A LEADING hospitality consultant and mentor who served up success for businesses in the pandemic has set the table for expansion.
Following more than 15 years in the sector, Laura Anne Harvey launched her company – Laura Anne Hospitality Consultant Ltd – full time in the autumn.
She got off to a flying start, garnering clients across the UK and was even nominated in the Micro Business of the Year category at the 2023 FSB Wales Awards.
A coach and mentor with the Greater Manchester Leadership Hive, supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups with free guidance and advice, Laura is focused on helping firms in the sector bounce back from the challenges of Covid-19 to reach even greater heights.
Originally from Devon and now living in Hawarden, she is targeting new customers in North Wales having won contracts with venues nationwide, including Pendergast’s Steakhouse in Warrington, Pasta Cosa in Liverpool, and Wokingham’s Salty Olive.
“I’m working with cafes, hotels, bars and restaurants all over the country but not too many here on my doorstep,” said Laura, who is supported by partner Liam.
“There are many great hospitality businesses in North Wales doing incredible things, and people who are looking to start their own venture, which is where I can help.
“Despite the obstacles and issues around the Coronavirus, rising costs, and other factors, I’m seeing a lot of businesses that are enjoying a period of growth, which is heartening given the current economic climate.”
Laura added: “I think a lot of people are still uncertain as to how a consultant can help – they envision a Gordon Ramsay type scenario where I turn up and point out what’s wrong – but that’s certainly not the case.
“It’s more of a partnership, where we look at things strategically, take a step back and identify how best to be successful going forward, not just financially but in terms of efficiency, the environment and technology.
“For example, during the pandemic a lot of restaurants and cafes felt their food quality was too good to consider offering a takeaway or delivery service, and now for many of them it’s their main source of revenue.
“Having that coaching and mentoring support has proven invaluable to them, but also from a personal perspective there is no greater feeling for me professionally than seeing someone do well.”
A former Operations and Marketing Director with an international hospitality group, Laura fell in love with the industry from a young age.
Ahead of a TV hospitality series to be aired in the coming months, fronted by a prominent celebrity chef, the future is looking very bright for her.
“I want to be the go-to person for marketing, operations and business development in the food and drink arena, that’s my aim and I’m already on my way,” she said.
“It’s a sector hit hard in past years which has shown amazing resilience, driven by innovation and bright ideas, and my aim is to be at the heart of that, in North Wales and beyond.”
Laura added: “Every customer is different but for all of them I can help by offering a wide range of business coaching and consultancy services to business plans and operations manual writing.
“And it’s important I lead by example; I don’t just step in and tell them what they need, I help them deliver it. For one restaurant client I found the property, negotiated the lease, and managed the fitting-out, marketing and launch event. It’s the end-to-end experience.
“That’s what will help me to stand out as my business – and the industry – move forward with confidence and passion, supporting the economy, independent producers and the many established and upcoming hospitality businesses achieving amazing things across the country.”