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INTERVIEW

NEW YORK SAVVY AT THE MET Richard Hopton, the new Director of Operations at Hilton Brighton Metropole, tells Ian Trevett about the updated food and drink offerings at the hotel

“I

wouldn’t really describe myself as a foodie,” says Richard Hopton, as he scrolls through his vast library of food

Richard arrived last autumn, moving from

that the nuts and bolts are screwed down, the

his previous role as the Food and Beverage

machine’s well-oiled and the team members

Manager at the Birmingham Metropole, a

are in the right place at the right time.

pictures on his phone, picking out examples

sister property to Brighton. “The Hilton brand

of dishes that have caught his attention on his

encourages a family relationship, so you can

start during the Labour Party conference,

travels. I suspect he may be in denial, as this

move within the group,’ explains Richard.

which was a great event for us. Jeremy Corbyn

someone appears to be obsessed with food,

“There are so many brands in the Hilton, and

was a very hospitable party leader and we’d

or more accurately, addicted to finding new

there are many exciting properties coming on.

welcome him back with open arms.”

culinary ideas and inspirations.

We have just opened a hotel in Chad, which

“I have done a lot of travelling in Australia,

“I had a baptism of fire as I was asked to

Arriving at a new hotel allows a fresh look at

means we are in 100 countries now. In terms

the operation and also an appreciation of what

Thailand and the Far East and it tends to be a

of movement for hotel managers, the sky is the

a venue is doing well.

bit of a busman’s holiday. My wife and I spent

limit.

our honeymoon in New York last year and we

“It’s a step up for me, although Brighton

“My first impression was that the hotel has a great location and there’s a great team in

followed bloggers and top Instagrammers

is a slightly smaller hotel. Birmingham is in

place,” says Richard. Maureen on the breakfast

around New York to see to where they went

the heart of the NEC; it is one of the largest

team and Pat in the bar have both been with

to eat. We found ourselves taking food photos

convention hotels in Europe and the largest

the hotel for 20 years, and you can go around

and loading our camera phones with these

in the UK outside of London. It has about 800

the hotel and look at some of the team member

fabulous pictures of food. So I understand the

bedrooms compared to 340 at the Metropole.

photos of previous Labour conferences, pre-

importance of getting it right, being engaged

However, convention-wise, Brighton is a very

Blair, and you can see team members who are

with social media. After all, I am someone from

flexible space. For instance, today I had the

still here. On the other hand, there are exciting

Birmingham who went to New York because

de-brief from the Snowman Ball, and we

new additions. It was good to see that Brighton

of the food on Instagram - so good food does

have American Express in here for a string of

had already signed up to the Hilton graduate

travel.”

meetings this week; no day is ever the same.

programme. Hilton has an award-winning

Aside from the clearly false claim that he’s

“I’m responsible for all the operations on the

graduate programme in hospitality. The

not a foodie, it is clear that the Metropole’s food

ground floor, including the day-to-day running

successful applicants join us on an 18-month

offering will be worth watching under Richard’s

of the hotel, whereas the General Manager

programme, split between two hotels, spending

direction, and the first big change is the launch

encompasses more sales strategy and building

nine months in each, on a series of three-

of 1890 at the Met, the new restaurant offering.

the brand within the city. I have to make sure

month stints in different departments. If they

78

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PLATINUM BUSINESS MAGAZINE - ISSUE 21 - SUSSEX EDITION  

The widest-read business publication in the South East. Covering International Trade, Legal Issues, Accountancy, Wealth Management, Business...

PLATINUM BUSINESS MAGAZINE - ISSUE 21 - SUSSEX EDITION  

The widest-read business publication in the South East. Covering International Trade, Legal Issues, Accountancy, Wealth Management, Business...