General manager, the Kings Arms and the Penny Farthing hotels, Berkhamsted (Oakman Inns & Restaurants)
Nominator Alex Ford, operations director
Proudest moment “The turnaround of one of Oakman’s worst-performing sites, creating a friendly, re-engaged culture at the Beech House, Beaconsfield, resulting in sales increasing by 17.5% year-on-year and 90% staff retention.”
Biggest inspiration “Oakman chief executive and founder Peter Borg-Neal, who has passion, drive and vision, and has put time, effort and resources into training his 800-plus staff.”
Ambition “To run my own empire, using the best produce, delivering great service and creating a place for individuals to work and grow.”
At 21, Aaron Kibble was learning fast under past Acorn winners Dafydd Bretherton and Owain Lloyd Jones at Peach Pubs’ the Old Mill, Berkhamsted, where he ran the bar.
He joined Oakman’s front of house in 2013. Within 18 months, he was deputy general manager and attracting notice on the company’s Future Leader course. In 2016, he moved from a holding general manager role at the Akeman, Tring, to general manager of the Beech House, Beaconsfield, where he turned around an under-performing site.
He has promoted six staff to senior roles, including a restaurant supervisor who became a general manager, pushing staff retention up to 90%. He boosted the business side, too, recording increases of 17.5% in sales, 8.5% in outlet profit, an increase in drink gross profit of 2.8%, food gross profit growth of 4.1%, and a net margin gain of 7.5%.
Kibble runs Oakman’s biggest site across the Kings Arms and the Penny Farthing, comprising a total of 33 hotel rooms, a function room, bar and restaurant. He has achieved five-star EHO scores and 90% plus in H&S audits. Last period, he set Oakman’s record sales for a single day, at £24,329, a rise of £5,000, and end-of-week sales at £100,550, a rise of £20,000.
Kibble has achieved The Times Best Companies top score and gained an 8/10 rating in The Telegraph critic’s review, helping the Kings Arms to outscore prestigious local rival hotels.