In Dialog with Stuart Procter, COO at The Stafford Resort London
The Stafford Assortment is an independently owned luxurious portfolio of gorgeous properties in distinct places all through the UK. These elegant inns and award-winning eating places provide subtle, confident visitors the discreet luxurious and anticipatory experiences they search, in a heat and genuine environment that’s devoted to steady innovation and the best requirements of service and hospitality. The Stafford London is a proud member of the celebrated Most well-liked Resorts & Resorts Legend Assortment. Learn on to be taught extra in regards to the evolution of the gathering and the person that makes it occur, skilled hotelier and COO, Stuart Procter.
Inform us in regards to the Stafford Assortment.
The Stafford Assortment consists of The Stafford London which is tucked away within the coronary heart of historic St James’s, Mayfair, and simply minutes from lots of London’s iconic landmarks and its vibrant West Finish, The Stafford London is likely one of the best luxurious and historic inns within the capital. Northcote is a small luxurious resort with a Michelin star restaurant located on the sting of the gorgeous Ribble Valley, within the coronary heart of Lancashire and Norma Positioned in London’s Fitzrovia, Norma is a up to date and vibrant restaurant, impressed by the meals and tradition of Sicily with an emphasis of the Moorish influences of the island’s delicacies.
The evolution of the gathering has been fairly easy, I got here again to The Stafford London six years in the past to try to put it again on the map once more and I labored at Northcote after I was 15 years previous so I’ve a fantastic historical past with the 2 properties. One night, over a glass of wine, it got here to my consideration that I needed to develop the portfolio and thought why not…. it was so simple as that! We needed one thing that connects The Stafford London to the countryside and I used to be born within the Ribble Valley so it was an ideal match.
Norma – is simply very cool, among the finest initiatives I’ve labored on and I completely adore it! Why do I adore it? Effectively, as a result of anybody and everyone seems to be welcome; you would take your associate for dinner, you would take your grandma for lunch, your children for a chew, it’s heat, it’s so pleasant and the meals is scrumptious. It’s Sicilian impressed and the menu is very well thought via, the chef Giovann is supersonic and Liz who runs it’s completely good – it actually has a real household really feel which is so essential to working a enterprise. It’s not too large however it’s all the time packed out – the designer has carried out a terrific job and the format, ambiance and group all simply works completely.
Did you all the time envisage a profession in hospitality?
I personally needed to be a footballer, however I wasn’t ok, in order that was that ha-ha! However I additionally beloved inns, I beloved meals, I beloved cooking as a child, I used to be the boy within the residence economics class with 33 women, then I realised I beloved serving individuals and taking care of individuals, so I turned a part-time waiter at Northcote and simply fell in love with it. I had a brilliant boss known as Craig Bancroft. He’s an incredible man and he actually took me underneath his wing, in actual fact we nonetheless work collectively – albeit in a unique capability to the previous days. I used to be very lucky to have met many superb individuals alongside this journey – some are purchasers, some are colleagues, and a few are actually finest mates! You meet individuals from all walks of life and industries, hospitality is an incredible sector to work in; you both adore it otherwise you don’t – it’s not a job, it’s life.
Any phrases of knowledge to a youthful you should you have been beginning out once more?
I’ve a youthful me, known as Florence, my 17-year-old daughter who’s beginning out as an apprentice throughout the hospitality sector. I don’t suppose a lot has modified actually; it’s about working exhausting and should you present a very good utility, you pay attention and present your respect you’ll go a long-long manner.
If Florence does what I consider she is going to do she can be my boss in ten years ha-ha! I feel the chance throughout the business now’s huge, – there are only a few individuals considering becoming a member of hospitality, pre-Covid it was very troublesome to recruit expertise and post-Covid it’s virtually unattainable.
There are inns opening each minute of the day – and we aren’t simply speaking about vacation inns and journey lodges, there are luxurious properties popping up on a regular basis; with excessive profile names like Peninsula, Raffles, Mandarin Oriental and Rosewood in London alone, the checklist is limitless and it’s actually thrilling. Graduates inside this business actually have the prospect to crack on with a rewarding profession and simply as importantly have enjoyable too!
What are the basics upon which your stage of success has been constructed?
If you happen to say you’re going to do one thing do it, don’t let anyone down. If you’re in a management position then a very powerful asset is your group, it’s not the chandelier of the flamboyant plates it’s your group, so by no means allow them to down. Lead by instance and hopefully, they’ll observe you.
What’s a typical day for you – if such a factor exists?
I arrive at The Stafford London at 7.30am and I begin the day with a cappuccino and glowing water. I’ve a wander spherical, test in with everybody, go to the laundry test everybody there, go to the kitchen test on the group there. As I don’t simply run the day-to-day operations at this property, I then kick-off with conferences with Sarah my PA, going via all of the emails, after which wanting on the future for the enterprise actually, for instance, I’ve a gathering immediately in regards to the prospect and feasibility of one other resort – we’re taking a look at rising the enterprise.
Additionally, a key aspect of my position is gross sales and advertising, I’ve connections around the globe so I be sure I attain out to key purchasers and brokers. Subsequent, I’m going and see my group at Norma, after which I’ve “individuals conferences” wanting on the strategic aspect of what we’re doing and the way we’re rising, and coaching necessities for instance. I additionally put my engineer hat on too, we’re at the moment refurbishing and wish to make sure progress is on observe. Inside my position there are such a lot of completely different features of the enterprise I take care of and it’s fairly reactive too for instance a consumer could pop in and wish to have a espresso. So actually no two days are the identical. That’s the fantastic thing about resort conserving you aren’t in a inflexible position.
What’s the consumer demographic at The Stafford London?
In pre-Covid instances, which we’re happy to say we’re coming again to now, 60% of our visitors are American as I all the time say and my predecessor a few years in the past taught me – if in case you have America by itself – you might be into a robust market.
The American purchasers like to journey, they spend effectively, they love the UK and so they love The Stafford London and St James space. It is extremely British; visitors get pleasure from a stately residence expertise in the midst of London and we service our purchasers effectively, which Individuals love (and so they need to!) it’s not stiff, it’s casual, I don’t need individuals with title badges on, we aren’t company we like to stay to being a person and chic property.
We’ve got bought the who’s who staying right here, eating right here and consuming right here – and the reason being they’re snug. They adore it.
Have you ever seen a development towards boutique inns publish Covid individuals?
I feel everyone seems to be completely different, in case you are into your factors then you’re going to wish to keep in your Park Lane inns. I feel individuals wish to get pleasure from their time and spend their cash on what is lush for them. I feel individuals additionally gained’t tolerate garbage, they don’t have time for it, so I feel the expectations have gone larger and honest sufficient!
What does luxurious imply to you?
Luxurious to me is time, having dinner with my kids in a cool place.
Which phrases would you utilize to explain the Stafford
Casual formality and residential.
What’s within the pipeline for the Stafford Assortment?
We’re exploring the marketplace for new alternatives, we are going to fortunately handle alternatives individuals haven’t succeeded with or are bored with or wish to add extra worth.
Within the UK, we’re taking a look at a possibility in Manchester which might be a very good match for us and add worth – we are going to solely broaden if the chance actually feels proper. It’s an thrilling time for the enterprise, now we have a brilliant group and so they need extra, and if we don’t give them extra they’ll go someplace else.
We’re additionally reviewing growth plans for Norma, we’re opening Norma in Cairo in Might, and hope to do extra too.
It feels just like the enterprise is in fifth gear and raring to go!