Wage<br />

On the 8 July, fresh from victory <strong>in</strong><br />

the General Election, Chancellor<br />

George Osborne presented his<br />

second Budget of <strong>2015</strong> – and the first<br />

Conservative Budget <strong>in</strong> almost 20 years.<br />

Much of the Budget had been trailed<br />

<strong>in</strong> the media, but the Chancellor saved his<br />

biggest announcement to the very end of<br />

his speech and no one saw it com<strong>in</strong>g – the<br />

new National Liv<strong>in</strong>g Wage (NLW), which<br />

will be mandatory for every worker over 25.<br />

The NLW will beg<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong> April 2016 and<br />

will be set at £7.20 per hour, which means<br />

a qualify<strong>in</strong>g employee who is currently paid<br />

the National M<strong>in</strong>imum Wage (NMW) will<br />

receive an 11% pay <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> just six<br />

months, an <strong>in</strong>crease that would probably<br />

satisfy even a Member of Parliament!<br />

Clearly a political move designed <strong>in</strong> part<br />

to steal those elements of Ed Miliband’s<br />

manifesto the electorate had warmed to, it<br />

is also a shift <strong>in</strong> Government th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g – to<br />

reduce welfare payments for the lower paid<br />

by gett<strong>in</strong>g bus<strong>in</strong>esses to pay higher wages.<br />

In a sector where pay is commonly at or<br />

near the m<strong>in</strong>imum wage, the potential costs<br />

are significant and, for many bus<strong>in</strong>esses, will<br />

be the difference between profit and loss.<br />

While there are some tax reductions<br />

via an <strong>in</strong>creased Employment Allowance<br />

(£1,000 more off an employer’s NI bill from<br />

next year) and a cut <strong>in</strong> Corporation Tax<br />

(to 19%, then 18% – but it will be December<br />

2018 before this is felt), these modest<br />

sav<strong>in</strong>gs will be dwarfed by potential costs.<br />

There has been a mixed response from<br />

the sector. Many, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g Tim Mart<strong>in</strong>,<br />

chairman of pub cha<strong>in</strong> JD Wetherspoon,<br />

have criticised the announcement while<br />

others have suggested it will <strong>in</strong>crease the<br />

attractiveness of careers <strong>in</strong> the sector.<br />

Of course, it isn’t as simple as that.<br />

In hospitality, the way employees are paid<br />

and rewarded is different from, say, retail<br />

SO HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE COST ME?<br />

Number of employees paid at<br />

NMW (£6.70) at 31.3.2016<br />

5<br />

10<br />

25<br />

50<br />

100<br />

Annual NLW <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> pay based<br />

on 48-hour week (<strong>in</strong>c. employer<br />

NICs less £1,000 <strong>in</strong>creased<br />

Employment Allowance)<br />

£6,100<br />

£13,200<br />

£34,500<br />

£70,000<br />

£141,000<br />

Level of profitability<br />

required for tax reductions<br />

to outweigh costs*<br />

£610,000<br />

£1,320,000<br />

£3,450,000<br />

£7,000,000<br />

£14,100,000<br />

*Corporation tax reduced by 1% for account<strong>in</strong>g periods beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g from 1.4.2017. No tax reduction for sole traders or partnerships<br />

staff. Wages are often only one element of<br />

an employee’s earn<strong>in</strong>gs and, thanks to tax<br />

sav<strong>in</strong>gs for bus<strong>in</strong>esses and employees,<br />

that won’t change. Factor <strong>in</strong> th<strong>in</strong>gs such<br />

as gratuities and tronc (which will now be<br />

of even more importance) and suddenly<br />

pay rates don’t seem quite so poor.<br />

Pay rates are on the rise already – quite<br />

significantly for some positions and skills.<br />

This isn’t because of legislation, it’s due to<br />

a dynamic grow<strong>in</strong>g sector compet<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

the best staff when there’s a skills shortage<br />

– it’s a good time to be a chef straight out<br />

of college and full of enthusiasm.<br />

My concern is that the new NLW will<br />

dampen that expansion. For the under 25s,<br />

it’s of no benefit. It may also encourage<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses to <strong>in</strong>crease the casualisation of<br />

employees through zero-hours contracts,<br />

<strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g uncerta<strong>in</strong>ty and decreas<strong>in</strong>g job<br />

security (more likely to discourage people<br />

from jo<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the sector than pay rates).<br />

The correspond<strong>in</strong>g tax reductions will<br />

only outweigh <strong>in</strong>creased costs for the very<br />

largest bus<strong>in</strong>esses at a time when many<br />

<strong>in</strong>dependents are struggl<strong>in</strong>g to compete.<br />

The one th<strong>in</strong>g we can be certa<strong>in</strong> of is<br />

that the National Liv<strong>in</strong>g Wage is here to stay.<br />

Like the m<strong>in</strong>imum wage before it, no party<br />

would dare to be seen to abolish it.<br />

Peter Davies is the<br />

Employment Tax Director and<br />

Head of <strong>Hospitality</strong> Services for<br />

WMT – Chartered Accountants<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 23


Scottish <strong>Hospitality</strong> | Feature<br />

FORGOTTEN<br />

SCOTTISH<br />

HISTORY?<br />

There are legendary properties <strong>in</strong> Scotland, all provid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the highest standards of hospitality, and it’s high time they<br />

got the recognition they deserved. <strong>EP</strong> sh<strong>in</strong>es the spotlight<br />

on the abundance of operations <strong>in</strong>spired by great people<br />

The last 20 years has been a golden<br />

era <strong>in</strong> Scottish hospitality, and the<br />

country boasts some of the f<strong>in</strong>est<br />

properties and locations <strong>in</strong> Brita<strong>in</strong>. <strong>EP</strong><br />

has been work<strong>in</strong>g on a new title called<br />

The Forgotten Histories of Scotland,<br />

which aims to showcase the country’s<br />

many f<strong>in</strong>e properties. It will <strong>in</strong>clude the<br />

grand hotels, qua<strong>in</strong>t bed and breakfasts,<br />

restaurants serv<strong>in</strong>g the f<strong>in</strong>est cuis<strong>in</strong>e,<br />

golf courses cited as the best <strong>in</strong> the<br />

world and the great characters who<br />

have helped shape the hospitality of<br />

this great country. Meanwhile, here<br />

are a few of the snippets of Scottish history<br />

that you may not know…<br />

Borthwick Castle Hotel – Mary, Queen<br />

of Scots, stayed at this castle <strong>in</strong> the Scottish<br />

Borders <strong>in</strong> June 1567, not long after her<br />

marriage to the Earl of Bothwell. They<br />

were warned an army was advanc<strong>in</strong>g<br />

towards the castle, mean<strong>in</strong>g to take the<br />

Earl of Bothwell by force to stand trial for<br />

murder. On hear<strong>in</strong>g this, Bothwell left the<br />

castle <strong>in</strong> order to raise an army, leav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Mary to face the <strong>in</strong>surgent lords. She<br />

refused to let Bothwell be <strong>in</strong>crim<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

and told the army he had already left.<br />

While they were re-apprais<strong>in</strong>g the situation,<br />

it is said she escaped through a narrow<br />

w<strong>in</strong>dow <strong>in</strong> the Great Hall disguised as a<br />

pageboy and rode off to re-jo<strong>in</strong> Bothwell.<br />

The Three Chimneys – Shirley Spear and<br />

husband Eddie have owned this restaurant<br />

on the Isle of Skye for 30 years. The couple<br />

had no tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g or experience <strong>in</strong> restaurants<br />

when they took on the property and now it<br />

has a Michel<strong>in</strong> star, 3 AA Rosettes and is a<br />

Gold Five Star restaurant with rooms.<br />

Craigellachie Hotel – Located <strong>in</strong> the heart<br />

of Speyside, the hotel features the Quaich<br />

Bar, which has 700 bottles of s<strong>in</strong>gle malt<br />

whisky l<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g its walls, represent<strong>in</strong>g every<br />

Scottish distillery and is one of the world’s<br />

largest collections of s<strong>in</strong>gle malt whiskies.<br />

Prestonfield House Hotel – In 1746 Sir<br />

Alexander Dick <strong>in</strong>herited the Prestonfield<br />

24 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Scottish <strong>Hospitality</strong> | Feature<br />

estate <strong>in</strong> Ed<strong>in</strong>burgh. He was a physician but<br />

also had a particular <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> horticultural<br />

propagation, and was awarded a Gold Medal<br />

for his successful <strong>in</strong>troduction of rhubarb to<br />

Scotland. Rhubarb is the name of hotel’s<br />

restaurant and often features on the menu.<br />

Cameron House Hotel – Takes its name<br />

from the strip of land that juts out <strong>in</strong>to Loch<br />

Lomond like a nose upon a face. In Celtic<br />

times it was called ‘cam sron’, which means<br />

‘crooked nose’. Dur<strong>in</strong>g construction two<br />

secret tunnels were added as escape routes,<br />

one towards the land and one towards the<br />

loch, allow<strong>in</strong>g flight <strong>in</strong> either direction.<br />

Glencoe House Hotel, Waldorf Astoria Ed<strong>in</strong>burgh – The Caledonian, The Three Chimneys<br />

Amhu<strong>in</strong>nsuidhe Castle Hotel – This Isle<br />

of Harris hotel is rumoured to be haunted<br />

by the ghost of Lady Sophie Scott, a resident<br />

<strong>in</strong> Edwardian times. She and her husband,<br />

Sir Samuel Scott, were renowned for their<br />

shoot<strong>in</strong>g parties. Their rema<strong>in</strong>s are buried<br />

<strong>in</strong> the cairn on the hill beh<strong>in</strong>d the hotel. If<br />

Lady Sophie does visit the hotel, she is<br />

merely keep<strong>in</strong>g a watch on her guests to<br />

ensure that their stay is comfortable.<br />

Glencoe House Hotel – Scottish-born<br />

Canadian Donald Alexander Smith, who<br />

<strong>in</strong>stigated the Canadian Pacific Railway, was<br />

a self-made millionaire and <strong>in</strong> 1896, he built<br />

this house <strong>in</strong> Glencoe Glen. It later become<br />

a military hospital where those recuperat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

could take <strong>in</strong> the beauty of the Highlands.<br />

Isle of Eriska Hotel – The architect<br />

for The Big House, as the mansion was<br />

known when it was first built <strong>in</strong> 1884,<br />

was Hippolyte Blanc. He was highly<br />

acclaimed for his meticulous attention<br />

to detail and the high specification <strong>in</strong> the<br />

materials he used. As well as the mansion<br />

<strong>in</strong> Argyll he was also responsible for<br />

St Cuthbert’s Church and the Argyll<br />

Tower at the Castle, both <strong>in</strong> Ed<strong>in</strong>burgh.<br />

Waldorf Astoria Ed<strong>in</strong>burgh – The<br />

Caledonian – This city centre hotel was<br />

orig<strong>in</strong>ally just called The Caledonian, the<br />

ancient name for Scotland, and locals still<br />

refer to it by its nickname ‘The Caley’.<br />

The former Victorian railway hotel’s<br />

architecture has a triangular pediment that<br />

shows classical male and female figures on<br />

either side of a ‘lion rampant’, the Royal<br />

Standard of Scotland. At the feet of the male<br />

figure there’s steam locomotive, underl<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

the hotel’s historic l<strong>in</strong>ks with railway travel.<br />

Ardanaiseig Hotel – Accord<strong>in</strong>g to Celtic<br />

legend, the house <strong>in</strong> Kilchrenan, Argyll,<br />

is near a magic well of youth, hidden on<br />

Ben Cruachan and guarded by a goddess<br />

called Bheithir who bathed <strong>in</strong> the waters to<br />

preserve her youth. One day she failed to<br />

replace the capstone on the spr<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

the waters overflowed and ran down the<br />

mounta<strong>in</strong>side, flood<strong>in</strong>g the valley to create<br />

Loch Awe. Bheithir, no longer able to stay<br />

young, changed <strong>in</strong>to an old hag, and it’s said<br />

her cries of despair can still be heard today.<br />

Mar Hall Hotel – Architect Sir Robert<br />

Smirke , famed for his work with the British<br />

Museum <strong>in</strong> London, was commissioned to<br />

build this hall <strong>in</strong> Bishopton, near Glasgow,<br />

Far left: The<br />

manient<br />

scenery around<br />

Glencoe<br />

House Hotel<br />

Above: The Waldorf<br />

Astoria Ed<strong>in</strong>burgh<br />

– The Caledonian<br />

with the castle <strong>in</strong><br />

the background’<br />

Left: The<br />

Three Chimneys<br />

restaurant on the<br />

Isle of Skye<br />

<strong>in</strong> the 19th century by Lord Blantyre. But<br />

the military man never saw it f<strong>in</strong>ished, as he<br />

died two years later <strong>in</strong> battle <strong>in</strong> 1830. It was<br />

not completed until 15 years after his death<br />

when the f<strong>in</strong>al bill came to over £50,000<br />

(nearly half a million pounds today).<br />

The Carnegie Club – This members-only<br />

club at Skibo Castle was founded by the<br />

self-made millionaire Andrew Carnegie.<br />

He played a role <strong>in</strong> arrang<strong>in</strong>g Dippy the<br />

Diplodocus <strong>in</strong> its pride of place as the first<br />

sight to greet visitors at the Natural History<br />

Museum <strong>in</strong> London. In 1898, Carnegie set<br />

out to acquire the fossilised bones of a<br />

diplodocus for his museum <strong>in</strong> Pittsburg,<br />

USA. When K<strong>in</strong>g Edward VII saw a sketch<br />

while visit<strong>in</strong>g Skibo Castle, he remarked<br />

how he wanted the same for the Natural<br />

History Museum. The rest is history.<br />

For more <strong>in</strong>formation, please contact<br />

Ben Butler at <strong>EP</strong> Bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong> <strong>Hospitality</strong>.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 25


Professor David Russell | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

25 YEARS OF<br />

CHANGES AND<br />

CHALLENGES<br />

The Russell Partnership consultancy celebrates its 25th<br />

anniversary this year, which is a great achievement <strong>in</strong> itself.<br />

But perhaps the real triumph has been how they have risen <strong>in</strong><br />

the last few years to become an operator on the world stage.<br />

Known for its work at lead<strong>in</strong>g sport<strong>in</strong>g events, the consultancy<br />

is a key player <strong>in</strong> higher education and public sector contracts<br />

Professor David Russell has travelled<br />

a long and successful road through<br />

food and beverage operations until<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ally becom<strong>in</strong>g Chairman of The Russell<br />

Partnership Collection, which boasts two<br />

consult<strong>in</strong>g and two technology bus<strong>in</strong>esses.<br />

He was Group Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director of<br />

