Interview with Harwood Warrington, Operations Director for Urban & Country Leisure

Posted By Martin Jones

24 July 2015 - 12:54pm

Who are you and what is your current job role?

I am the Operations Director for Urban & Country Leisure which is a group of 10 food led pubs and boutique hotel business. ‘The Lazy Cow’ is our hottest business coming from a food led pub concept to a top quality, sensationally designed steak & ale house with boutique hotel rooms that are sensibly priced. Due to the overwhelming success we are continuing the opening plan of another 10-15 sites over the next two years.

How did you get to this position…what was the pathway and what did you do before?

Before I joined UCL I developed the Merchant Inns business from 1 to 10 gastro pubs. I have been involved in a number of food led operations with Noble House & Whitbread coming from a background of private hotels after catering college.

What are the challenges in this job?

Ensuring we have a consistently highly motivated team who are enthusiastic, confident, well trained and rewarded for the efforts they put in. Inspiring your team and attracting new talent is also one of the most rewarding parts of what I do.

Who has influenced you the most in your career and why?

I have not really had one particular ‘guru’ that helped and inspired me throughout my career. I have to rely on a lifetime of working experience and absolute gut feel that my businesses remain fresh and cutting edge.

What do you do to switch off?

I like to spend time with my family, watching the kids playing sport be it rugby, cricket or being the proud father watching his son in the under twelve’s England karate team. Any Pearls of Wisdom or strategies for success that you would like to share? You need to focus on looking after the great talent around you. Inspire, support and encourage innovation every day.

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