Stepping back, taking in some air….

…& breathe….

Everyday of the week I surround myself with the most fantastic of people.

Granted, some let me down. Call in sick, think it’s ok to let the rest of the team down because ‘they’re more important’ but in the whole, when you take a breath & step back, I surround myself by the most fantastic of people. Only the most fantastic of people get my back. The others can continue on their journeys in life…


You only genuinely realise this when you step back & take in some air…breath deep, refelct & look at what’s around you..

I am sooooooooo proud of the team that have left me this year.

Jess (my daughter)

Stu (my future son in law)

Jeff (God I love the Jeff I first employed)

In my inductions I now ask everyone to leave Yummy after 18 months. It’s having the desired effect.

This might seam strange to the new girls & guys coming in, but it’s a reality. Yummy is here for a stop gap, a time to reflect or a time to rebalance. Yummy is mine, I’m here for the long hall, all the others can ‘do one’ (as I so eloquently portray) learn, develop, do one. 18 months is a key number. As soon as that magic number appears I owe people something, but i’m so loyal, i’ve been here for such a long time….so 2016, lets turn it on its head, lets make staff turnover in my sector a really, really good thing. I’m bored of it being an ‘issue’ or ‘something that needs addressing’ – well, I’m addressing it – piss off!

You don’t need to leave, but you damn well need to develop.

I’ll give you the tools, its up to you. Not me.

…what makes me ‘Yummy’… People.

…I’m lucky enough to have built an amazing company with two boys I love, trust & honestly, would do anything for. I don’t think anything will, or can come between the ethos we have created in Yummy, its a one in a lifetime thing. We are the core, everyone asks me daily “what makes Yummy different?” I think its the core…

…this week has taught me that.

I didn’t ask permission.

I went with a gut feeling.


My boys didn’t even flinch (although I expected them too)…

This week I broke the rules of ‘common sense’ & gave somebody another shot. He’s young, impressionable & a future star. He needs to read this & keep his arse on the grind stone, sweat, shut up, get on with it, understand I’m an old git & I know what’s best & crack on. My granddad put his head above the parapet. He survived or i wouldn’t be here. My head is up, if I get shot down, that son of a bitch is coming with me & (no pressure) I’ll question everyday if taking kids off the streets is the right idea.


He won’t let me down.

At every meeting I’ve had since the beginning of the year I’ve been asked “So whats the plan?”…”What’s the exit?”

There is no ‘exit’ people. We’re building a company, an army, a future.

I will make a difference to somebodies life, I will change the future by ignoring the past, I will roll the dice. My boys have my back. Yummy can & Yummy will.

This is the bit where you stop reading. This is my company, this is what I have achieved & what I can do. You’ll need to download a copy of Ellie Gouldings – Army – YouTube muted it because of copyright (maybe), rightly so. So, for full effect, download, press play, then click.

I’ve watched this screen show every morning so far this year.

It makes me so proud.

I’ll be watching it again in the morning.

My business is built by people, the most fantastic of people.


The Apprentice is on & I’m bored off my tits….

…its been an emotional day for me. I’ve taken myself back through the journey of Yummy….

…& i’m soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo proud of what we’ve achieved.

In 7 days time I’ll be opening up one of the most exciting pubs you could find out there. Its been a dream of more than 4 years in the making. Not this site, but the dream.

Originally the plan was to open on a backstreet in Marylebone. Another neglected pub. One that had a future, but was being ill treated.

The deal didn’t stack up, so we walked away.

We’ll always walk away.

It’s doing 30% of its potential right now (in Yummy opinion).

Whilst Yummy is flying.

43.5% up on pre-booked Christmas sittings in Yummy. Jesus will be helping on delivering that – he sits on the right hand side, but we’re drafting him in! Some of the best people you could find in this industry inducted by me, today (& mummy P), a population of Yummy Loons, whom I absolutely love (Juan is my favourite :) ) . With all the quirks, weirdness, individuality & fun.

I’m a failed graphic designer.


I studied at the best design school in the land, nye-on the World & I didn’t have the balls to get out there.

I was young (the youngest, ever).

I was a country boy, into the BIG CITY, fending for myself….today, in this crap industry of ‘hospitality’ (apparently, crap, if you listen to people…..not in the industry) everyone in it is just treating water or ‘best they can be’.


Today,  I have an MA graduate philosophy student, Post ‘Grad’ Social economic 1st degree ‘students’, actors, amazing ‘teasmith’ dancers (whom have just accepted a ‘life changing’ tour, but “I’ll be back in April” (charlie :) ) people ((please only come back, with this exception – that to tell me you’re living your dreams & you want a ‘cuppa’ – on ‘the house’, because ‘I’ is famous’ – I genuinely don’t even think fame will turn her into a diva, people (but you’re always welcome back ‘excel document with formulas to work things one out” )), circus directors, ‘Swedish roller coaster drivers / operators’, Canadian, (me = “you’re one of the most intelligent people I’ll ever meet in life people, but your late :) people.

