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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Adam Elliott, Lindley Group

06 December 2012 by
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Adam Elliott, Lindley Group

Overall ranking 66 (NEW ENTRY)
Contract caterer ranking: 10 (NEW ENTRY)

Adam Elliott - Snapshot
As chief executive of Lindley Group, Adam Elliott oversees an independent contract catering company that specialises in venue and event catering at stadiums, arenas, racecourses, museums, art galleries, visitor attractions and theatres. The caterer was set up in Stoke-on-Trent in 1968 and in terms of relative size, as a sports sector operator it is reckoned to be second after Compass.

Adam Elliott - Career Guide
Elliott's career started as site manager at Little Chef in 1980, where he worked for 14 years. He then spent nine years in the grocery retail sector working as a senior operations manager and subsequently trading & retail specialist with Sainsbury's. He then spent two years in the pub-casual dining business from 2003 as chief executive of Jim Thompson's and Dragon Inns, part of Noble House Leisure.

Elliott stepped into the post of chief executive at Lindley Group in September 2010. He joined from Elior, where he had worked his way up from managing director at its stadia business Azure in 2005 through the role of divisional director to managing director concessions.

After his first year at Lindley Group, in March 2011, the company was restructured. Lindley Stadia and Lindley Dining operations were merged to form Lindley Venue Catering, which focuses on sports venues, and Lindley Heritage, which was launchedthe same time and targets museums, art galleries, theatres and visitor attractions.

Both operate alongside Heathcotes Outside and Green's of St James's. Heathcotes Outside, an event catering business, was acquired in 2006 from chef Paul Heathcote, and Greens was created from a partnership with London fish restaurant group Greens in 2008.

Lindley Heritage notched up three contract wins and one early contract extension, including the Hepworth Wakefield gallery; Malvern Theatres; and the Theatre Royal Bath.

Lindley Group has a turnover of £55m and employs 500 full-time and 15,000 part-time employees. Over the past decade, the group has been steadily building recognition in the hospitality and fine dining market with some £15m of turnover now generated from non-match day conference and banqueting sales.

Adam Elliott - What we think
Elliott has spent two years revitalizing this already vibrant business. He's overseen a number of changes, including streamlining the stadia operations so that the public catering and hospitality are now managed by one team instead of two. He has also refocused attention on training, for instance setting up master classes for chefs and senior managers with Paul Heathcote.

One of his biggest achievements, however, has been to refresh the business by launching Lindley Heritage in March 2011 to break into the prestige hospitality market at arts & leisure and heritage sites. It was a confident move, based on his assessment that the sector needed new players and that the company needed to make better use of the Heathcotes Outside and Greens divisions.

Elliott set out to deliver two or three smallish good-quality heritage sites in the first year and then start to build, but momentum began quite quickly. The division has already bagged a three-year deal to deliver public and staff catering services at Warner Bros' new "Making of Harry Potter" tour in London.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Nottinghamshire County FC and Watford Football Club.

Under Elliott, the company also rolled out a range of successful branded, food retail concepts at sports stadia, with Tottenham Hotspur FC's White Hart Lane Stadium the first to benefit resulting in an 18% increase in total cash takings. The coming year should be equally exciting for the company under Elliott.

The Caterer and Hotelkeeper Interview: Adam Elliott >>

Lindley takes over at Brighton and Hove Albion >>

Lindley launches branded retail concepts >>

Adam Elliott joins Lindley Group as CEO >>

Lindley wins £20m contract at Tottenham Hotspur FC >>

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