Why we really are all in it together
12 December, 2012
There’s no shortage of entrepreneurial flair in the UK eating and drinking out market. That was amply highlighted in the latest Sunday Times Fast Track 100 listings, writes Peter Martin.
Around 10% of the entries were from the pub, bar and restaurant market—and all expanding sales at over 50% a year for the past three years. The likes of Drake & Morgan, Brewdog, Amber Taverns, Jamies Italian, Cote, Pho and the still small-scale Surrey-based pub group RB & AH, set up by the same pair that created and later sold the Blubeckers chain, all featured.
“Spotting opportunities, doing things differently and taking appropriate risks is evidently paying off,” commented the newspaper.
That determination, passion and willingness to roll-up sleeves and get stuck in was also demonstrated on the Entrepreneurs’ Panel at this year’s Peach 2020 conference where Camino’s Richard Bigg, Street Food’s Mark Jankel, Roost’s Cass Titcombe and Draft House’s Charlie McVeigh shared the day-to-day exhilaration and frustration that comes with getting businesses off the ground.
The market should be proud of the innovators and risk-takers it attracts and allows to flourish—if they are good enough. But that’s only part of the story.
The sector is vibrant because it is populated with enterprises of all sizes, offering a multitude of choice and product to all sections of the public.
Part of the fascination and attraction is seeing how over time those companies evolve—growing, splitting, reinventing themselves and
sometimes simply disappearing. Managing those processes is perhaps
the central challenge for any player in the market. As Peach Factory
chairman and former Wagamama boss Ian Neill said: “Taking great entrepreneurial ideas and making them scalable, without losing the passion and mojo is a difficult path to tread.”
While some are driven by the thrill of the start-up and will sell-up and start again, others have the dream of seeing it through and turning their fledgling concept into a national, even international, brand. It can be done, too.
But it is also wrong to think that big corporations can’t nurture bright ideas and build great brands. The biggest success story on the international stage to come out of Britain’s eating and drinking-out market is probably Costa Coffee. It comes out of Whitbread, one of our oldest established businesses, but one that has gone through dramatic changes. Costa now boasts over 2,300 stores globally, including in 25 Chinese cities.
It is a real global player, competing head-on with the likes of Starbucks and the US fast food giants. We should give it massive credit and learn from it.
Perhaps we should all strive to better understand and appreciate each other—no matter what part of the sector we come from.
That’s one of the reasons why we put together the ‘Strictly Boardroom’ session at the Peach 2020 conference, where Marston’s ceo Ralph Findlay and YO! Sushi boss Robin Rowland talked about how they both have learned from each other, and sparked off each other too, on the Marston’s board—and despite outwardly running very different companies share many of the same issues.
This is still one of the most open and friendly markets to work in. But there is still a need to do more to better understand, appreciate and, from time to time, work together to create an even more successful and attractive marketplace.
This article also appears in the current December/January issue of Peach Report magazine. To find out how to receive your copy call or email Christine Martin - email@example.com, 01704 550383