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Acorn winners 2016: Rakesh Mistry, 28

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Rakesh Mistry, 28

Hotel manager, Premier Inn T5, London Heathrow, Whitbread

Nominated by Gary Villiers, cluster general manager, Premier Inn

Proudest moment "My promotion to hotel manager of the third-largest Premier Inn in the world, having progressed up the ranks from being a team member from the age of 16."

Greatest inspiration "As a huge football fan I draw inspiration from Sir Alex Ferguson."

Ambition "To become an area manager within Premier Inn. Long-term, I would like to own my own contemporary café-bar."

In 2006, Mistry took a four-year break from Whitbread, gaining valuable restaurant expertise with the Restaurant Group's Frankie & Benny's brand, where he went from assistant manager to general manager.

Today, he is back at Whitbread and hotel manager of Premier Inn T5, the company's third-largest property worldwide with 400-bedrooms and the brand's only room service operation. It generates more than £8m a year and Mistry is responsible for 115 staff and the 120,000 rooms-per-year British Airways crew contract.

Mistry has delivered remarkable results since joining the Heathrow cluster in 2014. The 91% team engagement score was one of the highest results within Whitbread in 2014/15. He also reduced guest complaints by 40% and drove efficiencies to deliver 110% profit.

Team development is high on his agenda, too. He has, for instance, helped three graduates to move into management.

And he is particularly active in helping attract young people into the industry. His support includes working with the Springboard Charity to offer more than 30 work placements, and volunteering as a Mosaic mentor for students at Feltham Community College for six weeks.

Somehow, Mistry has also found time to undertake a secondment, overseeing two hotels with revenue of over £10m for five months.

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