Simon Emeny said last year that he could not recall a time when the industry faced such an array of additional cost pressures as the burden of rates rises, National Living Wage increases and the Apprenticeship Levy all took hold.
Under Simon’s leadership, food development has been a key strategic objective, with head chefs at its pubs offered a level of menu autonomy rarely seen among national pub chains.
This is all underpinned by ongoing investment in back-of-house resources, such as a food management system to provide clearer information on customer trends to encourage menu creativity and an initiative to improve online menus, with screening options for customers with food allergies.
The business recruited no fewer than 70 chef apprentices last year and is aiming to exceed that number by the end of 2018. Head chefs, meanwhile, have received enhanced in-kitchen training to inspire innovation and ensure they mentor and develop their kitchen teams.
The introduction of a Chef of the Year competition has also proved a masterstroke, with winners spending four days in New York working at some of the world’s best restaurants.
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