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Clapham House Group director quits

31 March 2008 by

Clapham House Group development director Sarah Willingham has quit the under-pressure restaurant operator.

Willingham, who joined the Clapham House board in 2004 after the group purchased its third restaurant business Gourmet Burger Kitchen, cited family commitments for her departure.

Willingham was a judge in the first series of Raymond Blanc's reality TV show The Restaurant.](http://www.bbc.co.uk/restaurant/)

Clapham House has been under-pressure from analysts and investors in recent months to focus on its successful Gourmet Burger Kitchen operation at the expense of weaker performing businesses such as Tootsies.

However in a statement the company said its group financial performance would be in line with expectations and ahead of last year's.

It added that recent actions at Tootsies, including the introduction of new menus, had been well received and it was "encouraged" by resultant trading, especially at its refurbished high street estate where sales had picked up.

Clapham House has also signed a contract to open its first Tootsies restaurant in a UK regional airport.

Paul Campbell, chief executive of Clapham House Group who has assumed Willingham's duties, told Caterersearch: "We plan to expand all our businesses in the next financial year at rates appropriate for their stages of development and the current economic climate. We love all our businesses."

Clapham House urged to narrow its brand focus>>

Clapham House confident of Gourmet Burger Kitchen success>>

Raymond Blanc returns with second series of The Restaurant>>

By Gemma Sharkey

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