Overall ranking: 49 (new entry)
Pub and bar operator ranking: 12 (new entry)
Lee Cash and Hamish Stoddart co-founded the Peach Pub Company in 2002, transforming their first pub, the Rose & Crown in Warwick, from a down-at-heel boozer into an award-winning business renowned for high-quality food and drink. Peach now has 18 gastropubs and has won many awards for its food, service and people, including the Pub and Bar Catey in 2012. The model, which sees Peach work with owner-operators and joint venture partners to give them a share in the success of their business, marks the company out as a genuine innovator in the pub and restaurant sectors.
What we think
Cash started his career at the Bath Spa hotel under the guidance of Robin Sheppard. From there, he moved to Le Petit Blanc in Oxford and then to manage the flagship Le Petit Blanc in Birmingham, where his mentors were Raymond Blanc and Sunil Punjabi.
Stoddart is a management all-rounder with experience in logistics, finance, sales and marketing. After qualifying as an accountant with Coopers & Lybrand, he joined food distributor Cearns & Brown. When the company was sold to Brake Bros, Stoddart joined other entrepreneurs setting up restaurant businesses before deciding to start one of his own.
At Peach's 20 pubs, Cash and Stoddart have put into practice what other businesses pay lip service to: a genuine opportunity for dedicated people to share in the upside of their hard work as well as the risk.
The joint venture scheme is a share structure that hands out a big percentage of the company's profit to the people who made it. Peach has several investor partners running their own successful pubs, with another five or six people in every pub on profit-sharing schemes.
The business has picked up awards such as The Caterer's Best Places to Work in Hospitality, The Morning Advertiser's Top 150 Best Food Offer two years running, two Acorns, an Acorn Scholarship, and Observer Food Monthly awards for its bars and Sunday lunches, as well as that Pub & Bar Catey in 2012.
In its latest accounts, the Peach Pub Company enjoyed a year-on-year rise in like-for-like revenue of nearly 5% despite "challenging trading conditions", although profits have dipped slightly. Turnover hit £25.1m for the year to 8 January 2017, up from £24.8m the year before. While this represents a 1.2% rise in turnover overall, Peach said that because the previous year contained 54 weeks, as opposed to the 52 in 2016/17, it represented "true" like-for-like annual growth of 4.8%.
Meanwhile, the group's normal operations EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) was down from £2.8m in 2015 (once again including 54 weeks) to just over £2.5m in 2016/17.
The partners have been meticulous in building up an estate of high-quality pubs that regularly feature in respected guides like Michelin and Sawday's. Selecting those sites can be an exhaustive process, as Cash explained in a Money Week interview: "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find just the right one," he said.
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