Acorn winners 2016: Holly Eggleton, 29

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Holly Eggleton, 29

Owner and front of house manager, the Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol

Nominated by Caitlin Sewell, account executive, Plaster Creative Communications

Proudest moment "Probably making it to 10 years at the Pony & Trap. My brother Josh, my family and I worked hard after we took it over and I'm so proud of what we've achieved together."

Greatest inspiration "My family. My mum and dad run their own business and have always pushed me to be entrepreneurial and keep going. Josh is also hard-working and we push each other on."

Ambition "To keep improving the Pony & Trap and our other restaurant, Salt & Malt, and to make them as good as they can be."

In 2006, after a stint at Hotel du Vin Bristol managing functions for 25-75 people, Holly Eggleton did what very few 19 year olds do. Along with brother Josh, a chef, she opened a country pub, the Pony & Trap.

What's more, it has been hugely successful. By 2011 it had won a Michelin star and by 2016 it was turning over £1.5m a year, up from £105,000 a decade earlier.

Demonstrating her shrewd business sense, Eggleton and her brother went on to open Salt & Malt in February 2015. This fish restaurant, tea room and takeaway in Chew Valley, a short walk from the Pony & Trap, has gone from an annual turnover of £350,000 to £1.5m within a year. It also boasts an ice-cream parlour and a 200-seat outdoor area overlooking a lake. Eggleton also oversees up to 20 functions a year with the company's wedding catering business, the Pony Kitchen.

Keen to share some of her good fortune, she pledged 100 work experience placements across the businesses as part of the Big Hospitality Conversation last year. She also regularly gives inspirational career talks to hospitality students at the City of Bristol College.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Eggleton's talents have already been recognised, and in 2015 she was named Front of House Manager of the Year at the Top 50 Gastro Pubs awards.

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