It’s a diverse industry.



I cuffing love it.

Hospitality is not only a career. It’s a future.

A bright, shining, ‘everyone wants to hear the story’ kinda one.

After Christmas I’m writing the book.

I’ve decided after today.

There is a book in what we’ve done.

Maybe a 16 pp book. But I’m writing it :) How to do it. Build a multi-million quid business from a ‘beer mat conversation’. Stuff Sugar & his jet. We’re not prancing ponies. We’re the generation that sculpts the future of hospitality, right time, right place, if the recession hadn’t come along, my credit cards (card) maxed, £1,000,000 wouldn’t have gone into HMRC coffers this year. £1.000,000!!!!!!! or would it?

My 5 year old son (nearly old enough to wash dishes) had a ‘chat’ to me all….. the way to school today about my dad. What did he do. Why was he dead. Did he fly bomber jets in the 1st World War? Was he Grandmas brother?

I’d love to live in the head of a 5 year old (nearly 6) for just one week.

See what its like.


Is. so. simple.

So, we’ve been busy. I’ve not written a blog here for a while. But, if you’re in town tomorrow (London) & want to be served (probably a really shite coffee in Somers Town) we’re back on the floor. The original Yummy loons are running the floor.

Guaranteed the best breakfast in the UK.

Jay will be in my kitchen.

(( I’ll be making the coffee))

Anthony is sorting out the bogs.

Tomorrow. I’m on the floor. Its where I feel natural, I belong. My calling.

Please tip heavily.

Please don’t complain.

Just send me ‘feedback’ on my service in Jan / Feb 2016.

That way, I’ll get away with it :)

“People leave their boss” – “Not the company they work for”

That’s what I’ve said cllllllllllllll day today. And its 100% true.

I genuinely believe it.

With one fly in the ointment.

David Scott was the best boss I ever had. He’s now some big wig at Carlsberg, but I love him to pieces. He inspired me to just ‘fucking get on with it’ when I was deliberating to run with Yummy full time. He’s a total pain in the arse when it comes to ANY hr issue, but to me, he’s the best boss I’ve ever had.


My business is 100% about my people.

I hope I’ve delivered that message today to the 20+ new recruits into Yummy.

If nothing else, 100% people.

I’m just here for the development of dreams.

Yummy is just here for the development of dreams.

That’s hospitality in a nutshell. Thats what we’re here for, to encourage, harness, develop dreams. We have a touch point on ‘Gen Y’, Gen Z’ I don’t give a flying monkeys what people want to ‘call it’ we’re a stop gap in life.

Breathing space.


Time out.

Gap year.

The business I have created can recognise ‘dreams’.

I’m a dreamer.

I’m living my dream. Might look different to how I saw it 22 years ago, but today, I design my websites, I design my menus, I design my presentations, I design my flyers, I design my posters (all might be shite).

But, I’m not a failed graphic designer.

I’m a publican :)

Tomorrow I’m running the floor.

Come for a coffee, I can promise one thing, It’ll be fun :)

(( probably shite coffee ))

But I can GUARANTEE fun.

Pop in for a coffee. 60 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1HS.

I’ll be there from 6.30am (open at 8am but i’ll treat you)



What an incredible day…

I own an amazing company.

I realised whilst I was away on hols that its not been built by Anthony, Jason or I for sometime now, we’ve been guiding it, but its actually being built by my people. Yesterday & today have brought that home to me, more than ever.

I’ve had some fun. I’ve pulled my 24 hr shift, played with websites and Twitter and Facebook and been in meetings and meetings and meetings, but my guys and girls have been the one’s delivering. And thats what they do, day in, day out.

Today, I believe we have made a difference.

It just takes one.

One match to save a beautiful little girl like this one.


Yaser and Vicki are clearly never going to ever let anyone forget who she is, I actually think she might turn out to be one of the most important little girls lost the World has ever seen with the drive, passion and commitment they have to spread their message. It just takes one. One match.

Its been an absolute privilege to be part of the awareness campaign today. The drum will keep on banging, I’m keeping the yummy websites down until Monday with the takeover pages to tell anyone thats looking for a cracking boozer of mine, just have a look at what you could do first.

If I can be remembered as Keith has made sure Franca is remembered today when I part this big old lump of rock, I’d be skipping around the moon.

Live life. Love life.

Thanks to all of my loons. You’ve been exceptional.

Love ya.



