Sarah has worked for 25 years in the Hospitality Industry, starting life on ‘wash-up’ in a restaurant kitchen and working her way up through various exciting roles: Operations and Property Director of Costa Coffee during its early expansion with Whitbread; Franchise and Training Director working in the casual dining sector for Yum Brands (then Pepsico) in Southern Europe; running an estate of 200 pubs; working on ‘turnarounds’, and jointly founding, operating and selling her own 8 strong restaurant group, Santa fe restaurants. Over this time Sarah has forged and consolidated strong links and deep friendships within the industry.
A seasoned veteran at this point, Sarah took on a different challenge where she was able to use these many relationships and her extensive restaurant experience to help formulate and implement the food and beverage strategy for Hammerson Plc. As a major property owner and manager, Hammerson has developed some of the most prestigious retail shopping malls in the UK and France. Firstly as a consultant and then as a full time employee, her last 10 years have been in this role as a ‘poacher turned gamekeeper.’
The core of Sarah’s work entailed creating and delivering the food and beverage strategy on several high profile projects. These included the recent restaurant and leisure development in West Quay, Southampton and the earlier conversion of the food court on the upper level of the West Quay shopping centre; the Wintergarden leisure and restaurant project in Silverburn, Glasgow; the restaurant hub in St Peter’s Square in HighCross, Leicester; the extension to the food offer in Grand Central, Birmingham and Bullring’s cluster of restaurants opposite the landmark St Martin’s church. In her home town of Reading, she has worked steadily over several years on refreshing the tenant mix on Oracle’s Riverside, which co-incidentally was home to the most successful of her Sante fe restaurants. Her last project at Hammerson was to advise on the long term leisure strategy for London’s Brent Cross shopping centre.
Much of the development work above has added value to the Assets as well as increased footfall, a fundamental ingredient for the success of both retailers and leisure operators alike. Working with existing tenants within the schemes, she has been able to improve on-going relationships, introduce and advise new concepts, negotiate support for struggling operators and improve tenant mix to ensure long term sustainability of the overall food and leisure offer.