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Acorn winners 2017: Phil Hornby

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Acorn winners 2017: Phil Hornby

Head of public operations, Fabulous Fan Fayre (F3), Etihad Stadium

Nominated by Orazio Pollaci, head of marketing, One Event Management

Proudest moment “Having spent eight years learning my trade in smaller-sized venues, to be offered my current role with F3 in the home of Manchester City was an amazing opportunity.”

Greatest inspiration “Chef John Benson-Smith, who always makes himself available to give me advice and guidance.”

Ambition “To learn as much as possible through working on major global sporting events, such as the Volvo Ocean Race, which I worked on in Gothenburg last year. It’s all about making the most of opportunities.”

After graduating with a degree in business and marketing from the University of Hull, Phil Hornby kicked off his career as retail catering manager at the KC Stadium, Hull. He overhauled public catering and introduced a new training programme, resulting in a 15% revenue boost and 85% staff retention for two seasons.

It was a remarkable start. By 2013, he was public manager at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, having joined F3, a joint venture between One Event Management and Legends of the US, which provides match day and non-match day catering. This year he was promoted to his current role, managing a team of six that rises to 700 on match days.

His impact at Etihad has been tangible. In 2016, for instance, he delivered record F&B revenues of more than £8m and has increased spend per head from £2.40 in 2013 to more than £3 in 2017. He also introduced an employee engagement programme for match day staff.

But his triumphs are not all about the bottom line. Hornby offers Stockport College catering students paid work experience and he has launched F3’s Not for Profit programme, an industry-first fundraising incentive for charities. His hard work led to F3 and Manchester City FC scooping the 2016 Best Football Club Hospitality Award at the Football Business Awards, and he is now studying for the Chartered Management Institute level 6 in management and leadership.

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