Town and County Ltd, Food and Beverage<br />

Director for Forte (UK) hotels <strong>in</strong> the 1980s<br />

before found<strong>in</strong>g his current bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong> 1989<br />

and is well positioned to discuss the changes<br />

<strong>in</strong> the market and the challenges they face.<br />

In the last 25 years, how has the role and<br />

expectations of consultancy changed?<br />

Food consultancy has come of age. We are<br />

<strong>in</strong> a rapidly evolv<strong>in</strong>g global arena where<br />

breadth and depth of resource coupled with<br />

a restless appetite for change are essential.<br />

We have developed an <strong>in</strong>frastructure<br />

capable of respond<strong>in</strong>g to a 24/7, 365-day<br />

environment where clients require a<br />

multi-discipl<strong>in</strong>ed team with a technologyenabled<br />

response and language capability.<br />

With market maturity with<strong>in</strong> the<br />

food consultancy world comes company<br />

segmentation and specialisation requir<strong>in</strong>g<br />

best-<strong>in</strong>-class responses from an<br />

experienced, proactive team, delivered to<br />

a knowledgeable client.<br />

To succeed, we need to be omnipresent<br />

and resilient, to be engaged <strong>in</strong> a process of<br />

constantly re<strong>in</strong>vent<strong>in</strong>g the offer and build<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the skills demanded by the market. Be<strong>in</strong>g an<br />

observer and stand<strong>in</strong>g still is not an option.<br />

The key considerations and <strong>in</strong>fluences<br />

at play <strong>in</strong> the market are deliver<strong>in</strong>g value,<br />

speed of response and reliability built on<br />

reputation and delivered via word of mouth.<br />

Many argue that technology has changed<br />

the landscape and best practice – what<br />

are your own thoughts and views?<br />

I would agree, hav<strong>in</strong>g two technology<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses! Both our pre-arrival onl<strong>in</strong>e<br />

orientation and simulation bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

are testament to how process review and<br />

contemporary technology drive best<br />

practice – both are global leaders and<br />

<strong>in</strong>novators serv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> excess of a million<br />

users comb<strong>in</strong>ed. Technology will cont<strong>in</strong>ue<br />

to play a key role <strong>in</strong> all we do but will not<br />

replace time spent ensur<strong>in</strong>g good process<br />

is <strong>in</strong> place prior to technology application.<br />

How hard was to go from be<strong>in</strong>g a UK<br />

consultancy to operat<strong>in</strong>g globally?<br />

Grit, glamour and determ<strong>in</strong>ation spr<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

m<strong>in</strong>d! Back <strong>in</strong> 1989, we built our home <strong>in</strong><br />

London where our roots rema<strong>in</strong> today. It<br />

comes at a premium cost, of course, but it<br />

has been one of the pillars to deliver<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational growth and support stability,<br />

consistency and reassurance to our loyal<br />

UK and <strong>in</strong>ternational customer base. Our<br />

26 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Professor David Russell | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

The Russell Partnership<br />

appo<strong>in</strong>tment to create and oversee the<br />

London 2012 Olympics was our platform to<br />

the global market, <strong>in</strong>troduc<strong>in</strong>g the collection<br />

of bus<strong>in</strong>esses to future major event<br />

committees, multiple <strong>in</strong>ternational sport<br />

federations, athletes, press, broadcasters,<br />

stadium owners and operators.<br />

A key outcome from 2012 for the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess was the creation of a new bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

RP Global to focus and specialise <strong>in</strong> stadia<br />

and global events. The decision to launch<br />

was <strong>in</strong> part to protect our core – consult<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with<strong>in</strong> the UK university sector and B&I,<br />

impart succession plann<strong>in</strong>g deliver<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

opportunity for Laurence McCarthy to<br />

take on the role of MD for RP and <strong>in</strong> part<br />

to seize the identified niche global gap <strong>in</strong><br />

this market sector.<br />

Taxation, payment terms, language,<br />

physical sacrifice (long flights and time<br />

zone changes) are all challenges to<br />

overcome, and we have found utilis<strong>in</strong>g our<br />

professional partners, our long-term<br />

commercial friendships and partner<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to be key solutions.<br />

A great example of how commercial<br />

friendships play a role was our need for<br />

a permanent Russian translator for our<br />

three-year commission deliver<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

strategy for the Sochi 2014 W<strong>in</strong>ter<br />

Olympics. A conversation with Phil Harvey,<br />

the then Registrar at the University of<br />

Sheffield and a client, suggested a colleague<br />

based <strong>in</strong> a university near Moscow. To cut<br />

the story short, Natalia Bagrova supported<br />

us through our time <strong>in</strong> Russia, not only<br />

translat<strong>in</strong>g but also deliver<strong>in</strong>g local<br />

knowledge and contacts, and today is part of<br />

our global network. You can’t do this alone<br />

and good luck plays a part.<br />

The London Olympics was a major<br />

project and achievement – what are your<br />

recollections of the key challenges?<br />

With the eyes of the world on London,<br />

the Games provided the ideal stage to<br />

showcase our capability, <strong>in</strong>novation, vision,<br />

passion for legacy and our desire to go<br />

beyond the expected on a global stage. We<br />

have many memories, and although the<br />

Games were a long time com<strong>in</strong>g but gone <strong>in</strong><br />

a flash, they stay <strong>in</strong> your heart. Work<strong>in</strong>g with<br />

great people with a common goal can’t be<br />

beaten. Work<strong>in</strong>g with Boris Johnson and<br />

the Food Advisory Group – what a learn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

curve and legacy that was!<br />

The challenges revolved around scale<br />

(2012 was the world’s largest peacetime<br />

food operation), the complexity of<br />

communication and relationships with<br />

partner sponsors, operators, the press,<br />

athletes and officials. There was a shortage<br />

of relevant background <strong>in</strong>formation to<br />

build trend data, so 90 per cent of the<br />

scop<strong>in</strong>g, modell<strong>in</strong>g and approach had to<br />

be built from scratch. With food and sport<br />

true passions of the partnership team, what<br />

could be more uplift<strong>in</strong>g than deliver<strong>in</strong>g<br />

what the IOC quoted as “the world’s most<br />

successful Olympic Games”?<br />

What is next for the bus<strong>in</strong>ess? What is<br />

the vision?<br />

Time moves on, but the vision rema<strong>in</strong>s<br />

‘believ<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g a difference’. The shift<br />

is national to <strong>in</strong>ternational scale. We will<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ue to deliver strategies and solutions<br />

to unique challenges and rema<strong>in</strong> restless <strong>in</strong><br />

our approach to evolve and <strong>in</strong>novate.<br />

We will build on global friendships and<br />

partnerships and strive to deliver <strong>in</strong>ternal<br />

succession for our grow<strong>in</strong>g young talent<br />

pool – Peter, Chris and Charlotte to name<br />

a few young stars – and opportunities for<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternships and graduate programmes.<br />

Look<strong>in</strong>g back on your own career, what<br />

have been the highs and lows?<br />

There have been so many highs. One month<br />

after leav<strong>in</strong>g Forte Hotels, Lord Forte<br />

gift<strong>in</strong>g our first job – the development of the<br />

first food model for Gatwick Airport. The<br />

team appo<strong>in</strong>tment to London 2012 – the<br />

first UK company to deliver a food strategy<br />

for both a Summer and W<strong>in</strong>ter Games. Two<br />

companies both celebrat<strong>in</strong>g 25 years<br />

– The Russell Partnership and RP<br />

Technology (our bus<strong>in</strong>ess simulation<br />

company). The launch of the first UK<br />

pre-arrival onl<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong>duction programme<br />

and the positive student feedback constantly<br />

received from those <strong>in</strong> Student Transition<br />

Experience Management and Support<br />

(STEMS). The opportunity to present<br />

game-chang<strong>in</strong>g solutions at the White<br />

House <strong>in</strong> Moscow and the UN <strong>in</strong> Geneva.<br />

For lows, I would <strong>in</strong>terpret that as<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess challenges, which we all face<br />

operat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the SME market place.<br />

At the outset, security for loans, cash<br />

flow management and now scaleability,<br />

resourc<strong>in</strong>g skills and deliver<strong>in</strong>g our<br />

succession plans.<br />

How have you changed dur<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

last 25 years?<br />

I’m a pragmatic optimist, and that hasn’t<br />

changed. My body is 25 years older,<br />

however my spirit isn’t! I appreciate more<br />

than ever my resilience is derived from what<br />

I learnt <strong>in</strong> a former career <strong>in</strong> sport. I know<br />

you can’t do it alone, you need a team with<br />

collective trust, common goals and an ally<br />

right by your side – and m<strong>in</strong>e is known by<br />

our clients as M (Michelle) – to manage the<br />

complex diary, travel schedules, client<br />

relationships and be your collaborator and<br />

confidant. I’m now able to utilise the matrix<br />

of life experiences to face and resolve global<br />

challenges while direct<strong>in</strong>g and channell<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the natural anxiety of an unknown or<br />

complex challenge <strong>in</strong>to a positive outcome.<br />

What are your aspirations for the future?<br />

To rema<strong>in</strong> restless <strong>in</strong> our collective desire<br />

to drive a significant, positive difference to<br />

people, organisations and countries.<br />

“<br />

With market maturity with<strong>in</strong> the food consultancy<br />

world comes company segmentation and specialisation<br />

requir<strong>in</strong>g best-<strong>in</strong>-class responses from an experienced,<br />

proactive team, delivered to a knowledgeable client<br />

”<br />

Professor David Russell Chairman, The Russell Partnership<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 27


David Coubrough | People<br />

THE<br />

REINVENTION<br />

OF MAN<br />

The idea that a person will re<strong>in</strong>vent themselves three times <strong>in</strong> the course of their life is not<br />

a new concept. Go<strong>in</strong>g from the m<strong>in</strong>dset of an operator to bus<strong>in</strong>ess leader to <strong>in</strong>dustry elder,<br />

there comes a time when a re-evaluation of priorities takes place before mov<strong>in</strong>g on to the<br />

next life stage. Speak<strong>in</strong>g with David Coubrough about this concept, Arlene McCaffrey asks<br />

how mov<strong>in</strong>g from bus<strong>in</strong>ess to becom<strong>in</strong>g a literary crime author was all a natural journey<br />

Beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g his career <strong>in</strong> management<br />

<strong>in</strong> the London hotel market before<br />

becom<strong>in</strong>g an <strong>in</strong>dependent bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

owner, then company director, mentor and<br />

member of the Board of Governors of The<br />

Royal Academy of Cul<strong>in</strong>ary Arts and now<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ally author, David Coubrough is a prime<br />

example of someone who has moved<br />

through the different phases of his career<br />

by re<strong>in</strong>vent<strong>in</strong>g himself along the way.<br />

Chapter One<br />

Orig<strong>in</strong>ally tra<strong>in</strong>ed as a hotel manager at<br />

The Gor<strong>in</strong>g Hotel, London, David made<br />

the bold move to leave the hotel trade<br />

<strong>in</strong> the 1980s and open his own specialist<br />

hospitality recruitment firm, Portfolio.<br />

While mov<strong>in</strong>g from the role of employee<br />

to the challenge of employer is a move many<br />

will attempt <strong>in</strong> the course of their careers, it<br />

is often the case that failure comes from a<br />

lack of forethought and appreciation that<br />

a different way of th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g is needed.<br />

“Sett<strong>in</strong>g up a new bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong> the 1980s<br />

with two partners, Nick Metcalfe and Raoul<br />

de Soissons, proved to be a particularly good<br />

time,” says David. “Margaret Thatcher’s<br />

Brita<strong>in</strong> encouraged entrepreneurialism and<br />

Portfolio fitted nicely <strong>in</strong>to the ‘market<strong>in</strong>g<br />

services’ companies that flourished <strong>in</strong> that<br />

decade. We grew very rapidly and it wasn’t<br />

long before we were ‘<strong>in</strong> play’ to the PLCs<br />

that were hover<strong>in</strong>g like vultures to swoop<br />

up successful <strong>in</strong>dependent bus<strong>in</strong>esses.<br />

“In h<strong>in</strong>dsight, we sold too soon. The<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess wasn’t sufficiently mature and<br />

I guess we had our heads turned – we felt<br />

like pop stars who’d just had a number one<br />

record. I always advise people to not sell<br />

unless they are sure they are ready to lose<br />

the sovereignty of their bus<strong>in</strong>ess, whatever<br />

pound number is dangled <strong>in</strong> front of them.”<br />

Hav<strong>in</strong>g sold the Portfolio bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong><br />

1988, David made the unusual move of<br />

buy<strong>in</strong>g it back <strong>in</strong> 1990. But four years later<br />

he sold it once aga<strong>in</strong> to public company<br />

Prime People PLC, where he took on the<br />

role of Chief Executive. He rema<strong>in</strong>ed there<br />

until 2003 when, yet aga<strong>in</strong>, he recognised<br />

his ambition to do someth<strong>in</strong>g different.<br />

Chapter Two<br />

“I th<strong>in</strong>k the only way to put it is to say that<br />

I ‘went plural’! I wanted to get away from<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g all my focus on one bus<strong>in</strong>ess and<br />

realised I was yearn<strong>in</strong>g to do different<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs <strong>in</strong> different bus<strong>in</strong>esses and even <strong>in</strong><br />

sectors I wasn’t familiar with,” he says.<br />

He also felt that the time had come<br />

to mentor the next generation and to give<br />

others opportunities to flourish. “I found<br />

that I no longer wanted to run anyth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

day to day. I was happy to <strong>in</strong>vest <strong>in</strong> start-up<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses and commit my time to provide<br />

mentor<strong>in</strong>g, guidance, help and support, but<br />

I wanted to leave the responsibility of the<br />

overall runn<strong>in</strong>g of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess to others.<br />

“I <strong>in</strong>vested <strong>in</strong> and got <strong>in</strong>volved with<br />

Bespoke Hotels with Rob<strong>in</strong> Sheppard, who<br />

I’ve known for years. I also got <strong>in</strong>to contract<br />

cater<strong>in</strong>g with Holroyd Howe, which turned<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a superb bus<strong>in</strong>ess, consistently w<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g<br />

contracts and maximis<strong>in</strong>g the potential of<br />

its talented workforce. But after ten years,<br />

I accepted a good offer to sell.<br />

“Additionally, I got <strong>in</strong>volved with a small<br />

group of restaurants <strong>in</strong> the West Country,<br />

was appo<strong>in</strong>ted a director at Maldon Sea Salt<br />

and also jo<strong>in</strong>ed the board of Bloomsbury<br />

Properties Ltd. So I th<strong>in</strong>k it’s fair to say that<br />

my day to day changed emphatically. Some<br />

28 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


David Coubrough | People<br />

“<br />

I wanted to get away<br />

from hav<strong>in</strong>g all my focus<br />

on one bus<strong>in</strong>ess and<br />

realised I was yearn<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to do different th<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

<strong>in</strong> different bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

and even <strong>in</strong> sectors<br />

I wasn’t familiar with<br />

”<br />

David Coubrough Bus<strong>in</strong>essman and author<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

of the bus<strong>in</strong>esses flourished, some didn’t, so<br />

I had to adapt my own impact. One quirky<br />

aspect of this was my own dress sense. I had<br />

different suits for different bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

– bright tailor-made ones when I needed<br />

to be more extrovert, sober city-types for<br />

companies that demanded a more sombre<br />

‘How do we survive?’ type of approach.”<br />

Not everyone can or would want to<br />

step away from a successful career <strong>in</strong><br />

an established bus<strong>in</strong>ess, but aga<strong>in</strong> this<br />

is <strong>in</strong>dicative of David’s will<strong>in</strong>gness to<br />

re<strong>in</strong>vent himself when the time came.<br />

Not<strong>in</strong>g that he is wholly committed to<br />

the bus<strong>in</strong>esses he has become <strong>in</strong>volved<br />

with – <strong>in</strong>deed he is l<strong>in</strong>ed up to be the next<br />

chairman at Bloomsbury Properties – he<br />

is, nonetheless, keen to cont<strong>in</strong>ue try<strong>in</strong>g<br />

new th<strong>in</strong>gs. “Save me from the day when<br />

I no longer want to try anyth<strong>in</strong>g different or<br />

try someth<strong>in</strong>g new!” he says with a smile.<br />

Chapter Three<br />

While still <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> a large number of<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>esses across a broad spectrum of<br />

