James specialises in working with various Boards to support small and medium sized hospitality companies to develop the skills and systems to enable them to achieve critical mass and to deliver successful investment performance for the shareholders.
James has a 'hands on' pragmatic approach to building businesses.
James started his career as a kitchen porter and worked for THF Hotels from a very young age. He was the youngest management trainee to ever be offered an apprenticeship programme. After a number of promotions, James held Food and Beverage management roles at hotels such as The Old England Hotel in Bowness on Windermere and The Berystede Hotel in Ascot.
James then transferred to THF's roadside division and became the youngest Regional Director at the age of 24. After a period of sustained profit growth, James was headhunted to join Lord Charles Allen at Granada Hospitality in 1992. This period of extensive development and acquisition, resulted in James being responsible for a business with annual sales of £210m and 2,700 employees. During this period, James was acknowledged as one of the Industry's future leaders with an Acorn Award for high achievers under the age of 30.
In 1995, James joined City Centre Restaurants Plc (now The Restaurant Group Plc) to set up and develop the Frankie & Benny's brand. After a poor start, Frankie & Benny's was re-launched in Feltham, Leeds, Glasgow and Aberdeen as a re-modelled New York Italian Restaurant & bar casual dining business and has now become an institution to many millions of families throughout the UK.
At 65 restaurants, James wanted to go it alone. In 2001, he acquired the 16 strong La Tasca Spanish restaurant business with backing from Penta Capital and Bank of Scotland for £28m. In 2004, James was awarded the very prestigious Catey Award for Group Restaurateur of the Year. The business was successfully floated on the AIM market in 2005 for £54m and subsequently sold in spring 2007 to R2O for £134m when it had reached 74 trading restaurants across three brands and 2 continents. James left once the sale had been completed.
James is CEO of 3Sixty Restaurants Ltd which has 16 Ego restaurants and pubs throughout the Midlands and North of England. The fresh Mediterranean offering of classic dishes served by friendly staff in well maintained, friendly environments in neighbourhoods has been very successful.
James is non-executive Chairman of Cartwheel Recruitment Ltd, a full time permanent management hospitality recruitment business based in London, Nottingham and Milton Keynes.
James is non-executive Chairman of Ping Pong Restaurants Ltd, the award winning premium casual dining group serving dim sum, cocktails and chinese tea.
James is non-executive Chairman of Notes Coffee the nine strong London based artisan coffee and wine shop which also has its own roastery in Canning Town.
James also has an investment in Leon Restaurants Ltd and recently invested in Corazon, the new taqueria located on Poland Street in London.
James is a life patron of Springboard, a charity that encourages young people to work within the hospitality industry and is leading the restaurant campaign. James is the founder patron of the Fifty Twenty Food Service Network which brings together a network of entrepreneurial hospitality leaders together on a twice a year basis.
James enjoys life, loves to see people develop and succeed and enjoys delivering strong returns for investors in the hospitality industry.