Lifestyle expansion 'great news for Bay businesses'
A RECESSION-BUSTING business is expanding — and urging other entrepreneurs to think more positively about working in the Bay.
James Eyre, boss of The Lifestyle Group whose head office is on Torquay's harbourside, employs around 35 full time and 50 part time staff in the Bay alone, and plans to create more jobs.
The group has invested almost £5million in Torbay, and is planning to repeat that success story in other parts of Devon.
It is finalising plans for a hospitality school in collaboration with Exeter College as well as launching a national franchise package in July for its Tiger Bill's brand.
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The franchise activity will generate more jobs at the Lifestyle's Torquay head office.
Mr Eyre said: "When you consider that nationally 25 pubs are closing their doors every week, we're not just surviving but expanding, and that should send out a good signal about the economy of the Bay.
"If I didn't believe this place had real potential, I wouldn't be here. We're not only here but investing and expanding at a time when many people think we're crazy.
"But our belief in the Bay has a knock-on effect for other businesses too. As a result of what we are doing, many other local businesses benefit. Our food and beverage suppliers, maintenance companies, security, promotion and PR, advertising, the list goes on and on.
"Good restaurants and nightlife are part of any resort's success story and we are proud to be part of that. This is a crunch year for the English Riviera with all the national campaigns encouraging people to holiday in Britain in this celebratory year."
Lifestyle has built its business model on turning around failing pubs and restaurants at a time when many investors would shy away altogether from the hospitality trade.
The group already operates Cafe Mambo, Club Mambo, The Rooftop cocktail bar, Tiffanys and the Beach Hut bar on Torquay harbourside. The Rooftop made national headlines last summer with its cocktail, English Riviera, using the colours of the English Riviera logo.
Its portfolio also includes the Apple and Parrot cider bar, home to Parrotfest music festival.
Last year, the group invested more than £200,000 in opening a new branch of its successful Tiger Bill's Thai restaurant and grill, as well as American pool hall Fast Eddies, on the ground floor and basement of Queen's Quay building at The Strand. That resulted in the creation of a further 20 jobs.
They are also looking at opening the former Trents bar this summer.
During peak season the group takes on 25 per cent more staff so a further 20 part time jobs have been created.
Meanwhile, the Lifestyle Group operates another Cafe Mambo in Taunton, the Gissons pub and hotel at Kennford, Tiger Bill's and Bombay Bill's eateries in Exeter and the Queen's Hall cafe bar in Minehead.