Alexander Salussolia is managing director of Glendola Leisure Group — one of the UK’s leading independent private pub and restaurant operators.
He’ll be appearing alongside the Yummy Pub Co’s Tim Foster, Brian Keeley-Whiting, MD of Whiting & Hammond, and Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The ALMR, to discuss ‘Are we growing our pubs or saving our pubs?’ on the show’s opening day.
What do you see as key trends for the casual dining sector in the coming year?
Recruitment challenges, environmental consciousness, and the growth in dietary lifestyle choices — such as dairy, gluten and protein free options.
What do you feel is the key for operators, like you, to successfully compete against your competitors?
It’s fundamentally one of two things:
Having a real difference that counts in your locality. Doing something in a way no one else is doing, that your Market actually wants.
OR Being absolutely best in class in your locality.
This can only be sustained by an expert staff, awesome product and fabulous design.
Who or what inspires you to be even better?
School Fees! We live in an age of change and I think you have to bring that to work every day. Challenge yourself with the question “how do you stay relevant” and have a healthy proportion of fear that you can become a Dinosaur very quickly!!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s a greater skill knowing when and how to exit a poor performing site, than it is to acquire new sites!
Describe the casual dining trade show in 3 words:
How important is the Casual Dining trade show to you and the sector?
Casual dining has set the bar for customer expectations of food everywhere, but especially in pubs. For that reason any pub operator that sells food needs to know where the casual dining market is going!
Can you tell us a bit about your much anticipated session at Casual Dining 2018?
Really much anticipated! On a serious note, the Pub sector has seen its cycle of debt injection that fuelled massive expansion into the high street and city centres, has navigated its way through draconian legislation, which ultimately gave authorities greater power to control and change consumer habits, became over saturated as a market, readjusted itself as markets do when supply outstrips demand, which forced the best to become more efficient.
The questions should be: “Where is casual dining in this cycle” and “Are there any lessons that can be learnt with hindsight from the pub sector”.
See Alexander at Casual Dining 2018
Are we growing our pubs or saving our pubs? 4.15pm in the Keynote Theatre on Wednesday 21 February. The session will feature Alexander Salussolia, MD of Glendola Leisure Group; Brian Keeley-Whiting, MD of Whiting & Hammond; Tim Foster, owner & head of being awesome at Yummy Pub Co; and (host) Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The ALMR.