<strong>in</strong>dustries, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g co-own<strong>in</strong>g the pub/<br />

restaurant The Beehive at White Waltham<br />

with chef Dom<strong>in</strong>ic Chapman, David f<strong>in</strong>ally<br />

decided to write a book – someth<strong>in</strong>g he<br />

had wanted to do for quite some time and<br />

br<strong>in</strong>g<strong>in</strong>g his story to the third re<strong>in</strong>vention.<br />

“It was someth<strong>in</strong>g of a life ambition for<br />

me. I have always been fasc<strong>in</strong>ated by people,<br />

their stories and what drives them. Writ<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a book seemed as much an extension of that<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest as it was a project. It has taken me<br />

the better part of two years to complete,<br />

and has <strong>in</strong>volved quite a lot of change and<br />

adaptation. I am usually a gregarious type<br />

of person, but I found that while writ<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

I sought isolation. I would go to Cornwall on<br />

my own for a week or so and f<strong>in</strong>d myself <strong>in</strong><br />

various parts of the county th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g, ‘How<br />

can I weave this place <strong>in</strong>to the story?’”<br />

Entitled Half a Pound of Tuppenny<br />

Rice, the book centres on the story of a man<br />

who comes to suspect his mother may have<br />

been <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the murder of a hotel night<br />

porter <strong>in</strong> Cornwall some 40 years earlier.<br />

Through <strong>in</strong>vestigations and the rek<strong>in</strong>dl<strong>in</strong>g<br />

of his connections with long-forgotten<br />

childhood friends, the story focuses on the<br />

relationships, m<strong>in</strong>i-dramas and assumptions<br />

we all make, all told through the eyes of<br />

a tormented narrator and with a dash of<br />

David’s ubiquitous ability to <strong>in</strong>voke dark<br />

humour <strong>in</strong> an otherwise s<strong>in</strong>ister situation.<br />

When asked if the plot l<strong>in</strong>e is based,<br />

however loosely, <strong>in</strong> any sort of fact or his<br />

own family history, David laughs and says,<br />

“I’m often asked if there’s any element of<br />

truth to the story, or if it’s about my own<br />

family. It hadn’t even occurred to me while<br />

I was writ<strong>in</strong>g it that that’s an op<strong>in</strong>ion people<br />

would reach – it’s certa<strong>in</strong>ly not true. This<br />

story is pure and simple fiction!”<br />

The idea that someone may change<br />

themselves three times <strong>in</strong> the course<br />

of their lifetime is one that David may yet<br />

disprove, as a fourth or fifth re<strong>in</strong>vention<br />

seem em<strong>in</strong>ently plausible.<br />

Half a Pound of Tuppenny Rice by David<br />

Coubrough will be published April 2016.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 29


Bison | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

STARTING<br />

A TREND<br />

Considered a gourmet speciality and often found at food<br />

festivals, bison is set to become a restaurant staple. <strong>EP</strong> met<br />

George and Ruth Wakel<strong>in</strong>g of bison and deer farm Bouverie<br />

Lodge to f<strong>in</strong>d out about the challenges and future of bison<br />

George Wakel<strong>in</strong>g is very passionate<br />

about bison meat. “It has a sweeter,<br />

richer flavour than beef and is<br />

naturally tender,” he says. He and wife<br />

Ruth were orig<strong>in</strong>ally beef cattle farmers<br />

and started rais<strong>in</strong>g bison <strong>in</strong> 2000. “We<br />

began work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> this very different world<br />

of farm<strong>in</strong>g 15 years ago with five bison<br />

cows and one bull,” expla<strong>in</strong>s Ruth, “and<br />

now we have about 180 on the farm.”<br />

George and Ruth found cattle farm<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly difficult and realised they<br />

had no control over its sale price despite<br />

produc<strong>in</strong>g animals that were exactly what<br />

the consumer wanted. This pushed their<br />

move away from beef, and bison farm<strong>in</strong>g<br />

seemed an obvious route to take. “At the<br />

time there was debate on whether red meat<br />

was a healthy option. Bison meat is very<br />

nutritious and is loaded with vitam<strong>in</strong>s and<br />

m<strong>in</strong>erals, but public perception was mixed.<br />

“When we started farm<strong>in</strong>g bison it<br />

was a long learn<strong>in</strong>g process. They are very<br />

different to cattle and the biggest problem<br />

we encountered was they didn’t fall under<br />

the usual farm<strong>in</strong>g regulations. A bison is<br />

a dangerous animal and handl<strong>in</strong>g them must<br />

be done with care. They are quiet and very<br />

wary of people, but you could never make<br />

a pet of one,” says George, add<strong>in</strong>g, “Which<br />

means we never have a dull day!”<br />

The bison are raised on 110 acres of<br />

land at their farm near Nether Broughton <strong>in</strong><br />

Leicestershire. The couple also have a herd<br />

of red deer and produce venison, a meat<br />

also low <strong>in</strong> fat and high <strong>in</strong> prote<strong>in</strong>.<br />

Spr<strong>in</strong>g is the busiest season at the farm,<br />

expla<strong>in</strong>s Ruth, say<strong>in</strong>g “Bison calv<strong>in</strong>g takes<br />

place <strong>in</strong> late May and early June and they<br />

mostly calve on their own. We usually have<br />

very little <strong>in</strong>put, although this year we did<br />

have to help two of the mothers.”<br />

There are many benefits for the farmer,<br />

but it is always a challenge and George<br />

po<strong>in</strong>ts out how the seasons play a huge<br />

role. “There is a sense of achievement<br />

when we do get it right and a sense of<br />

loss when we get it wrong,” he admits. “We<br />

are affected by Government regulations<br />

that can <strong>in</strong>volve tick<strong>in</strong>g boxes rather than<br />

actually understand<strong>in</strong>g how the process<br />

is different from beef farm<strong>in</strong>g.” There<br />

are detailed laws about cattle rather<br />

than <strong>in</strong>dividual bison, but George is<br />

confident the area’s M<strong>EP</strong>s are work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

Brussels on the issue to generate positive<br />

changes for producers like them.<br />

Cuts of bison meat are exactly the same<br />

as beef but they have virtually no fat. “When<br />

cook<strong>in</strong>g bison steaks, rarer is better due to<br />

the low fat content,” expla<strong>in</strong>s Ruth. “Our<br />

burgers and sausages are also all gluten<br />

free and they will only need a drop of oil<br />

<strong>in</strong> the pan to stop them stick<strong>in</strong>g because<br />

they are so lean and tender.”<br />

Both the bison meat and venison are<br />

sold at the farm, local farmers markets<br />

and various shows throughout the year and<br />

can also be bought onl<strong>in</strong>e at bisons.org.<br />

“Demand is high for both meats, but venison<br />

is more well known and, as a gamey meat, is<br />

popular <strong>in</strong> restaurants,” adds Ruth.<br />

The couple now hope more restaurants<br />

will beg<strong>in</strong> to <strong>in</strong>clude bison on their menus.<br />

“Its popularity is grow<strong>in</strong>g due to its lean<br />

quality condition and flavour. It has been<br />

a long process but there are now consumers<br />

start<strong>in</strong>g to look for it,” says George.<br />

Of course a higher quality product<br />

does mean a higher price. However, George<br />

po<strong>in</strong>ts out that due to the level of prote<strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>in</strong> the meat, consumers eat a third less to<br />

satisfy an appetite, therefore the value of<br />

the bison is not what is paid, but is what is<br />

given <strong>in</strong> return.<br />

Both George and Ruth are confident<br />

the restaurant market is just around the<br />

corner and believe the advantages of the<br />

tasty meat will create lots of <strong>in</strong>terest.<br />

“<br />

Bison’s popularity<br />

is grow<strong>in</strong>g due to its<br />

lean quality condition<br />

and flavour. It has<br />

been a long process but<br />

there are now consumers<br />

start<strong>in</strong>g to look for it<br />

”<br />

George Wakel<strong>in</strong>g Owner, Bouverie Lodge<br />

30 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Empathy | Feature<br />

WHY<br />

EMPATHY<br />

MATTERS<br />

It doesn’t take much to make a customer feel valued, a guest feel welcome<br />

and a d<strong>in</strong>er persuaded to return, so why doesn’t it happen more often?<br />

A<br />

conversation last week with<br />

a couple of senior <strong>in</strong>dustry<br />

professionals turned to the<br />

importance of empathy <strong>in</strong> be<strong>in</strong>g able<br />

to provide a great service to customers<br />

– and yet, sadly, how it is often a quality<br />

that is miss<strong>in</strong>g. It led on to a broader<br />

discussion about how the best way of<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g a customer or a colleague is<br />

through not <strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g them at all.<br />

What do we mean? The best sales<br />

technique is not to sell. What is needed is<br />

an understand<strong>in</strong>g of the other person’s<br />

needs or issues. Some will say that this is<br />

down to listen<strong>in</strong>g skills, and that is partly<br />

true, but it is also a desire to hear the issue<br />

and to provide the answer plus one.<br />

There is noth<strong>in</strong>g more powerful than<br />

the unexpected gesture or the value-added<br />

comment to really make a difference. Today,<br />

we are all <strong>in</strong>undated with sales approaches<br />

and receive emails every day ask<strong>in</strong>g if you<br />

have read their previous email, the one that<br />

you had purposefully ignored. The chances<br />

are you press delete almost immediately.<br />

So how does one ga<strong>in</strong> new leads and<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence people? The first question is how<br />

many teach their teams to be empathetic to<br />

their customers? The notion is simple – to<br />

ga<strong>in</strong>, one first has to give. But what do your<br />

teams give that go beyond the expected?<br />

How many believe manag<strong>in</strong>g a transaction<br />

well is good enough? The well-known say<strong>in</strong>g<br />

is, “People will forget what you have said,<br />

people will forget what you did, but people<br />

will never forget how you made them feel.”<br />

So, let’s explore a few questions:<br />

● Why does the relationship between<br />

a customer and a restaurant f<strong>in</strong>ish the<br />

moment the bill is paid? Why do 99%<br />

of restaurants let the customer leave with<br />

no more than a thank you. Simple – it is<br />

a transaction and that transaction is over.<br />

It is bar the fact that the operator wants<br />

the customer to return and to spread the<br />

word. So what does a little gesture cost<br />

to say goodbye with more than words?<br />

● When a customer arrives at a hotel they<br />

often make their decision on the hotel <strong>in</strong><br />

the first five m<strong>in</strong>utes by the way they are<br />

greeted. Most often it is a disappo<strong>in</strong>tment,<br />

but the ones that get it right can create<br />

a special bond with the customer. Surely<br />

noth<strong>in</strong>g is more important than a warm<br />

welcome? If a guest walked <strong>in</strong>to our<br />

offices, we would not simply walk away<br />

after open<strong>in</strong>g the door because we know<br />

it would make them feel uncomfortable<br />

– and yet this so often happens <strong>in</strong> hotels.<br />

However, we know of one hotelier who<br />

meets guests the moment they walk <strong>in</strong>to<br />

the hotel and greets them with the small<br />

gesture of an apple and elderflower dr<strong>in</strong>k<br />

that looks like a glass of champagne. He<br />

also makes sure he welcomes them by<br />

name. Simple, but it has a wow factor.<br />

● How many foodies talk at others as though<br />

they are the greatest authority on food?<br />

Food is central to all our lives today, and<br />

most people have a feel for what they like<br />

and have been educated on diet and good<br />

eat<strong>in</strong>g. Those who engage with humility<br />

and openness will get the best <strong>in</strong>teraction.<br />

Many companies th<strong>in</strong>k they know how<br />

to sell but fail <strong>in</strong> the basics. What <strong>in</strong>fluences<br />

a customer or a client best is by listen<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

what they want, hav<strong>in</strong>g the empathy to<br />

understand and deliver<strong>in</strong>g what they want.<br />

People are not stupid. They know<br />

operations are not easy and that problems<br />

occur. People know mistakes happen, but<br />

what they really want is to be served by<br />

people that care. If they feel that, they will<br />

forgive 90% of mistakes. They want to be<br />

cared about, to be important. Yes it is<br />

obvious, but if it is, one has to ask:<br />

● Why don’t companies coach <strong>in</strong> empathy?<br />

● Why doesn’t the restaurant do someth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

extra to impress the customer leav<strong>in</strong>g?<br />

● Why don’t receptionists greet by name, or<br />

do someth<strong>in</strong>g to make a welcome special?<br />

If it is because of the cost or it is<br />

too hard, well – there lies the answer.<br />

Great hospitality is about those that<br />

go the extra mile, and that is today’s<br />

expectation – and competitive edge.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 31


Sodexo | Management<br />

SUCCESS<br />

LIES<br />

IN THE<br />

MI FLOW<br />

The British sport<strong>in</strong>g summer is an important social fixture,<br />

and for those cater<strong>in</strong>g at events it is about the culm<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

of ten months of plann<strong>in</strong>g and an <strong>in</strong>tense six-week operation.<br />

<strong>EP</strong> met Sodexo’s Events Director Alex Beaumont at Henley<br />

Royal Regatta to discuss how he prepares for this period<br />

It is <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g that one of the least<br />

understood and, arguably, often<br />

forgotten areas of real skill is the<br />

management of great events dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the summer season. The British sport<strong>in</strong>g<br />

summer is like no other – it offers the<br />

greatest of occasions and spectacles and<br />

asks for high skill and care from those<br />

that operate at such events.<br />

Sport events have become an<br />

<strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly important part of the social<br />

calendar. They <strong>in</strong>clude the full spectrum<br />

of <strong>in</strong>dividual and multi-sport events. They<br />

have the ability to attract tourist visitors,<br />

generate media coverage and raise <strong>in</strong>come,<br />

and this has placed them not only at the<br />

forefront of most Government event<br />

strategies and dest<strong>in</strong>ation market<strong>in</strong>g<br />

programmes, but also high on the agenda<br />

of sports govern<strong>in</strong>g bodies.<br />

In days gone by, major events were<br />

frequented by those who had a genu<strong>in</strong>e love<br />

for the sport on show. Today, corporate<br />

enterta<strong>in</strong>ment plays a central role to the<br />

success and f<strong>in</strong>ancial feasibility of events,<br />

so the sports lover is jo<strong>in</strong>ed by others who<br />

are present to simply enjoy the pleasures<br />

of hospitality and the environment.<br />

Therefore, it is natural that the bar<br />

rises each year, as do the demands and<br />

expectations of what will be delivered.<br />

At the same time there has been an<br />

<strong>in</strong>crease of guests with healthy eat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

requirements, from gluten-free options<br />

to a broad range of speciality teas to<br />

healthy eat<strong>in</strong>g options. So how does one<br />

organise the cater<strong>in</strong>g for a major sport<strong>in</strong>g<br />

event that delivers on all fronts?<br />

Between May and August, the British<br />

summer boasts the f<strong>in</strong>est array of sport<strong>in</strong>g<br />

high society events, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g cricket at<br />

Lord’s, Royal Ascot, Henley Royal Regatta<br />

and Henley Festival, the FA Cup F<strong>in</strong>al,<br />

Wimbledon, rac<strong>in</strong>g at Epsom Downs, the<br />

British Grand Prix, polo events and The<br />

Open golf championship. Each event<br />

expects the provision of f<strong>in</strong>e d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g,<br />

afternoon tea and champagne receptions<br />

plus a broad range of food retail outlets<br />

serv<strong>in</strong>g many different food and dr<strong>in</strong>k<br />

offer<strong>in</strong>gs – both healthy and comfort<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

