Interview - Matt Saunders, Managing Director and co-founder of the Fat Cat Group

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management

Who is he? Managing Director and co-founder of the Fat Cat Group, with Simon Patterson, which has 12 café/bars nationwide. They started the Bluu concept in 1999 and sold it to Marston's Pub Company last year. They used to own the Red House .

Who is he? Managing Director and co-founder of the Fat Cat Group, with Simon Patterson, which has 12 café/bars nationwide. They started the Bluu concept in 1999 and sold it to Marston's Pub Company last year. They used to own the Red House boutique hotel in Nether Broughton, Leicesteshire, which they also sold last year.

How did he get into the industry? He studied for a business degree at West London Polytechnic, wanting to start a business but not knowing what in until he got a job as a barman, loved it and opened the fi rst Fat Cat in Bangor in 1992.

How did he get started? He and Simon scraped together £42,000 and borrowed from family, including Saunders' mum and aunt, who retain a small stake today.

How much is he worth? The Marston's deal brought £8.1m and Red House £1m.

Last year, the 12 Fat Cat Cafés had a total turnover of £10m.

Best piece of advice?

"When we were about to open Red House, Revolution bar founder Neil Macleod questioned my sanity in terms of time and effort running three brands and suggested we stick to one."

Who does he admire in the industry? Macleod, Roy Ellis, also of Revolution, and Tim Bacon of Living Ventures because "we all started at about the same time and we all took different routes".

Most important thing he's learnt? Preparation needed before selling a business. "We put Bluu up for sale in January and it sold in July. They were the hardest six months because we hadn't got the business ready to sell prior to that. If I were ever to sell Fat Cat I'd need 18 months to prepare."

Biggest mistake he's ever made? "Probably trying to run three brands through one company."

Future plans? To open three more Fat Cats in the next two years in Derby, Oxford and Bristol.

Saunders and Patterson have set up the Mole Face Pub Company, under which they will open the Larwood and Voce gastropub in Westbridford, Nottingham, in May.

They plan to open four to fi ve gastropubs in the next fi ve years.

Related topics: People

Related news

Spotlight

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers