Former Greene King food development chief David George is helping pub and restaurant companies plan their kitchens and create new menus after setting up his own specialist catering consultancy.
Mr George’s extensive career in the industry, which include 10 years specifying equipment for the Bury St Edmunds-based pub group, has seen him gain expertise in every aspect of catering development, including menu costings, supply chain sourcing, supplier negotiation, compliance, kitchen design and catering equipment procurement.
And now he is imparting that wisdom to others in the trade, including restaurant operators, pub groups and equipment suppliers, through his consultancy DGCC.
One of his first projects has involved working with pub group Everards, which is in the process of building a new head office in Leicestershire with adjoining brewery, beer hall and commercial kitchen.
“It is an immense new facility and at the moment I am working with the designers on designing the kitchen and the infrastructure,” he explains. “They are looking to build a food offer from scratch, and I will be working on some beer pairing with the food, so it’s a really exciting project to be involved with. It’s quite a slow burner and because of the scale and the size of the overall business it’s probably another 18 months off launching yet.”
Mr George said he has had conversations with pub operators, casual dining chains and even a retailer seeking input on staff catering facilities – and all have shown a desire for the same results when it comes to their kitchens.
“They want efficiencies, they want quality and they want speed of execution, so it is just about tailoring what they want to deliver in terms of food and putting together the package required to deliver that,” he said.
Mr George, whose most role in the industry was as head of catering development at The Pub People Company, believes that whatever approach operators take, they have to keep sight of the customer experience.
“If you start to lose your footfall because you take your eye off the ball then it is only going to be detrimental to your business. Everybody can worry about the cost of goods and price increases, but you must not take your eye off the ball and the ball is the people that are coming through the doors.”