It is a little known fact, but half of all<br />

the year’s Pimms consumption takes place<br />

dur<strong>in</strong>g Henley, which does make quite<br />

a statement of its own. It can be argued<br />

that at the Henley Royal Regatta the row<strong>in</strong>g<br />

is almost secondary to the hospitality, which<br />

naturally becomes the central focus of the<br />

event. The numbers attend<strong>in</strong>g are large<br />

and <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g, as are the demands. So how<br />

do the operators prepare for the susta<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

challenge of deliver<strong>in</strong>g such quality over<br />

such a short period of time?<br />

“The answer lies <strong>in</strong> the plann<strong>in</strong>g, and<br />

we do have ten months to prepare for<br />

these events,” expla<strong>in</strong>s Sodexo’s Alex<br />

Beaumont as we meet at Henley Royal<br />

Regatta. “We just need to ensure that we<br />

cover every possible detail and eventuality.<br />

It is an <strong>in</strong>tense period and anyth<strong>in</strong>g can<br />

happen, so the more we prepare, the more<br />

likely we will be successful. What we<br />

do need is good and accurate management<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation (MI) flow from those at the<br />

venues, and if this is good enough then it<br />

32 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Sodexo | Management<br />

Henley Royal Regatta<br />

is just one of many<br />

sport<strong>in</strong>g events that are<br />

an important part of the<br />

British social scene, and<br />

accurate management<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation flow is<br />

crucial to ensure guests<br />

leave at the end of the<br />

day with all their<br />

expectations met<br />

“<br />

It is an <strong>in</strong>tense period and anyth<strong>in</strong>g can happen, so<br />

the more we prepare, the more likely we will be successful.<br />

What we do need is good and accurate management<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation (MI) flow from those at the venues<br />

”<br />

Alex Beaumont Events Director, Sodexo<br />

Sodexo<br />

really does lie <strong>in</strong> our own hands. We have<br />

a strong, experienced team well versed <strong>in</strong><br />

deliver<strong>in</strong>g at these events, so really the<br />

answer lies <strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>formation provided.”<br />

Alex is an operator’s operator. He is<br />

very engag<strong>in</strong>g and open as he talks, but<br />

he always has an eye on what is go<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on around him, from the waiter serv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

us tea to the team who are manag<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

marquee. He is clearly a very calm and<br />

experienced character, someone who<br />

would rather not seek the limelight but<br />

<strong>in</strong>stead would rather ensure that guests<br />

leave the event with their expectations met.<br />

“One can break down what is needed<br />

for each event <strong>in</strong>to sections – the logistics<br />

and venue preparation, the cater<strong>in</strong>g offer,<br />

the quality of staff and tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, the guest<br />

welcome and risk management,” he reveals.<br />

“People often assume that the real skill<br />

lies at the event itself but actually if we<br />

have prepared well enough <strong>in</strong> advance it<br />

should be relatively straightforward. The<br />

real skill lies <strong>in</strong> the preparation.<br />

“One of the key unknowns for us is<br />

that the English summer can be rather<br />

unpredictable and so we need to prepare<br />

and plan for both ra<strong>in</strong> and sun. The sport<br />

itself can <strong>in</strong>fluence how people behave and<br />

can require thoughtful management at<br />

times as, on occasion, people do enjoy the<br />

hospitality provided maybe too much and<br />

we need to be ready for the effects that can<br />

have,” he says with a smile. “One does need<br />

to th<strong>in</strong>k with care at the end of the day as<br />

guests have enjoyed maybe six hours or<br />

more of alcohol and food. It can see the<br />

emotions of the moment come out and it<br />

is just another area we prepare for.”<br />

The expectation at the events seems to<br />

<strong>in</strong>crease year on year and it is <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that there are only a handful of proven<br />

operators that can successfully deliver at<br />

such occasions. “These events are fabulous<br />

<strong>in</strong> their own right. Yes, expectations are<br />

high and rightly so because the events do<br />

attract the best of both <strong>in</strong>ternational and<br />

UK clients. The events themselves <strong>in</strong>vest<br />

a huge amount of time and money <strong>in</strong>to<br />

ensur<strong>in</strong>g success, so we have to get it right.<br />

There are not many that possess the broad<br />

range of skills to be able to deliver, but as<br />

a company we have been do<strong>in</strong>g this for<br />

many years and we have a knowledge bank<br />

and a team that can handle almost any<br />

situation thrown our way. It is the value<br />

of experience and these events need<br />

exactly that – experienced management.”<br />

If the key to success lies <strong>in</strong> plann<strong>in</strong>g, is<br />

it hard to keep up the <strong>in</strong>tensity of this dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the w<strong>in</strong>ter months? “It is like all th<strong>in</strong>gs,”<br />

replies Alex. “Once you have the experience<br />

to know what is required and what can<br />

happen, then one knows how to manage the<br />

year. It is a bit like prepar<strong>in</strong>g for a marathon<br />

– if you don’t do the tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the months<br />

lead<strong>in</strong>g up to the race, then it is unlikely it<br />

will go well. It’s no different for us. It’s about<br />

discipl<strong>in</strong>e and we know what we need to do<br />

to deliver. The challenge lies <strong>in</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g sure<br />

that there is a good communication flow<br />

with the sales teams and that the MI flow is<br />

reach<strong>in</strong>g us. If that is all good, then we have<br />

the skills and team to deliver.”<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 33


Pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g press | Feature<br />

PRINTING PRESS<br />

The pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g press is yet to<br />

run dry but has the m<strong>in</strong>d?<br />

It has been argued that we are read<strong>in</strong>g<br />

less and those even<strong>in</strong>gs of sitt<strong>in</strong>g with<br />

a good book are disappear<strong>in</strong>g. Books<br />

sales <strong>in</strong>creased <strong>in</strong> 2014, so this suggests<br />

there isn’t a decl<strong>in</strong>e but a change <strong>in</strong> read<strong>in</strong>g<br />

habits. Has technology transformed the<br />

book from page to screen? An <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g<br />

debate and it leads on to whether a change<br />

<strong>in</strong> concentration levels has actually altered<br />

how people read. Are some reach<strong>in</strong>g high<br />

stress levels at a younger age and is this<br />

caus<strong>in</strong>g the possible decl<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> read<strong>in</strong>g?<br />

If a book is powerful, it is hard to put<br />

down – one more page, one more chapter.<br />

One area to look at regard<strong>in</strong>g the suggested<br />

decl<strong>in</strong>e <strong>in</strong> read<strong>in</strong>g, is which books are be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

published. Recently, Harper Lee’s Go Set<br />

a Watchman caused a storm <strong>in</strong> the literary<br />

world. Pre-release hype and a very famous<br />

author led the book to break sales records.<br />

It maybe a unique example, but it suggests<br />

books are still able to engage. So perhaps<br />

it is the m<strong>in</strong>d that is filled with too much<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation? Engag<strong>in</strong>g content is received<br />

every day via email and, come the even<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

we simply don’t want to take any more <strong>in</strong>.<br />

Content overload<br />

Once the day is done and the commute<br />

home is f<strong>in</strong>ished it can be difficult to digest<br />

stimulat<strong>in</strong>g content and give it enough<br />

attention. The work<strong>in</strong>g day varies <strong>in</strong> length<br />

and can end past midnight. The modern day<br />

is <strong>in</strong>undated with <strong>in</strong>formation – reports,<br />

<strong>in</strong>dustry papers, 100-plus emails, tweets and<br />

telephone calls. It’s possible there is simply<br />

no time or energy to enjoy a few pages.<br />

An example of how day-to-day life is<br />

affect<strong>in</strong>g how we read is the rise of novellas.<br />

These works of fiction are between 20,000<br />

and 40,000 words <strong>in</strong> length – longer than a<br />

short story but less than a novel. Their<br />

popularity does seem to <strong>in</strong>dicate people<br />

choose to read fewer words than before.<br />

A change <strong>in</strong> how we read and the<br />

possible fatigue of the m<strong>in</strong>d cannot be<br />

discussed without mention<strong>in</strong>g television<br />

and its escapism. It is considered a way to<br />

relax the m<strong>in</strong>d and can be accessed on a<br />

phone, tablet and computer. Many younger<br />

generations are able to multitask and watch<br />

television while access<strong>in</strong>g a mobile – a lot<br />

harder to repeat when read<strong>in</strong>g a book.<br />

Books are available on many electronic<br />

devices designed to improve the read<strong>in</strong>g<br />

“<br />

Perhaps it is the m<strong>in</strong>d that is filled with too<br />

much <strong>in</strong>formation? Engag<strong>in</strong>g content is received<br />

every day via email and, come the even<strong>in</strong>g, we<br />

simply don’t want to take any more <strong>in</strong><br />

”<br />

experience, but whether this has changed<br />

read<strong>in</strong>g habits is debatable. It is <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that, when on holiday, people do tend to buy<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ted books. This suggests that work is<br />

gett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the way and people do not f<strong>in</strong>d the<br />

time to relax and enjoy a good read until<br />

next to the pool.<br />

Are we more dra<strong>in</strong>ed?<br />

Some people do seem to reach high stress<br />

levels at a younger age. It depends on the<br />

person and what they do for a liv<strong>in</strong>g, but<br />

a number of factors can have an effect.<br />

When look<strong>in</strong>g at a level deeper, it is possible<br />

that those who are unhappy <strong>in</strong> their job may<br />

beg<strong>in</strong> to feel dra<strong>in</strong>ed. They may have wanted<br />

to change profession but never got round to<br />

start<strong>in</strong>g aga<strong>in</strong>. If someone isn’t enjoy<strong>in</strong>g<br />

their job, they can get a feel<strong>in</strong>g of regret<br />

and this can cause a loss <strong>in</strong> concentration.<br />

Even the most ambitious go-getter can<br />

eventually feel frustrated and unhappy.<br />

Books are still be<strong>in</strong>g pr<strong>in</strong>ted but people<br />

are chang<strong>in</strong>g the way they access them, and<br />

to stimulate curiosity some books do need<br />

a lot of promotion. Some people are los<strong>in</strong>g<br />

concentration due to distractions and as a<br />

result are read<strong>in</strong>g less. Others are receiv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

mounta<strong>in</strong>s of <strong>in</strong>formation every day, which<br />

they struggle to digest. To th<strong>in</strong>k clearly we<br />

need to learn to relax and enjoy th<strong>in</strong>gs, so<br />

take some time out and pick up a book.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 35


Joelson Wilson | Op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

Heads up!<br />

F<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g the right premises for your bus<strong>in</strong>ess is important<br />

and you need to get it on terms that suit you, so how do<br />

you do that and what are the pitfalls to watch for?<br />

Identify<strong>in</strong>g some suitable commercial<br />

premises for your bus<strong>in</strong>ess is one of<br />

your first jobs. Once suitable premises<br />

have been found, the next stage is to agree<br />

the commercial terms on which your<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess will occupy those premises.<br />

These are known as Heads of Terms<br />

or HOTS. They are not <strong>in</strong> themselves<br />

legally b<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g but, once agreed, a party<br />

wish<strong>in</strong>g to depart from the HOTS will<br />

be on the back foot and any attempt to<br />

renegotiate the agreed terms is likely<br />

be met with the response, “If this po<strong>in</strong>t<br />

was so important to you, it should have<br />

been raised at the HOTS stage!”<br />

It is therefore vital that the HOTS<br />

are as comprehensive as possible and<br />

carefully negotiated. While you can do<br />

this yourself, it usually pays to <strong>in</strong>struct<br />

a professional lett<strong>in</strong>g surveyor to<br />

negotiate on your behalf.<br />

A good surveyor will know the<br />

prevail<strong>in</strong>g market and is likely to be<br />

taken more seriously by the landlord or,<br />

where you are buy<strong>in</strong>g an exist<strong>in</strong>g lease, the<br />

seller. As a result, they should be able to<br />

fight on your behalf and negotiate a better<br />

deal than if you negotiated yourself.<br />

Traditionally, the client <strong>in</strong>structs a<br />

solicitor only after the HOTS have been<br />

agreed by all parties and their surveyors.<br />

At that po<strong>in</strong>t, their job is to document<br />

those agreed commercial terms <strong>in</strong> legally<br />

b<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g agreements.<br />

However, if possible you should ask<br />

your solicitor to review and comment on<br />

the draft HOTS before they are f<strong>in</strong>alised.<br />

An experienced solicitor with a commercial<br />

approach should spot potential issues and<br />

suggest appropriate amendments.<br />

So, what does a typical set of HOTS<br />

look like and what sort of useful <strong>in</strong>put<br />

can a solicitor give their tenant client?<br />

In the box on the next page is a standard<br />

draft HOTS for a new lease of retail<br />

premises that we would expect to receive<br />

and below, by reference to the paragraph<br />

numbers <strong>in</strong> the specimen HOTS <strong>in</strong> the box,<br />

are a number of key issues that a solicitor<br />

may identify and proposals he may make.<br />

2 The HOTS should <strong>in</strong>clude a plan on<br />

which the boundary of the premises is<br />

clearly shown. If this excludes any external<br />

areas on which the tenant <strong>in</strong>tends to place<br />

covers, an express right to use this area will<br />

be required <strong>in</strong> the lease and a licence from<br />

the local authority is likely to be required.<br />

This needs to be discussed at an early stage<br />

with the local authority and it may be<br />

necessary to advise the tenant to enter <strong>in</strong>to<br />

a conditional agreement to take the lease<br />

only after it has obta<strong>in</strong>ed a suitable licence.<br />

3 Is the new lease to be <strong>in</strong>side or<br />

outside the Landlord and Tenant<br />

Act 1954? This should be expressly<br />

confirmed <strong>in</strong> the HOTS. If it is <strong>in</strong>side,<br />

the tenant will have a statutory right to<br />

renew the lease when the contractual term<br />

ends. If it is outside the Act, the tenant<br />

will not enjoy that right. It is therefore<br />

of real value to a tenant to have a lease<br />

<strong>in</strong>side the Act if possible.<br />

5 A break clause is a valuable right<br />

for a tenant, giv<strong>in</strong>g them comfort<br />

that they have an option to exit<br />

from their obligations <strong>in</strong> the lease<br />

at pre-agreed date. The value of a tenant<br />

break is usually reflected <strong>in</strong> an <strong>in</strong>creased<br />

rent. It is therefore vital that the tenant<br />

has certa<strong>in</strong>ty that the break can be<br />

exercised. Any conditions, such as no<br />

rent arrears or breaches of the lease,<br />

should be deleted from the HOTS. The<br />

ability to break should be unconditional.<br />

6 Are the premises <strong>in</strong> prist<strong>in</strong>e<br />

condition? If there are exist<strong>in</strong>g areas<br />

of disrepair, they should ideally be<br />

identified at the outset and evidenced <strong>in</strong> a<br />

photographic Schedule of Condition. This<br />

would then be attached to the lease and the<br />

tenant’s obligation <strong>in</strong> the lease to repair<br />

would be qualified to keep<strong>in</strong>g the premises<br />

<strong>in</strong> no worse condition than at the start of<br />

the lease, as evidenced by the Schedule.<br />

Without this qualification, the tenant could<br />

be required to put the premises <strong>in</strong>to repair.<br />

7 It is better to deal with a number of<br />

typically contentious alienation po<strong>in</strong>ts<br />

<strong>in</strong> the HOTS. These <strong>in</strong>clude whether, on<br />

an assignment (sale) of the lease, the<br />

tenant is required to give a guarantee to the<br />

landlord that the buyer will comply with the<br />

lease. If at all possible, the landlord’s right to<br />

call for such a guarantee should be qualified<br />

and only required where reasonable. If, for<br />

example, the buyer is f<strong>in</strong>ancially stronger<br />

than the tenant, it may not be appropriate<br />

for the landlord to <strong>in</strong>sist on the tenant<br />

provid<strong>in</strong>g a guarantee. On underlett<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

it should be made clear that the tenant can<br />

sublet at the then prevail<strong>in</strong>g market rent as<br />

opposed to the higher of the pass<strong>in</strong>g rent <strong>in</strong><br />

the lease and the open market rent, which<br />

would effectively prevent the tenant from<br />

Joelson Wilson<br />

36 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Joelson Wilson | Op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

