By snapping up underperforming businesses in East Anglia and bringing in investment, the Chestnut Group has built a multifarious brand in just five years. At the head of it all is founder Philip Turner, who left a high flying banking job in the city before taking the leap into hospitality in 2012, founding the group which he refuses to define as a pub, restaurant or hotel business.
The Packhorse Inn was the first to come into the fold when Turner spotted an opportunity to transform the fortunes of the Packhorse Inn near Newmarket. Fast forward a few years and the East-Anglian-based group’s portfolio has grown to six businesses, with excess 130 employees, including newest acquisition the Black Lion in Melford, which was taken over in August 2017.
2018 will be an iconic year for the hospitality group. In 2016 it was announced the completion of a £2.5m capital-raising initiative, which would go towards helping the brand to achieve a target of 10 sites by the end of this year.
Since the first acquisition in 2012, Turner has been fuelled by a clear vision and ambition of what he wanted each property and the wider portfolio to be, while still managing to be reactive to trends and consumer demands.
“The ambition of the brand is to encapsulate every single feature of what a hospitality experience could be and make sure we do it to the best of our abilities in each area,” he said in an interview last year.
Recognising that people are at the heart of every successful service business, Turner spearheaded the launch of the Chestnut Academy in 2015, to provide vocational training for people seeking a career in hospitality management.