North of England’s hospitality power list announced for 2018

Picture of the winners of Top Fifty at NRB

Northern Restaurant and Bar Show (NRB) predicts rise in ‘indies’ in 2018/19

THE NRB Top Fifty is a power list of the North’s most influential hospitality operators. Long established names and nine new entries make up the list covering 216 brands, 1194 sites and over 22,200 employees.

New entries in 2018 include the founders and directors of Bundobust, Camerons Brewery, Wildsmith Hotels, Crafted Projects, Mowgli Street Food, Amber Taverns, James’ Places, East Coast Concepts & Rose Four Group.

Three special achievement awards were presented to Jobe Ferguson, Ross Mackenzie, and Lyndon Higginson from Black Dog and Liars Club, Simon Potts of The Alchemist, and Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft from Arc Inspirations.

A panel of judges consisting of Northern hospitality experts in the fields of hospitality finance, accountancy, property, law and consultancy, said the trio running the Black Dog and Liars Club have a complex portfolio and despite their unique impact on the region’s food and drink landscape are only just beginning to click through the gears.

L-R: Thom Hetherington (NRB), Jobe Ferguson, Lyndon Higginson (Black Dog/Liars Group) and Tony Lyons (Kuits)
L-R: Thom Hetherington (NRB), Jobe Ferguson, Lyndon Higginson (Black Dog/Liars Group) and Tony Lyons (Kuits)


Simon Potts, The Alchemist, runs the award-winning brand that has expanded rapidly without a single mis-step. It is deemed to have a pioneering approach to everything from marketing to CSR which has had other operators playing catch-up.

Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft, Arc Inspirations, were commended for their ability to build a sizable and multi-faceted business steadily and organically, without the need for significant outside funding.

Thom Hetherington, CEO of organisers Holden Media, said: “Despite tremors in the casual dining market our NRB Top 50 entrants have shown no shortage of ambition. Almost every one of the fifty has grand plans for expansion and new sites, and I am sure that 2018/19 will see a ‘rise of the indies’ which will play to the strengths of our great Northern operators.”

The top fifty become part of the NRB Top 50 Alumni association as well as receiving VIP invitations to events including the exclusive Bruntwood NRB Debate and the Too Many Critics Manchester dinner.

(Listed alphabetically by surname and grouped by company – new entries in bold)

