Overall ranking: 30 (new entry)
Restaurateur ranking: 10 (new entry)
What we think
Roberts was managing a hotel in St Helens on Merseyside when he asked Bacon to oversee the bar area. The pair ended up becoming great friends and formed a very successful business partnership.
Bacon was something of a giant on the hospitality scene and his death from cancer in 2016 aged just 52 prompted a flood of tributes from across the industry. His passing could have left a huge hole in the Living Ventures business, but Roberts stood ready to enact plans the pair had come up with to cope with life after Bacon, and he has shown that he has been able to keep the business not just steady, but growing, in challenging circumstances.
"I miss him very much," Roberts told the Manchester Evening News in 2016. "We went back a long way and I've lost a true friend." He explained that they had spent 12 months putting things in place when it became clear that Bacon's health was worsening. "We both knew things weren't looking too good for him health-wise, he was worried and started to make lots of plans. That was Tim, ever the planner, always having a strategy. Now I'm going to make the plans a reality - it's business as usual for Living Ventures.
"It isn't the seismic event it might look like from the outside, Tim was a very intelligent guy and, before he died, he prepared the business, and me, for this day and I don't think for one minute the dynamic of Living Ventures will change."
With plenty of financial clout, thanks to Palatine's backing of two of its major brands, Living Ventures under Roberts looks set to keep growing. Openings so far this year have included a new Alchemist in Nottingham, while Gusto continues to target the south for expansion.
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