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Acorn winner 2007: Ian Smith

10 May 2007
Acorn winner 2007: Ian Smith

Age: 27
Position: General manager, Mill of Mundurno Brewers Fayre and Aberdeen North Premier Travel Inn

Career to date

Smith started with Whitbread in 1997, working part time at a Brewers Fayre in Motherwell while still a university student. Taking a trainee assistant manager role at the site two years later, he worked there for two-and-a-half years before being given an assistant manager's post at the Buchanan Gate in Glasgow. After another stay of two-and-a-half years, he left to take up his current position: he manages the adjacent Premier Travel Inn in addition to the busy pub-restaurant and handles a team of 40 staff.

Why is he a winner?

Smith is widely regarded as the best general manager across Whitbread's 400-strong pub-restaurant estate. It was a result of the company's faith in his abilities that he was promoted directly from an assistant manager's post to manager of such a large site.

Since moving into management, Smith has won a lot of respect from his colleagues by leading by example - lapping up training and development opportunities and regularly working 60- to 70-hour weeks. And he hasn't disappointed in his current role, last year winning Whitbread's pub restaurant of the year award.

Smith has dramatically improved staff morale at the Mill of Mundurno through his natural communication skills and focus on training, resulting in a reduction in staff turnover. A focus on raising standards has resulted in a drop-off in the number of complaints, which are now a quarter of what they were. These improvements have also translated into revenue growth, with weekly sales quickly rising by £2,000, or 8.5%. In the latest figures total sales are up by 24% year-on-year, with room occupancy up 6.6%.

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