Could Brexit bring a boost for Suffolk staycations?
- Credit: Katie Drouet
A Suffolk family-owned restaurant group is to increase its accommodation, to meet a growing demand for overnight stays.
The Macmillan family, siblings Iain and Lorna have spent the past 8 years building an award winning hospitality business.
The company is made up of three boutique restaurants, the The Lavenham Greyhound, The Hadleigh Ram and The Long Melford Swan. The latter also offers luxury bedrooms and a delicatessen.
The success of the business has been built around a family ethos and in 2018 the Long Melford Swan was voted UK Restaurant with Rooms of the year by the AA.
Part of recent business growth involved the appointment of James Sanders as group general manager.
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He previously managed the Hoste in Burnham Market was taken on to facilitate operations and continue to drive the business forward.
In 2019 the Macmillan family has made the decision to restructure the running of the business.
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The major changes involve the individual family members taking a lead role in each site with James Sanders running the operational side.
This will bring the family much closer to the day-to-day running of the restaurants and continue to build on the success achieved to-date.
The trio are developing three more hotel rooms at The Long Melford Swan this year and are looking at other ways to grow the business.
The plan is to create two more letting bedrooms above the Swan, with a further suite at the rear of the building, created in a small extension, and including a hot tub.
Lorna Pissarro said ‘We are passionate about what we do, and love this industry. We believe our three venues need our personal touch and focus to continue to build our customer experience.
“January has been very busy for letting the rooms at the Swan, much better than I expected.
“Perhaps with Brexit more people will be taking staycations in Suffolk this year?
“We find we are getting a lot of visitors from Essex, who come up for dinner and to stay through to breakfast.
“People are coming for the whole experience.
“We are also offering special experiences here, linking up with the Gainsborough Spa for Spa breaks.
“That is an area we want to develop more.
“The hospitality industry is facing some tough challenges. You have to keep innovating and developing to move forward.
“We started it here and it is our passion and we want to take it on.”
Mrs Pissarro has returned fully to the business after maternity, with daughter Colette (Coco) now 20 months.
James Sanders added: “I’m excited about the future, and we have some great ideas and plans for 2019. It is a big challenge for the industry at the moment with few people choosing hospitality as a career. We are working hard to offer unique packages for our teams, and working with young people to encourage them to choose this as a career path.