30th July a date to celebrate


Pop in and see us. Pick up one of these wrist bands, have a cuppa or a pint, a natter, then tell everyone you know to look at

Join in our fun. These are my Yummy loons with another load of selfies to come in tomorrow. Tweet us yours @yummypubco #Liveyourlifeday #togethersavinglives

Two beautiful ladies are no longer with us, one had time to build a legacy behind her, one never had the chance, lets see if we can save a life who can go onto give so much back as Franca Knowles has.

Live Your Life.

Be a Hero.













































Today, I will mostly be having a bloody good laugh.

Live Your Life

Tomorrow is going to be a celebration in Yummy with our wider friends in pub World. We’re going to be celebrating life, hell why wouldn’t we, it’s a beautiful thing!

It’s a sad day.

A woman whom I only met on a couple of brief occasions loved life. Since her death I’ve been overwhelmed of how special she was to thousands of people she touched throughout it. Its sad for me because if we had asked Keith to be our chairman earlier, I’m certain she would have become a real inspiration and special person in my life as Keith has become in such a short time. But ironically, the legacy she has left behind which is being celebrated and kept alive through her work and foresight makes me feel as if I knew her far better.  Maybe its testament to them both that they are just some of the special people life produces? Maybe its because life doesn’t make us who we are, we make life?

I love life.

I’m not a passenger in the process, blaming the World around me for my failings, I grab it by the horns and I run with it. My childhood taught me that everything can be taken away from you, because it was, but they are just ‘things’ they can always be replaced – houses, cars, toys, computers, photographs, clothes, gadgets, but people, people can never be replaced.


Franca will be celebrated tomorrow by trying to save other lives. She will be looking down, proud, so proud of her brood and what they are doing. Her husband is a legend, she has turned him into one of the most generous and compassionate people I have ever had the privilege to meet. He can do it because he took life by the horns, gave it a bloody big kick up the arse and has built and still building an amazing business. His passion bleeds into his kids and the people that surround him. I’m honoured to be part of it.

For the next 366 days, starting today, I’m going to challenge my life to do something different, not huge, it’s the detail in life that’s precious and I’m going to love it and live it. Today my boy gave me a cuddle in bed, first thing he asked to do when he woke up, I take that for granted, but not today, its date stamped, recorded, treasured.


Tomorrow I’m going to challenge all of my people in the company I have built to inspire others to do the same. I have an amazing army of loons in Yummy. I’m going to ask them to ask every customer, every tweeter, facebook friend, blogger we meet to send out a really simple message – Together, Saving Lives.


I can’t imagine what the loss of a child can feel like. I know what losing a dad is like, I know what losing close and cherished friends is like, but never seeing one of my boys again, no thank you. That can stay in the box that says ‘do not open’. If either of my two, or indeed Lucy needed anything from me to save their lives, I wouldn’t even hesitate, I’d trade mine to see them flourish in a heart beat.


But people do have to say goodbye and clearly everyone deals with the loss in a different way. For Yasser and Vicki it is to just save one other person from leaving before their time. Maybe the big man upstairs looks down and sees that as futile, but bollocks to him, people that look down from the top should always be prepared for the unplanned to happen, for true inspiration to thrive is just that.


My admiration for them both can’t be put into words, another of life’s special people.

So, go and take a look. How amazing would you feel if you saved a life without having to smash down the door of a burning building, dive of a bridge into ice cold waters, leap in front of a uncontrollable lorry? (even though all of that is pretty barn cool).

Everyone can be a hero.

Even if its just sticking two cotton buds in your mouth for a minute or two, licking an envelope and popping it in the post. What comes after if you are ‘the chosen one’ is just a bit of pain at worst. I’m thinking its like falling off my bike when I was 12, it’s the worst pain I can ever remember (even though technically we can’t actually remember pain, apparently) my face was totally cut up, my knees were bleeding, my elbows were ripped to pieces, but the amazing thing about us humans, is its all gone, healed, not because I’m superman (ssshh) but because I’m healthy (with some added padding that’s being removed by gym and fruit tea currently), I can fight it all, unfortunately there are plenty that can’t.


If you don’t fancy it, just spread the word.

Tell everyone tomorrow about it. Send an email, mention it in a meeting, use the #liveyourlifeday #togethersavinglives – it only takes one match, just one match to be a hero.

When Finny and I left our meeting on Monday to head home after he had been with me for the day he said, “Daddy, when I grow up can I be like Keith?”

Pretty good judge of character my non exec.

I replied “That would be a great thing buddy, but as long as you stick to mum’s dress code.

When I’m gone I hope I can be remembered as Franca is, it’s a stunning legacy.

Live Your Life, doing it saving another would just be Amazing – Together Saving Lives.


Out of bed, into the pig pen…

Its been an emotional week, busy (as normal), but busy building a new future for a pub we all love.

