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unionised. The initial response to us being involved was to go on strike. There were fears that we were going to make changes that would cut jobs,” he says. “In fact, we expanded the catering services and we had to explain that very carefully and very clearly. Once that was understood everyone came on board and the project went very well,” he adds. Despite the scale and significance of these

projects, however, Cade remembers his biggest assignment as one that involved a big team at Deloitte that covered many different strands within the company’s consulting division. It took him back to the hotel and leisure sector as part of a team dealing with a huge M&A deal.

Challenge of a hostile takeover

The mid-1990s saw a long-running hostile takeover battle for the Forte Group, which saw Granada – led by Irish-born British business executive and television presenter Gerry Robinson – bidding for the company. Ultimately, Granada succeeded with a £3.87bn tender offer in August 1995, but the deal left such a bitter taste in the mouths of those involved that – following the de-merger of Compass Group from Granada’s media interests – the use of the Forte trademark was returned to Sir Rocco Forte in a gesture of goodwill to heal the rift. “The biggest thing I was involved in must be the takeover of Forte by Granada, though we were just a small part of Deloitte’s team. Granada, which mainly had interests in television, had little experience in the hospitality sector outside motorway contract catering. The company wanted to understand what it would get in the merger in terms of restaurants and other facilities, and it wanted to know whether it should keep them or sell them off,” Cade recalls.

Ultimately many of the assets were retained by

Granada, but just a few years later in 2000 what had become the Granada Compass group put its hotels up for sale in the wake of a strategic review, with the Posthouse, Le Meridien and Heritage chains sold off. At about the same time Cade decided that it was time for a change in his own career.

Very busy retirement

Cade retired from his position as partner in charge of hospitality consulting at Deloitte in 2000, but he did not remain idle. For the next six years he worked as a consultant in his own right and his company, Hugh Cade & Associates, became known for providing


specialist, high-level advice to a select group of clients with foodservice and leisure interests. Individual foodservice consulting assignments began to tail off in 2006, but Cade already had other irons in the fire. From 2003 he managed the UK operations of Seattle-based foodservice consultancy Deterministics, which was owned by his friend and predecessor as FCSI Worldwide President but one, Brian Sill FFCSI. This took Cade into the realm of international chain restaurant consulting as part of an organisation that had implemented a proven continuous improvement process over many years. Clients worldwide achieved higher levels of performance and profit by improving the predictability of operating environments. “The company saw a lot of demand from the

UK, so Brian hired me, though I was also doing the odd job for myself. Deterministics was more about administration than consultancy, so I kept my hand in with consultancy projects of my own,” Cade says.

The UK’s cultural revolution

Now that Cade has come to the end of his career, he can look back on the many ways in which foodservice consultancy has evolved.

“In my lifetime there has been a big change here from the Black Forest Gateau and Blue Nun culture for which the UK was once known. This country has become one of the great destinations for good cuisine and fine dining. Restaurants here can equal anything available anywhere in the world,” he says. “When I got into the industry in the 1970s a lot of people used us because we knew a great deal about the industry, but now the internet has changed that. There is a lot of information available on the web. As a result we no longer sell knowledge. What we need to sell now are skills and services. It goes without saying that you need to be able to do kitchen design and financial feasibility assessments to be a successful consultant, but you also need to be on top of things like change management.” Personal qualities are also important in determining a consultant’s effectiveness, especially on large transformational projects, and although he is too self-effacing to suggest his personable approach is part of what made him successful, he does admit to having some good traits. “One thing that has seen me through is a very good analytical mind. Another is that I understand that I don’t need to oversee the whole project. I have always been happy to play a small part rather than trying to do everyone’s job. You have to be able to

“The UK has become one of the great destinations for good cuisine and fine dining”

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