Lewis Craig<br />

sublett<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a recessionary market at the<br />

very time it is likely to want to sublet.<br />

12 When is the rent deposit repayable<br />

to the tenant? This should be set out<br />

<strong>in</strong> the HOTS. Ideally, the tenant should<br />

ensure that there are pre-agreed triggers<br />

for gett<strong>in</strong>g their deposit back. At the very<br />

least, it should be on the date the tenant<br />

sells the lease rather than at the end<br />

of the lease. Additionally, it may be<br />

possible to agree a date for its return<br />

(for example, on an anniversary of the<br />

lease start date, provided there have<br />

been no breaches of the lease by the<br />

tenant before then) or that it will be<br />

returned if a specified f<strong>in</strong>ancial test<br />

has been met (for example, the tenant<br />

provid<strong>in</strong>g evidence that they have<br />

achieved profit exceed<strong>in</strong>g the rent<br />

by an agreed multiple for an agreed<br />

number of consecutive years). Ultimately,<br />

if the tenant can show that they are<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ancially sound, there is less justification<br />

for the landlord to reta<strong>in</strong> a rent deposit.<br />

13 In a buoyant rental market (as now,<br />

especially <strong>in</strong> London), the landlord<br />

holds the balance of negotiat<strong>in</strong>g power<br />

and can, to an extent, dictate its terms.<br />

This may result <strong>in</strong> hold<strong>in</strong>g deposits hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to be paid by a prospective tenant just to<br />

secure the deal and take it off market. If<br />

possible, the HOTS should <strong>in</strong>clude grounds<br />

on which the prospective tenant should get<br />

this back. For example, if their solicitor’s<br />

due diligence reveals anyth<strong>in</strong>g adverse that<br />

would justify a reasonable tenant decid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

not to proceed, the hold<strong>in</strong>g deposit should<br />

be returned. They should also try to get an<br />

exclusivity agreement from the landlord, so<br />

there is additional comfort that they will not<br />

consider other offers for an agreed period.<br />

There may be other po<strong>in</strong>ts not raised <strong>in</strong><br />

the draft HOTS that the tenant’s solicitor,<br />

know<strong>in</strong>g his client’s bus<strong>in</strong>ess, recognises<br />

HEADS OF TERMS FOR A NEW LEASE OF PREMISES ON<br />

THE GROUND FLOOR AT 5 DECENT BUILDINGS, LONDON<br />

1 Parties: Landlord: X Limited, Tenant: Y Limited, Guarantor: Mr Z.<br />

2 The Premises: The ground floor retail unit at the Build<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

3 The Term: 5 years from Lease completion.<br />

4 Rent: £75,000 per annum, payable quarterly <strong>in</strong> advance.<br />

5 Break Clause: Tenant only after 3 years on not less than 6 months’ notice and<br />

subject to the Tenant hav<strong>in</strong>g paid all rents, there be<strong>in</strong>g no breach of the Lease and<br />

the Tenant giv<strong>in</strong>g back the Premises with vacant possession.<br />

6 Repair: Full repair<strong>in</strong>g obligation.<br />

7 Alienation: Assignment and underlett<strong>in</strong>g of whole permitted with Landlord<br />

consent, not to be unreasonably withheld.<br />

8 Alterations: Structural alterations prohibited. Non-structural alterations permitted<br />

with Landlord consent, not to be unreasonably withheld.<br />

9 Permitted Use: As a retail unit with<strong>in</strong> Use Class A1 and/or A3.<br />

10 Insurance: Landlord <strong>in</strong>sures the Build<strong>in</strong>g. The Tenant pays a fair proportion of<br />

the cost of the premium.<br />

11 Service Charge: The Landlord will provide usual services at the Build<strong>in</strong>g. The<br />

Tenant pays a fair proportion of the cost of those services.<br />

12 Rent Deposit: £18,750.00 payable on completion of the Lease.<br />

13 Miscellaneous: Hold<strong>in</strong>g Deposit: a non-refundable hold<strong>in</strong>g deposit of £5,000 is<br />

payable to the Landlord’s solicitor on acceptance of these HOTS, to be credited<br />

towards the Rent Deposit on completion.<br />

“<br />

Wherever possible,<br />

a solicitor’s comments<br />

should be sought as this<br />

can add real value to a<br />

tenant, and by address<strong>in</strong>g<br />

issues at the outset, this<br />

should enable the party’s<br />

solicitors to complete ‘the<br />

legals’ more speedily<br />

”<br />

Theo Benedyk<br />

Head of Agency, Lewis Craig<br />

should be <strong>in</strong>corporated. This can <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

a condition that there is a suitable alcohol<br />

licence <strong>in</strong> place. The HOTS should also<br />

state that the transaction is subject to the<br />

tenant obta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g an acceptable survey.<br />

It is not always possible or appropriate<br />

to <strong>in</strong>volve the solicitor before HOTS are<br />

f<strong>in</strong>alised. However, wherever possible,<br />

solicitor’s comments should be sought as<br />

this can add real value to a tenant, and by<br />

address<strong>in</strong>g issues at the outset, this should<br />

ultimately enable the party’s solicitors to<br />

complete ‘the legals’ more speedily.<br />

Philip Otvos (left)<br />

Head of Property at Joelson Wilson LLP<br />

Theo Benedyk (above)<br />

Head of Agency at Lewis Craig,<br />

Retail & Restaurant Property Specialists<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 37


Lambeth Palace | Feature<br />

HISTOR IC<br />

BUILDING,<br />

NEW<br />

VENUE<br />

Lambeth Palace is a place that most know about but have<br />

never been <strong>in</strong>side. It has n<strong>in</strong>e acres of manicured gardens<br />

and several unique event spaces <strong>in</strong> its location on the south<br />

bank of the River Thames. Now, after nearly 800 years, the<br />

Palace is open<strong>in</strong>g its doors for external events. Ben Butler<br />

met Louise Donovan, Head of Events, to f<strong>in</strong>d out more<br />

With its walled garden featur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

flower borders, wildflower<br />

patches, a pond and tree sw<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> the middle of a large lawn, you would<br />

never know you are <strong>in</strong> London – the only<br />

clue is the sight and sound of Big Ben just<br />

across the river. Lambeth Palace really does<br />

feel like an oasis of calm <strong>in</strong> the capital.<br />

It was built as the Archbishop of<br />

Canterbury’s London residence and for<br />

centuries it has witnessed and hosted plenty<br />

of <strong>in</strong>trigu<strong>in</strong>g and significant historical<br />

moments – Archbishop Cranmer produced<br />

the basis of the 1662 Book of Common<br />

Prayer <strong>in</strong> Lambeth Palace, which set the<br />

pattern of Anglican worship. The prestigious<br />

nature of the Palace means it has been<br />

a centre of hospitality for hundreds of<br />

years and Louise Donovan, Head of Events,<br />

hopes it will cont<strong>in</strong>ue to be so.<br />

With Lambeth Palace host<strong>in</strong>g 175<br />

events last year, the stunn<strong>in</strong>g venue is<br />

gradually becom<strong>in</strong>g a popular location. “In<br />

l<strong>in</strong>e with the Archbishop’s wishes, we want<br />

to <strong>in</strong>crease the volume of events <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

open up the Palace more to the public and<br />

use revenue generated to go towards the<br />

upkeep of the build<strong>in</strong>g,” Louise expla<strong>in</strong>s.<br />

The Palace has a number of spaces for<br />

hold<strong>in</strong>g events, and the garden is perfect<br />

for summer activities and receptions.<br />

The newest room is the Atrium, opened<br />

<strong>in</strong> 2000 with lottery fund<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

located next to the Crypt,<br />

allow<strong>in</strong>g guests to view<br />

38 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Lambeth Palace | Feature<br />

the oldest part of the Palace. The space<br />

was designed to sit sympathetically with<strong>in</strong><br />

its 13th and 19th century surround<strong>in</strong>gs and<br />

br<strong>in</strong>gs together the modern and historic<br />

parts of the build<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The Crypt is the oldest and the<br />

least-restored part of Lambeth Palace and<br />

dates back to 1199. It was orig<strong>in</strong>ally used for<br />

storage and was often flooded before the<br />

construction of the embankment. Dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the Second World War it was used as a<br />

bomb shelter and a respite for those whose<br />

homes had been damaged or destroyed.<br />

Above the Crypt, the Chapel has been<br />

used by the Archbishops<br />

of Canterbury s<strong>in</strong>ce the<br />

early 13th century.<br />

The Chapel has<br />

changed many<br />

Lambeth Palace has<br />

been the centre of<br />

hospitality for hundreds<br />

of years and boasts an<br />

impressive array of event<br />

locations, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

below left, the State<br />

Draw<strong>in</strong>g Room, which<br />

has been used by the<br />

Archbishop to greet<br />

special guests, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

The Queen and the Pope<br />

“<br />

The prestigious<br />

nature of the<br />

Palace means it<br />

has been a centre<br />

of hospitality for<br />

hundreds of years<br />

and I hope it<br />

will cont<strong>in</strong>ue<br />

to be so<br />

”<br />

Louise Donovan Head of<br />

Events, Lambeth Palace<br />

times over the years, especially after it was<br />

hit dur<strong>in</strong>g the Blitz, but rema<strong>in</strong>s a beautiful<br />

sett<strong>in</strong>g for a choir or classical concert.<br />

The Guard Room, the State Room<br />

and the Great Hall<br />

For guests who want a larger space the<br />

Palace offers three other options. The<br />

Guard Room is a stunn<strong>in</strong>g hall that was<br />

once the Great Chamber and armoury<br />

for when the Archbishops of Canterbury<br />

boasted their own private troops dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the medieval period.<br />

Today, the Guard Room serves as<br />

a flexible function room with a capacity<br />

to host a sit-down d<strong>in</strong>ner for 80 or a<br />

stand<strong>in</strong>g reception for 150. Its arch-braced<br />

roof dates back to the 14th century and<br />

Louise says it never fails to awe guests.<br />

Her own favourite<br />

event space is the<br />

State Draw<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Room, which has<br />

spectacular views<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 39


Lambeth Palace | Feature<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

across the gardens. “It’s a special place, with<br />

Waterford Crystal chandeliers and<br />

is used for when the<br />

Archbishop welcomes<br />

special guests, which<br />

175<br />

has recently <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

The Queen and the<br />

Pope,” she expla<strong>in</strong>s.<br />

When numbers<br />

exceed 80, the<br />

The number of events<br />

adjacent Blue D<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

hosted at Lambeth Palace<br />

Room, which has<br />

last year, with plans for<br />

ch<strong>in</strong>a commissioned<br />

even more this year<br />

for Queen Victoria when<br />

she visited <strong>in</strong> 1897, can be<br />

used as an extension or as<br />

a separate room for enterta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The Great Hall has been the key sett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

for big celebrations for centuries and was<br />

a favoured venue for Henry VIII’s banquets.<br />

The hall, which can hold 200 for a stand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

reception and 150 for a sit-down d<strong>in</strong>ner, is<br />

undergo<strong>in</strong>g refurbishment to repair the roof<br />

and the underfloor heat<strong>in</strong>g, restor<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

magnificent build<strong>in</strong>g to its former glory.<br />

The n<strong>in</strong>e-acre grounds are perfect for<br />

team-build<strong>in</strong>g exercises or receptions. The<br />

gardens were orig<strong>in</strong>ally twice the size, but <strong>in</strong><br />

1901 half was generously given away to the<br />

“<br />

We want to <strong>in</strong>crease awareness of Lambeth Palace<br />

as a dest<strong>in</strong>ation for events where everyth<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded. Our strength is flexibility, as we can<br />

offer rooms of all sizes, and our unique<br />

feature is the impressive garden<br />

”<br />

public by Archbishop<br />

Temple to establish<br />

Archbishop’s Park.<br />

Louise expla<strong>in</strong>s that the<br />

Palace has the oldest cultivated<br />

garden <strong>in</strong> central London, and the<br />

second largest, just beh<strong>in</strong>d Buck<strong>in</strong>gham<br />

Palace. It can host a 190-stand<strong>in</strong>g marquee<br />

as a wet weather option with a hardwood<br />

floor and clear panel sides.<br />

Louise is passionate about the Palace<br />

and is very excited about its future. “We now<br />

partner with cater<strong>in</strong>g company Food Show,<br />

which provides creative menus for events,<br />

and we are embark<strong>in</strong>g on several social<br />

media channels to spread the word about<br />

the Palace,” she expla<strong>in</strong>s. “We want to<br />

<strong>in</strong>crease awareness of Lambeth Palace as<br />

a dest<strong>in</strong>ation for events where everyth<strong>in</strong>g is<br />

<strong>in</strong>cluded. Our strength is flexibility, as we<br />

can offer rooms of all sizes, and our unique<br />

feature is the impressive garden.”<br />

Louise is clearly embrac<strong>in</strong>g her role,<br />

which she started <strong>in</strong> December 2014.<br />

“The newly created position is absolutely<br />

fantastic and while challeng<strong>in</strong>g at times, it<br />

is also hugely reward<strong>in</strong>g. We already had<br />

a strong foundation of hospitality that we<br />

can now use to further develop and expand<br />

the events side of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess.”<br />

Despite its central location, Lambeth<br />

Palace feels tucked away and is the perfect<br />

venue for functions of all sizes. With its<br />

prime position and fasc<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g history,<br />

the Palace now aims to cont<strong>in</strong>ue its<br />

legacy of 800 years of hospitality.<br />

40 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Shannon College | Management<br />

JOINING FORCES<br />

Shannon College of Hotel Management is<br />

a renowned <strong>in</strong>stitution with a 100 per cent<br />

employment rate for graduates. Already <strong>in</strong><br />

a strong position, the announcement that it<br />

was merg<strong>in</strong>g with NUI Galway came as a<br />

surprise to many. Arlene McCaffrey f<strong>in</strong>ds out<br />

from college Director Phillip Smyth how this<br />

merger will improve the college’s stand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Shannon College<br />

