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Norfolk restaurateur takes city venue in new direction to beat industry downturn

PUBLISHED: 19:02 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 19 July 2018

Interview with Greg Adjemian and Dan Smith (blue jacket)  who own the Ingham Swan. Picture: Nick Butcher

Interview with Greg Adjemian and Dan Smith (blue jacket) who own the Ingham Swan. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is an increasingly tough market to achieve success in, with a third of the UK’s top 100 restaurant groups believed to be operating at a loss.

But owners of the G&D Ventures, Greg Adjemian and Daniel Smith, said the squeeze is being felt more acutely in the independent leagues, where the cost of failure is higher.

The pair own successful pubs The Wildebeest at Stoke Holy Cross and Ingham Swan, which is due to re-open by the end of this year after a devastating fire last September.

But in trying to find a profitable identity for their latest venture, the Warwick Street Social, they aim to set a “new standard for a modern-day pub”, rather than being tempted to follow the food fads offered by Norwich’s gamut of restaurants.

READ MORE: Diners Club owners give candid look into hospitality industry

Mr Adjemian said: “Norwich’s restaurant scene has been dominated by chain restaurants. We feel we have a responsibility to innovate, however we don’t have the big budgets of the nationals, which means there is little room for error.

“This creates problems as we’re continually in a spin with a head full of ideas. The Warwick St Social has the ability to be disruptive as a leading hospitality venue, and sometimes we’re tempted to meddle with opening times, menus, and concepts to try and achieve that - quite frankly it can cause confusion for our customers.”

He added: “It’s a tough economic climate with rising costs, constantly squeezing our margins and making it harder to exist.

“Awareness is also a challenge for us. We need to let people know that we’re here, but people will always gravitate to the city centre.”

But the pair are dedicated to making the venture a success.

Mr Adjemian said: “This is the Warwick Street Social’s second birthday, and we know we want to position it as the new standard for a modern-day pub, and customers will know what to expect Monday to Sunday. We’re confident moving forward that this is what our customers want, and that the venue will continue to succeed.”

The company has also launched the G&D Ventures Apprenticeship Programme, to develop new talent for its establishments. Mr Adjeman said: “I think independents need to invest in their staff to survive.”

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