Brakspear has made two new appointments within its Honeycomb Houses managed division, designed to bolster the 10-strong estate and put it in a strong position for growth. James White is appointed as operations manager, while Ken Umasanthiram joins as head of food.
White is responsible for five Honeycomb Houses including the recently redeveloped Bull on Bell Street in Henley, and the Nag’s Head, set on its own island on Abingdon Bridge. He has worked in hospitality for many years, initially in his native city of Wellington, known as New Zealand’s culinary capital, before moving to the UK five years ago. Most recently, he worked for Charles Wells, overseeing the repositioning of their managed pubs division.
He says: “Honeycomb Houses is an exceptional group of pubs, run by exceptional GMs and teams. I see a big opportunity to develop our teams further and create a culture of excellence, delivering the highest service standards to our guests, which will give us the edge over our competitors.”
Umasanthiram will oversee all aspects of the food offer, working with the chefs and GMs at each pub and the Honeycomb Houses marketing manager. He has worked across the hospitality sector, including a number of years at Bill’s, where he held senior roles involving menu development, chef training and operations. He has also worked in the USA, opened the first Popeyes UK site and was personal chef to bands Kaiser Chiefs and Korn.
Like White, Umasanthiram sees Honeycomb Houses’ teams as its biggest asset, saying: “We have hugely talented head chefs and GMs within the business and I’ll be working closely with them to ensure we’re serving delicious, beautifully presented dishes across all Honeycomb Houses. I want to give our chefs the best ingredients, and the best chance of serving consistently amazing food to our guests, every time they dine with us.”
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies, said, “We’re delighted to welcome James and Ken, whose skills and industry experience will be an enormous asset.
“Like all operators, we are facing a raft of challenges from team shortages to supply chain issues and spiralling energy costs. We believe, though, that the Honeycomb Houses ethos of ‘Our House, Your Home’, is creating a culture among our teams where they are focused on delivering high standards, happy in their work and loyal to their pub.
“We will continue to build on this and are confident it will stand us in good stead both to weather adverse trading conditions, and to further develop the Honeycomb Houses division.”