For us its the black sheep of the family, the one we always have problems with, try everything and just don’t know what to do with her. Invest far more time, effort and emotion than a business mind would or should allow, but that’s just us I guess, never one’s to give up.

 This however, is the final roll of the dice & we’re proud as punch.

As always, there is plenty of ‘final fixes’ little things & big things we’ve missed in the development that need attention in the coming days and weeks, but on the surface, the pub now looks smashing. As well as a new interior, we have a stunning new kitchen and garden bar, a fab taproom and a few new faces in the team.

Initial feedback this week is “Jolly well done” its the coming weeks and months that are important now to delight our customers and over deliver on their expectations. If my team pull together, I’m convinced it can happen, they all genuinely love the pub.

Thanks go to Nigel and his team at Sheps, finally some belief that if you invest, you’ll get returns. The pub game has changed significantly even since we entered it as Yummy, you have to create something that customers can love, the ‘experience’ is everything and that is what we are training into our people every single day.


These are being rolled out into Yummy in the coming weeks. I want every single member of my ‘loon army’ to shape Yummy, create tiny changes that ripple to create huge waves of change in my business. I want everyone, no matter their job role to own the business, the customer journey, the experience, because they are what makes us Yummy, not the buildings. I think the more I say it, write it, say it, write it, shout it, the more people will actually believe I mean it.

I’ll be doing a lot more of it, after my holiday :)


The Hobbits enjoying the sun.


The boathouse now looking far more ‘Yummy’


Standing proud in the sunshine


‘Jazz Hands’ photo – thats a keeper :)


The tap room in full flow (my favourite bit of the development)


Young Mark showing how to squeeze lemons #Talent #Concentration

Now its time to get smoking, planting, foraging and cooking. We’re bringing back Ssshh bigger and better than ever, now across three of the pubs, soon to be four and ‘With Love from Our Pantry Pub’ is getting ready to roll out for Christmas, yep, we’re sitting in baking hot sunshine and we’re talking Christmas!! Our how we love hospitality!!

For me, its off for a well earned break with the family. Some sun, a pool, great Tapas and downtime, our year end is this month, its been one hell of a year, I need to recharge the batteries.

10 years in & everyday is a school day

Before Yummy we were BarHub Limited (we still are in some guises) – a ‘hub’ of hospitality excellence! We created that on a beer mat, in a pub, in Lewes (Sussex) on a hot summers evening not too dissimilar to tonight, just short of 10 years ago.

Anthony & I were pissed off with telling other people what they should do to make their businesses really tick. We (naively or not) thought we could do better. In the excitement & flowing beer, we registered Bar Hub Limited on companies house, split the shares (think it was 100 each!) & began a journey into the unknown.

We were right. (of sorts)

In many instances we could do it better. Its not too difficult though, our trade is one of the most undeveloped in the business world, apart from a huge handful of independent retail, which still amazes me to this day, but it shouldn’t. They are individuals. Without huge insight teams, agencies, specialists, budgets, designers, PR agencies, R&D teams……

I walked past a pub tonight we were buying, well leasing. Its been empty for over 9 months. It has a huge potential, but we walked away, even though the goal was personally huge for us, thinking with hearts, not really business. We walked because the landlord wanted more of the ‘pie’. We’ve grown up in the past 10 years, less excited kids, more excited adults. But we still know how to have fun, we’re just not prepared to make bad business choices anymore.

I think that’s what keeps us Yummy.

This Friday we relaunch the Grove, our beautiful Kent manor house, eventually as she should look, well, 90%. It wouldn’t be a business if it was 100% done. I now feel that there is an equal balance between us and landlord, even though they are guaranteed the cash in the bank, that’s how it should be, its now down to us to prove we know what we’re doing. As I write this the site is 90% UP V’s Last Year, that would suggest we’ve made the right choice, the sun however is probably helping our cause.

But, she’s a beaut.






 She’ll now take centre stage for our relaunch of #Ssshh in its new format. Produce my pantry products for all the pubs to sell (which has been a genuine dream of none for the last 4 years) and be capable of hosting over 1000 seated guests in a day! Who said beauty can’t be HUGE?

So, something to look forward too.

Today though has filled me with confidence we have enormous talent in Yummy. A quick photo shoot at The Gorringe produced these on paper, even better in the taste, thanks to my amazing team in the kitchen. I’m so excited about what Drew and Joe can produce as well as teaching Shantel the balance in flavours and the way to create a truly balanced dish. The lamb bangers and aubergine mash was stunning, simply stunning.












As of right now food sales +57% V’s same day last year, no question its in the quality.

So, to bed. Big day tomorrow, up early with Goffa D. day full of sunshine and fun.

Its great owning Yummy right now. Genuinely great.