Ireland’s only dedicated school of hotel<br />

management, Shannon College was<br />

first founded <strong>in</strong> 1951 by Dr Brendan<br />

O’Regan. S<strong>in</strong>ce its <strong>in</strong>ception, the college<br />

has grown to become an <strong>in</strong>ternationally<br />

recognised centre of excellence for hotel<br />

management tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and boasts an<br />

unparalleled 100 per cent employment<br />

record for students upon graduation.<br />

NUI Galway, meanwhile, was founded<br />

<strong>in</strong> 1845 and with more than 17,000 students<br />

from 92 countries and 2,400 employees,<br />

is a significantly larger operation. Ranked<br />

among the top two per cent of universities<br />

<strong>in</strong> the world with a dist<strong>in</strong>guished reputation<br />

for teach<strong>in</strong>g excellence, the <strong>in</strong>stitution has<br />

also earned national and <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

recognition as a research-led university.<br />

Enthusiastic about the <strong>in</strong>corporation,<br />

college Director Phillip Smyth extols the<br />

virtues of the plans and the improvement<br />

the changes will have for everyone. “It will<br />

enhance the learn<strong>in</strong>g experience for our<br />

students, as they will have access to services<br />

and resources we simply weren’t able to<br />

offer. It will also give lecturers and faculty<br />

a broader platform to expand the range of<br />

programmes on offer and improve research<br />

capabilities, mean<strong>in</strong>g we can improve access<br />

and exposure <strong>in</strong> new overseas markets.”<br />

It’s a bold decision for both <strong>in</strong>stitutions,<br />

but it’s hoped the amalgamation will help to<br />

place Shannon College <strong>in</strong> the ma<strong>in</strong>stream<br />

university system <strong>in</strong> Ireland while<br />

strengthen<strong>in</strong>g its <strong>in</strong>ternational stand<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Shannon College degrees are awarded<br />

by the National University of Ireland (NUI),<br />

so the amalgamation is a natural fit. Hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

offered a jo<strong>in</strong>t Bachelor of Commerce s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

1991, which gives students the opportunity<br />

to study hotel management at Shannon for<br />

three years before transferr<strong>in</strong>g to NUI<br />

Galway for a f<strong>in</strong>al year study<strong>in</strong>g commerce,<br />

the <strong>in</strong>corporation does make a lot of sense.<br />

Work<strong>in</strong>g with more than 100 hotels <strong>in</strong><br />

16 countries, the Shannon College already<br />

offers a highly regarded course with<br />

practical, hands-on tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g comb<strong>in</strong>ed with<br />

theoretical and professional teach<strong>in</strong>g. With<br />

450 enrolled at any one time, the student<br />

make-up is almost a 50/50 split between<br />

Irish and <strong>in</strong>ternational students. So, is the<br />

merger necessary? “The amalgamation will<br />

strengthen ties between Shannon, NUI<br />

Galway, future students and the Shannon<br />

alumni, which has been very positive about<br />

the move,” says Phillip. “We can’t stand<br />

still. We have to cont<strong>in</strong>ually look for ways<br />

to grow, and align<strong>in</strong>g ourselves with NUI<br />

Galway is a key part of that.”<br />

What will rema<strong>in</strong> the same?<br />

The name Shannon College of Hotel<br />

Management will be reta<strong>in</strong>ed, as will the<br />

campus location. Two Level 8 degrees <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational hotel management will still be<br />

offered with the programme curriculum,<br />

structure and placements unchanged. The<br />

professional ethos central to the success of<br />

students and graduates will also rema<strong>in</strong>.<br />

What will change?<br />

Shannon College of Hotel Management is<br />

now part of the College of Bus<strong>in</strong>ess, Law<br />

and Public Policy, and as such is now fully<br />

<strong>in</strong>corporated and wholly owned by NUI<br />

Galway. Academic and adm<strong>in</strong>istrative<br />

systems will be aligned across the two<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitutions and future degrees awarded by<br />

NUI Galway. Those enroll<strong>in</strong>g at Shannon<br />

will be registered as students of NUI<br />

Galway, with access to services that could<br />

only be provided by a large university, so<br />

enhanc<strong>in</strong>g the student experience.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 41


Cookbooth | Entrepreneurs<br />

THE FUTURE OF<br />

RECIPE SHARING<br />

In a world where food is one of the most popular forms of enterta<strong>in</strong>ment, trendy new<br />

restaurants enjoy queues down the street and chefs are k<strong>in</strong>gs, an app that allows them<br />

to share their masterpieces with fans and colleagues was always go<strong>in</strong>g to be a success<br />

Cookbooth is an app that aims<br />

to create a global community<br />

of chefs and foodies, offer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the opportunity to learn about cook<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and eat<strong>in</strong>g better through social recipe<br />

management. The app works through<br />

users, either professional chefs or home<br />

cooks, who upload their recipes visually,<br />

rather than just lists of <strong>in</strong>structions. Each<br />

stage is photographed and displayed <strong>in</strong><br />

order, so other users that are follow<strong>in</strong>g them<br />

can see exactly what they should be do<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and what the dish looks like at each stage.<br />

When you create an account, you choose<br />

whether you are a chef or more of a home<br />

cook and you get a correspond<strong>in</strong>g profile<br />

– for example, a chef’s profile can <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation about their restaurant. The<br />

concept fits <strong>in</strong> nicely with an onl<strong>in</strong>e world<br />

that is <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly visual, and is the next<br />

step up from social media sites that are<br />

packed with images of food.<br />

Founded by Malw<strong>in</strong>e Ste<strong>in</strong>bock and<br />

Victor Fortunado <strong>in</strong> 2013, the idea came<br />

about when Malw<strong>in</strong>e realised she had<br />

a number of old family recipes that she<br />

wanted to preserve and share rather than<br />

keep on scraps of paper. The pair started<br />

tak<strong>in</strong>g photos of each stage of the recipes<br />

and catalogu<strong>in</strong>g them for future reference.<br />

When Ivan Icra Salicru came on board<br />

he was a tra<strong>in</strong>ed pastry chef work<strong>in</strong>g on<br />

menu development for Giorgio Locatelli <strong>in</strong><br />

London, and had thousands of recipes. He<br />

says, “I realised this idea wasn’t just for<br />

keep<strong>in</strong>g family recipes alive, the <strong>in</strong>dustry<br />

needed it. I knew from experience that it’s<br />

difficult to tra<strong>in</strong> chefs with written menus<br />

and that it would be much more effective<br />

with easily searchable images.”<br />

Part of the reason the app has so much<br />

potential is the current fasc<strong>in</strong>ation with<br />

chefs, food and cook<strong>in</strong>g. “Masterchef and<br />

other cook<strong>in</strong>g shows are among the most<br />

popular enterta<strong>in</strong>ment right now, and<br />

Instagram has more than 170 million photos<br />

just tagged ‘food’, exclud<strong>in</strong>g any other<br />

related tags,” po<strong>in</strong>ts out Malw<strong>in</strong>e. “This is<br />

just today – it grows daily at an exponential<br />

rate. Those of us with an <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> cook<strong>in</strong>g<br />

want to learn from the professionals and<br />

so we wanted to create a platform for them<br />

to share their knowledge,” she says.<br />

“Our USP is that our content is entirely<br />

user generated,” adds Ivan. “Other recipe<br />

sites may have thousands of entries and<br />

beautiful photos but they are mostly curated<br />

from other platforms. Cookbooth’s content<br />

is orig<strong>in</strong>al, social and very high quality.”<br />

Cookbooth can be used both for chefs to<br />

display their dishes to their followers and<br />

also as a tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g tool – new staff members<br />

can access the posts and learn a restaurant’s<br />

menu through see<strong>in</strong>g the dishes and how<br />

they’re meant to look at each stage. This<br />

can be done via a private profile, a feature<br />

that will carry a subscription fee. It has<br />

equal potential for chefs-<strong>in</strong>-tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g who<br />

can create a portfolio of their work <strong>in</strong> order<br />

to demonstrate their range of skills to any<br />

future employers. Then <strong>in</strong> turn, they can<br />

use it to teach others their recipes.<br />

The app is off to a promis<strong>in</strong>g start, with<br />

10,000 professional chefs and 160,000<br />

foodies already signed up, but Ivan is keen to<br />

attract significantly more. “Each post takes<br />

more work than say, an Instagram post, for<br />

example,” he expla<strong>in</strong>s. “So users are likely<br />

to post less often. We need a lot more users<br />

who will post regularly so that the content<br />

is always fresh and <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g. We’re<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g to reach a million <strong>in</strong> the next year.”<br />

How did the team know the app would<br />

be a success? “We all knew that the <strong>in</strong>dustry<br />

needed it. Today, we live <strong>in</strong> such a culture<br />

of show<strong>in</strong>g and shar<strong>in</strong>g our achievements,<br />

and so we should – chefs create dishes<br />

that are pieces of art,” says Malw<strong>in</strong>e.<br />

“You can spend hours creat<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

particular dish, then you eat it and it’s gone<br />

<strong>in</strong> m<strong>in</strong>utes. It’s good to have a way to make<br />

that a bit more permanent. Your dishes<br />

can arrive <strong>in</strong> every corner of the world and<br />

<strong>in</strong>spire a huge audience. Also, you can’t<br />

patent recipes – anyone can use your idea<br />

and claim it as their own. Us<strong>in</strong>g Cookbooth<br />

to document your ideas gives an element<br />

of ‘claim<strong>in</strong>g’ them as your own, which is<br />

satisfy<strong>in</strong>g for a chef when he or she has<br />

worked hard on a dish.”<br />

This year they partnered for the first<br />

time with food festival Taste of London and<br />

42 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Cookbooth | Entrepreneurs<br />

Co-founders<br />

of the app<br />

Cookbooth are<br />

(from left) Ivan<br />

Icra Salicru,<br />

Malw<strong>in</strong>e<br />

Ste<strong>in</strong>bock<br />

and Victor<br />

Fortunado<br />

Cookbooth<br />

took step-by-step photos of the professional<br />

demos on the ma<strong>in</strong> stage. These recipes<br />

were live streamed <strong>in</strong> the app, which gave<br />

users an <strong>in</strong>sight <strong>in</strong>to what was go<strong>in</strong>g on even<br />

if they weren’t there and provided another<br />

opportunity to learn from the professionals<br />

While Malw<strong>in</strong>e acknowledges that chefs<br />

are the stars of the food <strong>in</strong>dustry, Cookbooth<br />

is also built with the enthusiastic amateur <strong>in</strong><br />

m<strong>in</strong>d. So can home cooks benefit as much as<br />

“<br />

I knew from experience that it’s<br />

difficult to tra<strong>in</strong> chefs with written<br />

menus and that it would be much more<br />

effective with easily searchable images<br />

”<br />

Ivan Icra Salicru, Chef and co-founder of Cookbooth<br />

those <strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>dustry? “Yes def<strong>in</strong>itely!” she<br />

says. “Cookbooth is not just about <strong>in</strong>dividual<br />

recipes but the chefs themselves, and their<br />

specific skills and personalities. Home<br />

cooks can follow the chefs they<br />

like. When you Google<br />

a recipe you might get<br />

1,000 results and not<br />

know where to start.<br />

How do you know<br />

10,000<br />

The number of<br />

professional chefs already<br />

signed up to the app<br />

along with 160,000<br />

foodies<br />

what will work? By select<strong>in</strong>g to follow those<br />

chefs who you know and like, you know their<br />

version is likely to suit what you want and<br />

will be successful – it’s about build<strong>in</strong>g trust.”<br />

Cookbooth is look<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

additional <strong>in</strong>vestment <strong>in</strong><br />

the UK <strong>in</strong> order to add<br />

new features to the<br />

app and create new<br />

versions, as well as<br />

develop and market<br />

the product so that<br />

large restaurant and<br />

hotel groups can use<br />

it. In five years the<br />

founders hope it<br />

will be an <strong>in</strong>valuable<br />

tool <strong>in</strong> every chef’s<br />

kitchen, and change the<br />

way we learn to cook, whether<br />

professionally or for enjoyment.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 43


Susta<strong>in</strong>ability | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

ARE YOU<br />

READY TO<br />

DO THE<br />

RIGHT<br />

THING?<br />

There is change <strong>in</strong> the air with the growth of eco-friendly<br />

and susta<strong>in</strong>able products becom<strong>in</strong>g more accepted. But<br />

the battleground is no longer about whether buy<strong>in</strong>g<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>able products is ethically correct but whether<br />

the product is as good as other options. Susta<strong>in</strong>ability<br />

will grow if the products compete on an equal foot<strong>in</strong>g<br />

There is a grow<strong>in</strong>g demand for an<br />

environmentally friendly lifestyle<br />

on both a personal and professional<br />

level. It is a natural evolution driven by<br />

a comb<strong>in</strong>ation of factors that <strong>in</strong>clude:<br />

● The emerg<strong>in</strong>g generations are far<br />

more naturally aware of the<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>ability issues and have<br />

a greater sense of their importance.<br />

● Caterers have become very aware<br />

of food waste and just how it can<br />

impact on costs and profits.<br />

● Many companies today want<br />

their approach to be eco-friendly<br />

and to possess the highest ethics.<br />

This has driven contract caterers<br />

especially to be proactive <strong>in</strong> approach<br />

and, arguably, this sector leads the<br />

way, driven by their clients rather<br />

than the consumer.<br />

However, although change is tak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

place, the crucial factor is whether products<br />

that are susta<strong>in</strong>able and eco-friendly are<br />

able to compete on an equal foot<strong>in</strong>g with<br />

those that are less so. The first priority of<br />

many bus<strong>in</strong>esses is to ensure the product<br />

delivered to the consumer is of a high<br />

standard while the ethics of it come second.<br />

If both can be comb<strong>in</strong>ed, then all are happy<br />

– so the battleground is quality of product.<br />

But are the products that lead the<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>ability agenda good enough? Well,<br />

<strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly, yes. It has been a journey for<br />

many, but the market is see<strong>in</strong>g more new<br />

products emerge that can make a difference.<br />

One type of ‘support’ product that is<br />

becom<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly used is one that<br />

measures food waste. Most today know the<br />

statistics related to food waste and that<br />

change is needed. In truth, what is driv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that change is the more practical impact<br />

of the bottom l<strong>in</strong>e, and some will argue<br />

that a good approach on food waste can<br />

save as much as 15% on food cost.<br />

This is a significant sav<strong>in</strong>g that has<br />

helped many firms improve performance<br />

and profitability with little effect on the<br />

customer’s satisfaction. <strong>EP</strong> has worked with<br />

waste solutions provider Go Green Tomato<br />

over the past year and they have noticed<br />

changes <strong>in</strong> the last 12 months alone. More<br />

are aware of the issue, more are educated on<br />

the issue and the market is open<strong>in</strong>g up.<br />

Arguably, here lies the key challenge<br />

– it takes time to make people change their<br />

ways. Generally, people do not like change,<br />

and susta<strong>in</strong>ability products have, at times,<br />

marketed themselves on ethics when the<br />

real battleground lay on how it impacted on<br />

performance. Food waste has a clear and<br />

measurable impact and momentum <strong>in</strong> this<br />

area has built, but it’s been a hard journey<br />

to educate the market enough to generate<br />

change. But change is happen<strong>in</strong>g because<br />

the product does have a proven benefit.<br />

There are others also creat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>novative<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>able solutions. COCOCHA makes<br />

barbecue briquettes made purely from<br />

coconut shells. In the UK, there has been<br />

a massive growth <strong>in</strong> coconut products,<br />

with most us<strong>in</strong>g the fruit. The shells are<br />

left beh<strong>in</strong>d and now COCOCHA uses<br />

a process that turns this waste from another<br />

<strong>in</strong>dustry <strong>in</strong>to a fuel for barbecues and grills.<br />

Due to its advantages, this fuel could have<br />

an <strong>in</strong>stant impact on the UK cook<strong>in</strong>g scene<br />

if more adopt it for their kitchens. It has a<br />

longer burn<strong>in</strong>g time and higher temperature<br />

compared to wood charcoal and produces<br />

no smoke or odour. There is little doubt<br />

that with strong market<strong>in</strong>g, COCOCHA<br />

possesses a product that can naturally<br />

compete and will w<strong>in</strong> market share.<br />

Another company that uses a surplus<br />

product is Snact. Their fruit jerky, a blended<br />

44 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Susta<strong>in</strong>ability | Bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