Sax Arshad, Director, Zanna Group
Haz Arshad, Director, Zanna Group
Adele, Ashley, Owner / Head Chef, Filmore & Union
Paul Askew, Chef Patron, The Art School
Rob Bacon, Executive Chef Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse
Jason Bligh, Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse
Neil McDonnell, Managing Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse
John Welsh, Operations Director, Hickory’s Smokehouse
James Baer, Managing Director, Amber Taverns
Gary Roberts, Operations Director, Amber Taverns
Craig Bancroft, Managing Director, Northcote
Nigel Haworth, Chef Patron, Northcote
Tim Bird, Owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars
Mary Mclaughlin, Owner, Cheshire Cat Pub & Bars
Ken Buckley, Managing Director, Bravo Inns
Phil Dearden, Finance Director, Bravo Inns
Maurice Camm, James’ Places
Helen Warburton, James’ Places
James Warburton, James’s Places
Marie Carter, Director, Beautiful Drinks
Beau Myers, Director, Beautiful Drinks
Paul Cogan, Group Finance & Resources Director, Betty & Taylors Group
Rachel Fellow, Group Communications Director, Betty & Taylors Group
Philip Hanson, Non Exec Director, Betty & Taylors Group
Clare Morrow, Non Exec Director, Betty & Taylors Group
Berenice Smith, Non Exec Director, Betty & Taylors Group
Lesley Wild, Chair of the Board, Betty & Taylors Group
Sarah Cook, Director, Vaulkhard Group
Harry Vaulkhard, Director, Vaulkhard Group
Oliver Vaulkhard, Director, Vaulkhard Group
Morgan Davies, Founder / CEO, Barburrito
Stewart Davies, Group Operations Director, GG Hospitality
Ryan Giggs, Director, GG Hospitality
Gary Neville, Director, GG Hospitality
Michael O’Hare, Creative Director, GG Hospitality and Chef Patron, The Man Behind the Curtain
Carlo Distefano, Chairman, San Carlo Group
Marcello Distefano, Managing Director, San Carlo Group
James Douglas, Co Owner / Director, Reds True BBQ
Scott Munro, Co Owner / Director, Reds True BBQ
Roy Ellis, Director, Mission Mars
Neil Macleod, Director, Mission Mars
Dan Mullen, Director, Mission Mars
Joel Wilkinson, Director, Mission Mars
Adelaide Winter, Director, Mission Mars
John Ennis, Owner, Graffiti Spirit
Matthew, Farrell, Owner, Graffiti Spirit
Nick, Thomas, Owner, Graffiti Spirit
Jobe Ferguson, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club
Lyndon Higginson, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club
Ross Mackenzie, Director, Blackdog Ballroom & The Liars Club
Kit Graves, Director, Lake District Hotels
Charles Graves, Director, Lake District Hotels
Dani Hope, Sales & Marketing Director, Lake District Hotels
John Gyngell, Director, North Bar / North Brewing Company
Christian Townsley, Director, North Bar / North Brewing Company
Jamie Hawksworth, Owner, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co
Jonathon Holdsworth, Founder, Pivovar / The Tapped Brew Co
Chris Hill, Managing Director, New World Trading Company
James Hitchen, Founder, East Coast Concepts
Guy Hitchen, Founder, East Coast Concepts
Chris Hopkins, MD, Hydes Brewery
Marko Husak, Founder, Bundobust
Mayur Patel, Founder, Bundobust
Matthew Jones, Managing Director, Jones Bar Group
Ben Jones, Operations & Finance Director, Jones Bar Group
Ban Kaewkraikhot, Owner / head Chef, Sukhothai
Kim Kaewkraikhot, Chairwoman, Thai Leisure Group
Martin Stead, Owner, Thai Leisure Group
Ashley Kollakowski, Rose Four Group
Simon Stevens, Rose Four Group
Barry Ladhar, Crafted Projects
Michael Ladhar, Crafted Projects
Terry Laybourne, Owner, 21 Hospitality Group
William Lees Jones, Managing Director, JW Lees
Nisha Katona, Founder, Mowgli Street Food
Tomas Maunier, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill
Robert Melman, Director, Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill
Paul Moran, Managing Director, Living Ventures
Jeremy Roberts, CEO, Living Ventures
Lucy Nelson, Sales & Marketing Director, Nelson Hotels
Andrew Nelson, Operations Director, Nelson Hotels
Joycelyn Neve, Managing Director, Seafood Pub Company
Andrew Pern, Owner / Executive Chef, The Star at Harome/Star Inn The City
Steve Pilling, Co Owner, Damson Group
Simon Stanley, Co Owner, Damson Group
Jonathan Poole, Director, Red and Blue
Paddy Smith, Director, Red and Blue
Simon Potts, Managing Director, The Alchemist Bar & Restaurant
Oliver Robinson, Managing Director, Frederic Robinson
Simon Rogan, Co Owner, Umbel Restaurant Group
Chris Soley, Chief Executive, Camerons Brewery
David Soley, Chairman, Camerons Brewery
Franco Sotgiu, Co Owner, Solita
Chris Ure, Owner, Arc Inspirations
Martin Wolstencroft, Managing Director / Owner, Arc Inspirations
Gary Usher, Owner, Sticky Walnut
Steven Walker, CEO, Individual Restaurants
Andrew Wildsmith, Founder, Wildsmith Hotels

Picture of Northern Restaurant and Bar Show


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