After hours with...Emily Hodgson

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pubs, Pub, Public house, Inn, Hotel

Emily Hodgson
Emily Hodgson
BigHospitality catches up with one of hospitality's top achievers for the lowdown on her career and thoughts about the industry

Emily Hodgson opened her first pub, The Rose in Fulham, in October last year and is already planning to open her second - The Hillgate - in Notting Hill this month.

My big achievement:

"I've just opened my first pub, The Rose in Fulham. It used to be the Fulham Tup, a sports pub, so we have changed it quite dramatically and that's been quite a challenge turning it into a food-led pub. It's taking a little bit of time to get things off the ground, but the customers' reaction has been good so far and we are building up a strong customer base.

"Good food is a big focus and our chef James Howarth has come from the Havelock Tavern and has created a modern British menu, but we are a pub, not a restaurant and I'd rather that people just popped in on a daily basis for a drink and a snack and felt that it was somewhere they can relax. That's the atmosphere I've tried to create.

"I've worked for my father (Slug and Lettuce and Tup Inns founder Hugh Corbett) for the last seven years. He's done pubs in London and around the country for a long time and it's been a fantastic experience working for him. Now I'm going it alone and I'm loving it, but it's been quite a big challenge.

How I got to where I am:

My father worked in the hotel industry, then in pubs, so I was brought up in the industry. I studied catering management at university before becoming a freelance chef then worked with my father. He's been a real inspiration. I've learnt a lot from him and over the last seven years have been running up to four or five pubs for him, but they weren't mine.

"Now having The Rose and the Hillgate, which is going to open in January, I've been able to put some more personal touches into the pubs I run and am more hands on. I'm there on a daily basis which means I can see what customers want and meet their needs.

The most valuable thing I've learnt:

"Attention to detail is so important in this industry - it's all very well doing up a pub and making it look really nice, but it's the service that brings people back. People go to pubs for the welcoming atmosphere and good service. Having your product right - offering the right drinks and food - is all part of what makes it successful, but on a day to day basis it's the service that counts the most.

"We train all our staff and most of them have worked in the industry before joining us, but the major things you need to work in this industry are common sense and the right attitude."

Regrets

The Rose is on a back street and in hindsight I would have done more PR and promotions before we opened. It's a good idea to get people talking about somewhere before it's opened, especially if your business isn't on a main high street or obvious location.

Future plans

"If all goes to plan we'll be opening the Hillgate this month after a re-brand. It's quite soon after opening the Rose, but it was an opportunity that arose that I couldn't turn down. Both pubs are on fantastic sites - the Hillgate is in Notting Hill and the Rose has one of the most amazing pub gardens in London so both were worth going for.

"I'm not sure about expanding further. For a while I'll just be concentrating on the two pubs I have already. Both of them have great potential so I'll be focusing my energy on them for the time being."

Related topics: Business, People, Pubs & Bars, Career Profile

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