Sasha Tando of COCOCHA (above), Ilana<br />

Taub and Michael M<strong>in</strong>ch-Dixon of Snact<br />

(right) and Just<strong>in</strong> Samuels of Spectank<br />

(far right) are among those mak<strong>in</strong>g sure<br />

that their eco-friendly products will w<strong>in</strong><br />

on performance as well as ethics<br />

“<br />

Generally, people do not like<br />

change, and susta<strong>in</strong>ability products<br />

have, at times, marketed themselves<br />

on ethics when the real battleground<br />

lay on how it impacted on performance<br />

”<br />

15%<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

dried fruit snack, is made from 100%<br />

fruit that has been discarded before it<br />

even reached the shops. The brand is<br />

built on the idea that food can be used<br />

to tackle environmental and social<br />

issues. Snact produce healthy products<br />

and have an active stance aga<strong>in</strong>st food<br />

waste, ensur<strong>in</strong>g the customer believes<br />

that by buy<strong>in</strong>g this product they are part<br />

of someth<strong>in</strong>g bigger. Customers are<br />

respond<strong>in</strong>g and engag<strong>in</strong>g with Snact as<br />

they like the philosophy and the product.<br />

Another bus<strong>in</strong>ess look<strong>in</strong>g to make<br />

real headway <strong>in</strong> the UK market is<br />

Spectank and their environmentally<br />

friendly heated soak tank. The steel<br />

tank, once filled up with 100 litres of<br />

water, will clean any kitchen equipment<br />

and remove grease, grime and oil residue<br />

built up from cook<strong>in</strong>g. An environmentally<br />

friendly powder is also added and the same<br />

water can be used<br />

for 30 days. This<br />

technology will save<br />

an operation money<br />

by not hav<strong>in</strong>g to have the<br />

tap constantly runn<strong>in</strong>g and is<br />

overall better for the environment<br />

because there is no waste water.<br />

Products need to stand out <strong>in</strong> the<br />

crowd and go beyond the benefits of just<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g a healthy option. The question is,<br />

will a company pay slightly more for a<br />

product or service that makes them feel<br />

good, happy and healthy when a cheaper<br />

alternative that lacks these qualities is<br />

available. Will customers appreciate the<br />

difference? Could it <strong>in</strong>crease their<br />

popularity, exposure or sales?<br />

The answer – and their success – lies<br />

less with the ethical argument and more<br />

with how it can impact on performance<br />

The amount saved on food costs<br />

with a susta<strong>in</strong>able approach<br />

to food waste<br />

and cost. The major<br />

difference is that<br />

the products com<strong>in</strong>g<br />

through do, and will<br />

<strong>in</strong> time, get stronger so<br />

that with<strong>in</strong> just a few years,<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>ability will be fully accepted as<br />

a given based on the fact that the products<br />

won the argument through performance.<br />

Some will argue that it has taken a<br />

long time to reach this po<strong>in</strong>t but <strong>in</strong> truth<br />

it is just one generation, and all generations<br />

– of all ages and beliefs – have changed<br />

their habits and understand<strong>in</strong>g at a faster<br />

speed than it often takes. The battle on<br />

our causes – whether gender, ethical or<br />

health – have actually taken longer and<br />

spent more money to create change.<br />

Change has become a constant<br />

but only because the product is strong<br />

enough to create change <strong>in</strong> habits.<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 45


The 5-M<strong>in</strong>ute Challenge | Feature<br />

THE 5-MINUTE<br />

CHALLENGE<br />

Do you pass the test?<br />

Over the years, one of the most<br />

common compla<strong>in</strong>ts has been how<br />

hotel receptionists meet and greet<br />

a guest. Rarely would they make someone<br />

feel welcome, and it would be clear from<br />

the first moment that your stay at the hotel<br />

was a simple transaction and no more.<br />

Thankfully, standards are improv<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

a personal welcome can make someone feel<br />

valued the moment they walk through the<br />

hotel door. <strong>Hospitality</strong> is about provid<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a service that makes the guest feel good and<br />

exceeds all their expectations. It is not just<br />

a simple transaction, and if one th<strong>in</strong>ks a<br />

hotel room purchase is just a transaction<br />

for a guest, then one underestimates what<br />

they want. Everyone wants to feel there is<br />

a connection and care. It w<strong>in</strong>s bus<strong>in</strong>ess.<br />

For a number of years there has<br />

been a debate over whether runn<strong>in</strong>g a hotel<br />

is about provid<strong>in</strong>g a service or just a retail<br />

transaction. A very logical argument can be<br />

generated to argue that a hotel room is a<br />

perishable commodity no different to any<br />

other retail product. One needs to create a<br />

brand and look at it through retail eyes.<br />

But customers rightly have higher<br />

expectations, such as warmth and respect.<br />

It is unlikely a service bus<strong>in</strong>ess that does<br />

not have customers at its heart will perform<br />

well over time. It will always be short term,<br />

as there is no emotional connection between<br />

the customer and the hotel.<br />

Hotel rooms can seem cold and add <strong>in</strong><br />

a cold philosophy plus a cold welcome and<br />

there will be no loyalty. Want to reta<strong>in</strong> and<br />

w<strong>in</strong> bus<strong>in</strong>ess? Make customers feel special.<br />

It is what hospitality should be about and<br />

costs very little. Receptionists are the face<br />

of a company and how they behave and<br />

communicate will w<strong>in</strong> or lose bus<strong>in</strong>ess.<br />

Most guests will decide how they feel about<br />

a property with<strong>in</strong> the first five m<strong>in</strong>utes, and<br />

book<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> always takes more than five<br />

m<strong>in</strong>utes, which means that the receptionist<br />

will determ<strong>in</strong>e how a guest views their stay.<br />

Most people are shy and feel uneasy<br />

enter<strong>in</strong>g new environments. They need to be<br />

welcomed effectively so they can relax, and<br />

if they do, they will spend more as well as<br />

recommend<strong>in</strong>g the hotel. It is that simple.<br />

Here are two examples. A visit to either<br />

of the Dakota Hotels <strong>in</strong> Scotland, founded<br />

by Ken McCulloch, one of the <strong>in</strong>dustry’s<br />

true entrepreneurs, will see guest greeted<br />

by a glass of what looks like champagne. It<br />

is actually sparkl<strong>in</strong>g apple and elderflower,<br />

but that simple gesture of a receptionist<br />

stand<strong>in</strong>g at the door with a refresh<strong>in</strong>g dr<strong>in</strong>k<br />

“<br />

Most guests will<br />

decide how they feel<br />

about a property with<strong>in</strong><br />

the first five m<strong>in</strong>utes<br />

”<br />

has real impact. The hotels say that women<br />

guests especially feel comfortable <strong>in</strong> the<br />

hotel and will sit both <strong>in</strong> the restaurant and<br />

<strong>in</strong> the bar, spend<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>come that is often<br />

lost. Why? Because they feel relaxed from<br />

the moment they walk through the door.<br />

The great events company Admirable<br />

Crichton were famed for ensur<strong>in</strong>g every<br />

waitress had hair and make-up styled by<br />

professionals before serv<strong>in</strong>g champagne<br />

and cocktails. As superficial as it sounds<br />

– and it is sadly superficial – friendly service<br />

by well-presented waitresses helps <strong>in</strong>crease<br />

consumption and sales, which <strong>in</strong> turn means<br />

<strong>in</strong>creased profit. At one of the company’s<br />

recent events, attended by 300 people, we<br />

were greeted by name by three beautifully<br />

presented receptionists <strong>in</strong> a row. For this<br />

to happen at a busy event makes you feel<br />

important, and no matter what else happens,<br />

you will walk away feel<strong>in</strong>g impressed.<br />

So often hotel companies spend their<br />

time sell<strong>in</strong>g the superb and beautiful<br />

facilities – their rooms, swimm<strong>in</strong>g pool,<br />

gym and spa – but they forget that without<br />

the human touch they are pretty soulless.<br />

In recent times, we have seen a move<br />

towards boutique hotels where guests feel<br />

they are part of a small but beautiful facility<br />

made special by the owners and their<br />

passion. The guest would enjoy great<br />

facilities but often they would prefer a<br />

well-designed room with warmth of service<br />

over a cold hotel with excellent facilities.<br />

So who is the most important<br />

person <strong>in</strong> a hotel or any other bus<strong>in</strong>ess?<br />

The receptionist. They can make all the<br />

difference because they can w<strong>in</strong> the<br />

five-m<strong>in</strong>ute challenge, and if they do<br />

then spend <strong>in</strong>creases.<br />

46 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Julian Fris | Op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

The implications<br />

of change<br />

Julian Fris explores the cont<strong>in</strong>uous changes of<br />

cater<strong>in</strong>g and the barriers of its emotive old ways<br />

Nick Dawe<br />

Food and dr<strong>in</strong>k is a staple of life,<br />

without it we just wouldn’t exist. It<br />

is a bond that ties the whole human<br />

race together regardless of religion, culture,<br />

gender or politics. It evokes significant<br />

debate on its value to society, on how it<br />

should be delivered and consumed and<br />

whether it should be provided as a right or<br />

be determ<strong>in</strong>ed by customer choice.<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to research, the food <strong>in</strong>dustry<br />

<strong>in</strong> the US, dom<strong>in</strong>ated by big producers such<br />

as Nestlé, Kraft and Unilever, represents 10<br />

per cent of the country’s GDP and is worth<br />

$1tr. Accord<strong>in</strong>g to DEFRA, it’s about 8 per<br />

cent <strong>in</strong> the UK and 13 per cent of all jobs.<br />

I first started out work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> large<br />

<strong>in</strong>dustrial kitchens feed<strong>in</strong>g vast numbers of<br />

workers at pre-determ<strong>in</strong>ed times us<strong>in</strong>g fresh<br />

<strong>in</strong>gredients mostly prepared on site. Back <strong>in</strong><br />

the day, the workplace was very hierarchical<br />

with separated d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g depend<strong>in</strong>g on your<br />

grade, and no one became a manager until<br />

they were at least 40. Workers had their pay<br />

docked for meals such as steak and kidney<br />

pie, fish and chips or cauliflower cheese.<br />

The 80s saw the rise of outsourc<strong>in</strong>g as<br />

the cost of susta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>-house ‘food-for<br />

-all’ operations became more unsusta<strong>in</strong>able<br />

<strong>in</strong> light of <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g wage <strong>in</strong>flation and<br />

more competitive markets. Habits also<br />

started shift<strong>in</strong>g from big meals to lighter<br />

lunches. Contract caterers like Gardner<br />

Merchant, Bateman and Sutcliffe emerged<br />

along with the <strong>in</strong>vention of the ‘customer’.<br />

In order to keep rigid control, those<br />

companies not wish<strong>in</strong>g to completely<br />

lose their authority on cater<strong>in</strong>g prepared<br />

complex <strong>in</strong>put specifications for contractors<br />

to bid aga<strong>in</strong>st. Large elements were fixed<br />

and non-negotiable, such as the sacrosanct<br />

tariff. However, as companies didn’t know<br />

how much they spent on cater<strong>in</strong>g, caterers<br />

could play the volume discount and staff<br />

productivity card. Most of this was cost plus,<br />

so it relied on trust. Along came cater<strong>in</strong>g<br />

consultants, feverishly prov<strong>in</strong>g that clients<br />

were be<strong>in</strong>g ‘ripped off’ by unscrupulous<br />

caterers <strong>in</strong>flat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>gredient costs.<br />

Fast forward to <strong>2015</strong> and the world is<br />

chang<strong>in</strong>g at a fast pace and, <strong>in</strong> some cases,<br />

the <strong>in</strong>dustry is struggl<strong>in</strong>g to keep up. In<br />

a recent review of civil service cater<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

Whitehall, we discovered that 80 per cent<br />

of the budget is spent on provid<strong>in</strong>g hot meals<br />

to fewer than 20 per cent of staff. Marg<strong>in</strong>s<br />

were generally less than 30 per cent with<br />

labour at over 60 per cent of sales. Vast<br />

areas (worth £50 per sq ft <strong>in</strong> commercial<br />

rental) are given over to energy-consum<strong>in</strong>g<br />

kitchens and d<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g areas all requir<strong>in</strong>g<br />

heat<strong>in</strong>g, ventilation, air con, light<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

security, ma<strong>in</strong>tenance and so on.<br />

We also found that 70 per cent of staff<br />

wanted kitchenettes to prepare their own<br />

food, as they saw the canteen as poor value<br />

for money – unless it sold branded coffee.<br />

But although branded coffee outlets are<br />

great revenue generators, they sell lots of<br />

pre-packaged, higher-calorie products with<br />

arguably poorer nutrition.<br />

Interest<strong>in</strong>gly, customers believe that<br />

their employer should subsidise hot meals,<br />

but these employers see it is a sunk cost.<br />

In the education sector, poor nutrition has<br />

a detrimental effect on concentration and<br />

productivity. Offers of predom<strong>in</strong>antly<br />

caffe<strong>in</strong>e and carbohydrate can potentially<br />

lead to obesity and diabetes let alone a<br />

possible <strong>in</strong>crease <strong>in</strong> stress, more sick<br />

days, poor staff retention and so forth.<br />

Employers need to consider how<br />

much they value and engage with staff, and<br />

cater<strong>in</strong>g can be the catalyst for this. The<br />

high street leads the way <strong>in</strong> simplify<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

offer, and because their life depends on<br />

every sale, customer service is crucial.<br />

One way is to release workspace to<br />

caterers on a concession basis. The client<br />

guarantees footfall and the operator’s job<br />

is to maximise uptake at their own risk. It<br />

elim<strong>in</strong>ates expensive client contract units,<br />

reduces space utilisation (through smaller<br />

footpr<strong>in</strong>ts, technology and better staff<br />

productivity) and removes energy risk as it<br />

is passed to the provider. If the client wants<br />

to offset sell<strong>in</strong>g prices, this can be done on<br />

a sale-by-sale basis because there is plenty<br />

of auditable transaction data available.<br />

We don’t always th<strong>in</strong>k through the<br />

implications of change. In 1978, the silicon<br />

chip revolutionised our lives <strong>in</strong> a way that<br />

was unimag<strong>in</strong>able, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g the way we eat.<br />

The old ways persist and are a barrier to<br />

progress, but will they last? I th<strong>in</strong>k not.<br />

Julian Fris<br />

Founder and Director of Neller Davies<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 47


Network<strong>in</strong>g | Feature<br />

HOW TO BE A<br />

‘NATUR AL’ (NETWORKER)<br />

Network<strong>in</strong>g can so very easily be changed <strong>in</strong>to ‘not work<strong>in</strong>g’<br />

– there is only one letter difference. Here, Stuart Howie of<br />

Chess Partnership expla<strong>in</strong>s how to avoid it happen<strong>in</strong>g to you<br />

