Interview - Roger Ward, Co-owner of The Victorian Chop House Company

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Manchester

Who is he? Co-owner, with partner Steve Pilling, of The Victorian Chop House Company, the fi rst restaurant of which – Sam's in Manchester – opened in 2000. Since then another Sam's Chop House has opened in Leeds and there is also .

Who is he? Co-owner, with partner Steve Pilling, of The Victorian Chop House Company, the fi rst restaurant of which – Sam's in Manchester – opened in 2000.

Since then another Sam's Chop House has opened in Leeds and there is also a Mr Thomas's Chop House in Manchester.

How did he get into the industry?

In 1999, Ward was enjoying a successful career in advertising.

But the loss of a close family member made him rethink. "I decided it was time to change the rules. Steve was my pal, and in the Chop House he'd got a fantastic offer. I'd spent a lot of time building other people's brands and I thought it would be nice to do it for myself."

How did he get started? On leaving advertising, he remortgaged his home. "I was very lucky, I had a family who were happy for me to risk it."

How much is he worth? "The Victorian Chop House Company is worth somewhere in the region of £5–6 million."

Best piece of advice? "I met Rudolph Giuliani (the former Mayor of New York City), when he did a book signing and we provided the sandwiches. He said: ‘Go into it with your eyes open. If you're a businessman, use your business head. If you're new to something, then don't trust the so-called experts, fi nd out for yourself.'

I liked that. You've got to get on with it yourself."

Who does he admire in the industry? "Paul Heathcote. I've driven thousands of miles for a meal, but the best meal I ever had was in The Longridge, cooked by Paul himself. If there is a renaissance in British cooking, it's because of food heroes like him."

Most important thing he's learnt?

"Have simple, effi cient controls; one bad service can screw a business. It's a very capital-hungry business to start in. You need a lot of money to do it properly."

Future plans? "We'll roll out our concept in a very controlled way.

My guess is that we'll have two more Chop Houses in Manchester, and maybe another in Leeds."

samschophouse.co.uk

Related topics: People

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