The 50-bedroom property featured in the second and third series of the show with the latest series showing the sale of the hotel to Richardson who acquired the property last October for a reported £1m.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Richardson revealed he had spent time and money attempting to turn the business around.
“In the six months since I bought it I have probably lost £200k and I have invested another £250k in it. However, I imagine in the next year to March 31st we will most definitely make a profit,” he revealed.
“It is a fantastic hotel: it is on the seafront in Torquay with a garden, an outside and inside swimming pool, a 50-cover separate restaurant and a function room so the basic fundamentals are great. Sadly my predecessor was not a very good hotelier.
“There was precious little business when I walked in – there were people staying and it was known but there was no database of names and addresses which is a vital part of a hotel’s business,” Richardson added.
The businessman bought his first hotel in 1988 after a successful period as a property developer while also studying to become a chartered accountant.
The hotelier made his name turning failing venues around and his company now owns four properties.
With the Grosvenor the focus has been on refurbishing the rooms, putting in better management and training and improving the F&B offer – food is one of Richardson’s passions and he wants all his hotels to have rosette-winning restaurants serving homemade dishes.
As well as a hotel dining room, the Torquay venue has a 50-cover restaurant which has just been relaunched as the Inn at The Grosvenor. A former Claridge’s apprentice is in charge of the new kitchen brigade.
“My ambition is to have a three-star hotel,” Richardson revealed. “All my hotels were a bit tacky when I bought them and I have spent the following two to five years doing them up.
“Hotels soak up money and a lot of hoteliers are tight; they are very bad at investing in their business. The danger is the hotels decline and hoteliers get into a spiral where they don’t do their repairs, then they can’t command their rates and so it goes on.”
Although admitting the TV series which focused on the Grosvenor’s charismatic former GM had probably done more good than harm, Richardson admitted it had not had the impact he had thought it might.
“The business benefits have come from putting in proper management and computer systems and training staff. We have this nationally known name and I am sure that will always have impact but I think the impact is not as great as I thought when I bought it,” he concluded.