Fifteen years ago, when I worked<br />

with a company that relied heavily<br />

on develop<strong>in</strong>g relationships and<br />

accept<strong>in</strong>g referrals on the back of work<br />

done, I attended an event they organised.<br />

It was at a five-star hotel and the subject<br />

matter <strong>in</strong>terest<strong>in</strong>g enough for around 100<br />

clients to attend, giv<strong>in</strong>g 15 bus<strong>in</strong>ess team<br />

members an opportunity to network before<br />

the event started. Easy. What could go<br />

wrong? Answer: Just about everyth<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The basic flaw was that no one had told<br />

the team members what was expected. It<br />

was assumed they would just m<strong>in</strong>gle with<br />

the clients and ‘get on with it’. So there were<br />

clients on one side of the room m<strong>in</strong>gl<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with old friends and team members on<br />

the other side talk<strong>in</strong>g to their colleagues.<br />

A couple of ‘naturals’ were <strong>in</strong> the middle<br />

of the room, mak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>troductions, but the<br />

network<strong>in</strong>g w<strong>in</strong>dow shuts very quickly and<br />

the opportunity was soon gone. The event<br />

ended and the client base went back to work.<br />

The follow<strong>in</strong>g day, a de-brief took place<br />

and it became very clear from the number<br />

of bus<strong>in</strong>ess cards collected that very little<br />

network<strong>in</strong>g had taken place at all. The two<br />

‘naturals’ were able to up-sell their <strong>in</strong>put,<br />

but the others had noth<strong>in</strong>g to say.<br />

So what had gone so wrong? The team<br />

was pretty much universal <strong>in</strong> their defence.<br />

They didn’t know any of the clients and no<br />

one had <strong>in</strong>troduced them to anyone, so how<br />

could they be expected to network? The<br />

event organiser and two of his senior team<br />

were ‘naturals’. They expected everyone<br />

else would do what these three did so well.<br />

Look<strong>in</strong>g back, I know of only a small<br />

number of people who tick the ‘natural’ box<br />

and a larger number who need development<br />

<strong>in</strong> the field of network<strong>in</strong>g best practice, so<br />

let’s take a look at the barriers we face when<br />

presented with a room full of strangers.<br />

Children have no <strong>in</strong>hibitions. A three<br />

year old doesn’t care about runn<strong>in</strong>g across<br />

their parents’ lounge naked, or shout<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

get what they want. But as they grow up,<br />

they learn what is and isn’t acceptable and<br />

mental condition<strong>in</strong>g starts. Of course, it’s for<br />

the right reasons, and for many these early<br />

general rules rema<strong>in</strong> with them for life.<br />

I’ve an elderly relative who doesn’t talk<br />

to strangers and who waits to be ‘properly<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduced’ before talk<strong>in</strong>g to someone. The<br />

mantras ‘good th<strong>in</strong>gs come to those who<br />

wait’ and you’re ‘better safe than sorry’ are<br />

appropriate for a child. And for many, this<br />

type of condition<strong>in</strong>g sticks with them for life<br />

– and for all the right reasons.<br />

However, this is <strong>2015</strong> and if we want to<br />

become known <strong>in</strong> our field of expertise,<br />

this m<strong>in</strong>dset needs to change. Successfully<br />

work<strong>in</strong>g a room full of strangers depends<br />

on identify<strong>in</strong>g your mental roadblocks and<br />

respond<strong>in</strong>g accord<strong>in</strong>gly.<br />

Plann<strong>in</strong>g your presence<br />

Before you attend an event, th<strong>in</strong>k about<br />

what you want to accomplish. Approach any<br />

48 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


Network<strong>in</strong>g | Feature<br />

event with enthusiasm and purpose and<br />

you will learn new <strong>in</strong>formation and have<br />

fun. ‘Naturals’ all look as though they are<br />

hav<strong>in</strong>g fun. After all, what’s not to like about<br />

enjoy<strong>in</strong>g yourself, f<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g bus<strong>in</strong>ess leads<br />

and delight<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> other people’s company?<br />

If possible, take a look at the guest list<br />

beforehand. You will be able to determ<strong>in</strong>e<br />

your target audience and, if it’s a sit-down<br />

function, where they will be seated. You can<br />

leave your table at appropriate po<strong>in</strong>ts dur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a meal to talk to those you want to meet.<br />

I even know of people who arrive early and<br />

change names on place sett<strong>in</strong>gs so they can<br />

sit next to the person they want to talk to!<br />

At a professional meet<strong>in</strong>g you are with<br />

like-m<strong>in</strong>ded people, not strangers. It doesn’t<br />

matter what the occasion is, the pr<strong>in</strong>cipals of<br />

redef<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g your audience are the same. You<br />

all have a common <strong>in</strong>terest, and these tend<br />

to be the basis for conversation. So forget<br />

about ‘not talk<strong>in</strong>g to strangers’.<br />

Wait<strong>in</strong>g for people to come over and<br />

<strong>in</strong>troduce themselves is, sadly, an exercise <strong>in</strong><br />

futility – they may be more apprehensive<br />

than you. Good th<strong>in</strong>gs do not come to those<br />

who wait but to those who <strong>in</strong>itiate. There<br />

are usually two behaviours at play – ‘host’<br />

behaviour and ‘guest’ behaviour. Hosts are<br />

‘naturals’. They display gracious manners,<br />

start conversations and generally contribute<br />

and you will f<strong>in</strong>d them <strong>in</strong> the middle of the<br />

room. Guest behaviour is the opposite. They<br />

will wait to be <strong>in</strong>troduced, display negative<br />

body language and graduate to the outer<br />

edge of a room as classic wallflowers.<br />

When we are young we are taught it is<br />

polite to wait to be <strong>in</strong>troduced to someone<br />

before we <strong>in</strong>itiate a conversation. It is much<br />

easier that way, but at events we do not have<br />

this luxury, so the onus is on us to <strong>in</strong>itiate<br />

conversation. But what do we say?<br />

It’s all too easy to be embarrassed and<br />

tongue-tied, especially if we are address<strong>in</strong>g<br />

someone more senior than us. Politicians<br />

are able to help us here – the ‘stump speech’<br />

was <strong>in</strong>vented by campaigners who would<br />

literally stand on a tree stump and deliver<br />

their message, prepared and wrapped up<br />

nicely for public consumption. My advice<br />

is to practise self-<strong>in</strong>troduction beforehand.<br />

This should be a simple message, seven to<br />

10 seconds long, <strong>in</strong>troduc<strong>in</strong>g yourself, who<br />

you work with and what you do. So, for<br />

example, “Hello, my name is Stuart Howie<br />

and I work with a recruitment bus<strong>in</strong>ess that<br />

hires <strong>in</strong>to the hospitality sector.”<br />

Risk is the name of the game – no one<br />

wants to be rebuffed or ignored when they<br />

approach a stranger, and it’s unlikely to<br />

happen. But if there’s simply no chemistry<br />

or <strong>in</strong>terest, do not waste your time. Simply<br />

excuse yourself and walk away to the next<br />

person and try aga<strong>in</strong>. Reduce the risk by<br />

prepar<strong>in</strong>g your small talk. Avoid politics,<br />

religion and double entendres! Know your<br />

sector, read the trade press, newspapers and<br />

restaurant reviews. Delight <strong>in</strong> the venue, be<br />

aware of what is happen<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the world and<br />

some common ground will soon be obvious.<br />

Gett<strong>in</strong>g through an event<br />

Use charm and hold your nerve – by which<br />

I mean have the courage to take risks, so you<br />

can walk <strong>in</strong>to a crowded room and <strong>in</strong>troduce<br />

yourself to a stranger. Charm is the power or<br />

quality of attract<strong>in</strong>g, or fasc<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g others.<br />

When these two <strong>in</strong>gredients come together,<br />

you have a very special formula and it is one<br />

we all possess to a greater or lesser extent.<br />

People will always remember those who<br />

caused them to feel special and made them<br />

smile. Here are some more tips:<br />

● Present yourself <strong>in</strong> a professional<br />

manner – a neat suit and well-groomed<br />

image will give a good first impression.<br />

● Set yourself a goal at group events – aim<br />

to meet a m<strong>in</strong>imum number of new people<br />

every time you attend one.<br />

● Arrive early to avoid walk<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to a<br />

crowded room. Better to be on the <strong>in</strong>side<br />

look<strong>in</strong>g out, and you’ll see who is arriv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

more easily if you are properly positioned.<br />

● Go with a friend. You may know people<br />

the other does not and vice versa. Our<br />

friends will say good th<strong>in</strong>gs about us that<br />

we would not say about ourselves. It can<br />

be like hav<strong>in</strong>g your own PR agent! Split<br />

up, m<strong>in</strong>gle and re-connect. Share your<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation and leads with each other and<br />

those you are meet<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

● Avoid stand<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> groups of four or<br />

more as this can be perceived by others<br />

as <strong>in</strong>timidat<strong>in</strong>g and it is unlikely they<br />

will approach your clique.<br />

● Look for the white-knuckle dr<strong>in</strong>kers<br />

– those on their own hold<strong>in</strong>g their glass<br />

tightly. They may well be shy and will<br />

be grateful for your attention.<br />

● Name tags allow you to address people by<br />

their names. Some events don’t have them,<br />

of course, and so it’s up to you to <strong>in</strong>troduce<br />

yourself and engage with others.<br />

● Conversation openers. We discussed<br />

self-<strong>in</strong>troductions earlier, but common<br />

experience is always a good follow up.<br />

Try views on the venue, the management,<br />

the food and new open<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

● Mov<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>. There is a difference<br />

between <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g yourself <strong>in</strong> someone’s<br />

conversation and <strong>in</strong>trud<strong>in</strong>g upon it,<br />

so use common sense here and avoid<br />

approach<strong>in</strong>g those who look like they are<br />

<strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>tense conversation.<br />

● Mov<strong>in</strong>g on. Talk to everyone – the person<br />

you th<strong>in</strong>k is least likely to have any useful<br />

connections could surprise you. At one<br />

event I spoke to a lady represent<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a flower bus<strong>in</strong>ess who <strong>in</strong>troduced me<br />

to one of her clients, a top hotelier who<br />

I went on to help with his career.<br />

● Remember to br<strong>in</strong>g your bus<strong>in</strong>ess<br />

cards. So many people forget the basics.<br />

● Re-connect. If you say you are go<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

follow up with someone, then do so.<br />

● Use eye contact, practise hav<strong>in</strong>g a firm<br />

handshake and use a w<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g smile to<br />

engage with people.<br />

Follow these ideas at your next event and<br />

soon ‘not work<strong>in</strong>g’ will become network<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

and results will surely follow.<br />

“<br />

Successfully work<strong>in</strong>g a room full of people who<br />

are likely to be strangers depends on identify<strong>in</strong>g your<br />

mental roadblocks and respond<strong>in</strong>g accord<strong>in</strong>gly<br />

”<br />

Stuart Howie of Chess Partnership<br />

epmagaz<strong>in</strong>e.co.uk | 49


Jon Davis | Op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

The chang<strong>in</strong>g<br />

shift <strong>in</strong><br />

<strong>EP</strong>oS solutions<br />

Advances are putt<strong>in</strong>g operators <strong>in</strong> the technological<br />

driv<strong>in</strong>g seat, says IndiCater’s guest contributor Jon Davis<br />

Historically, few purchases have as<br />

dramatic an effect on a hospitality<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess as an electronic po<strong>in</strong>t<br />

-of-sale (<strong>EP</strong>oS) solution. It can <strong>in</strong>crease<br />

efficiency, boost profitability and <strong>in</strong>crease<br />

control over operations. But are these<br />

systems as effective now as <strong>in</strong> the past?<br />

<strong>EP</strong>oS is a critical build<strong>in</strong>g block for the<br />

hospitality <strong>in</strong>dustry <strong>in</strong> provid<strong>in</strong>g exceptional<br />

customer service as well as a picture of the<br />

bus<strong>in</strong>ess both f<strong>in</strong>ancially and operationally.<br />

But can this be achieved with <strong>EP</strong>oS alone<br />

or is it the foundation upon which other<br />

systems can then be built?<br />

One of the biggest stumbl<strong>in</strong>g blocks<br />

when build<strong>in</strong>g effective systems is try<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

get them to talk to each other. It usually<br />

takes time and f<strong>in</strong>ancial <strong>in</strong>vestment for<br />

both the operator and vendor. It is vital for<br />

an operator that all the software providers<br />

understand the need for <strong>in</strong>tegration. It is<br />

not acceptable for software companies to<br />

dictate to a bus<strong>in</strong>ess what it can and<br />

can’t do with its data!<br />

Increas<strong>in</strong>gly, more and more hospitality<br />

environments understand that choos<strong>in</strong>g<br />

best-of-breed systems <strong>in</strong> each area of<br />

the bus<strong>in</strong>ess will br<strong>in</strong>g greater efficiencies,<br />

and gone are the days where bus<strong>in</strong>esses<br />

feel the need to select one vendor to<br />

provide an end-to-end platform simply<br />

because it’s the easy option.<br />

Us<strong>in</strong>g companies such as IndiCater<br />

for <strong>in</strong>ventory and procurement control,<br />

Triple Jump Technologies for profit<br />

protection, bus<strong>in</strong>ess <strong>in</strong>telligence and<br />

revenue management or Apple Pay for<br />

payments is a bus<strong>in</strong>ess decision and should<br />

never become cost prohibitive based on<br />

<strong>in</strong>tegration costs. It is no longer acceptable<br />

for vendors to block moves by operators to<br />

achieve fully <strong>in</strong>tegrated platforms.<br />

With the market mov<strong>in</strong>g away from<br />

traditional <strong>EP</strong>oS solutions to more agile<br />

cloud-based systems, the speed and ease<br />

of build<strong>in</strong>g a coherent set of solutions has<br />

never been easier. This is a significant<br />

sea change, with operators be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

control of how they manage their data,<br />

where efficiencies can be found through<br />

<strong>in</strong>tegration and the ‘future proof<strong>in</strong>g’ of<br />

any <strong>in</strong>vestments made <strong>in</strong> technology. It<br />

allows the bus<strong>in</strong>ess to confidently select<br />

market-lead<strong>in</strong>g technology <strong>in</strong> other areas<br />

of the bus<strong>in</strong>ess without the concern of<br />

generat<strong>in</strong>g another silo of data, thereby<br />

creat<strong>in</strong>g more work on Excel spreadsheets.<br />

The shift has also allowed operators<br />

to benefit from reduced time and cost of<br />

deploy<strong>in</strong>g new systems, to question high<br />

costs of development and really<br />

understand what the ongo<strong>in</strong>g cost of<br />

ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the solution <strong>in</strong> terms of<br />

software ma<strong>in</strong>tenance and support will be.<br />

The <strong>in</strong>dustry has seen a move to change<br />

the way technology vendors and operators<br />

work together, mov<strong>in</strong>g towards shorter-term<br />

<strong>in</strong>novation agreements between all parties.<br />

If an operator’s technology partner is<br />

not keep<strong>in</strong>g up with the <strong>in</strong>novation needed<br />

with<strong>in</strong> the bus<strong>in</strong>ess then why should that be<br />

allowed to impact on the bus<strong>in</strong>ess’s ability<br />

to grow? The short answer is it shouldn’t,<br />

and chang<strong>in</strong>g these relationships<br />

will allow a bus<strong>in</strong>ess to look at<br />

alternatives without fear of penalties.<br />

Be<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> numerous projects<br />

across hospitality, it is refresh<strong>in</strong>g f<strong>in</strong>ally<br />

to see software companies and operators<br />

alike understand<strong>in</strong>g the importance of<br />

<strong>in</strong>tegrations and the need to work with<br />

all manner of systems.<br />

“<br />

It is not acceptable for software companies to dictate<br />

to a bus<strong>in</strong>ess what it can and can’t do with its data!<br />

”<br />

Jon Davis is Manag<strong>in</strong>g Director<br />

of Kickstart Technologies,<br />

an <strong>in</strong>dependent consultancy<br />

specialis<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> hospitality technology<br />

50 | <strong>EP</strong> Magaz<strong>in</strong>e | <strong>October</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


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