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Acorn winners 2017: Dominic Heywood

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Written by:
Acorn winners 2017: Dominic Heywood

Founder, Flat Cap Hotels

Nominated by Leyla Pinarbasi, PR account executive, Perception

Proudest moment “I have pride in the end product. We ran head-first at developing derelict sites that had been closed for many years and were naive about the amount of sweat and tears required. So it makes me chuckle when I see a full restaurant and think back to how it looked a few years earlier.”

Greatest inspiration “My father, Peter. He is resilient, has an infectious determination and a great eye for detail.”

Ambition “The past few years have been about developing and opening our two sites, so now I would like to see them come to fruition. However, it is a moving picture, so there is always something to change or develop.”

Dominic Heywood revealed his mettle when, at the age of 20, he became operations manager at the Fossebridge Inn in Gloucestershire, employing new staff and management and stabilising trading before growing revenues.

By the time he was 24 he had launched a new hotel group, Flat Cap Hotels, with his brother, Oliver. The focus of the company is to rejuvenate iconic derelict sites and to create local employment. To this end, he works closely with local schools, colleges, universities and councils, providing part-time and full-time roles, internships, work experience, apprenticeships and NVQ programmes across all of the group’s departments.

Of the two hotels acquired to date, the Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, has created 40 part-time and full-time jobs and the soon-to-be-opened Courthouse in Knutsford, Cheshire, will create 60 new jobs.

It was Heywood who project-managed the successful planning application for the Courthouse in 2016 and created an operational structure for the hotel. Its acquisition was partly financed by a private investor and partly through the success of the Vicarage, which delivered more than £1m revenue in its first year, with an operating profit of 34.5% EBITDA ahead of forecast and budget.

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