Recruitment for Operations Director

Our client, a successful ‘high-end’ bar and restaurant Group with venues in both East and West London, were in urgent need to recruit an Operations Director to ensure future plans for expansion and growth. In a very competitive market and with complex recruitment demands our client had previously struggled to find someone suitable. This is where SG Resources came in to help out.


The key focus of the Operations Director role was to open the Owner’s new venture whilst working across the group to help reduce ‘back office’ costs and improve labour efficiency whilst growing. Due to the long hours needed from the candidate and the extremely high standards demanded this was a very complex role to recruit for. However the growth plans our client had in place made this a really exciting opportunity and place to be for a talented individual.

The right candidate had to have experience and skills in three key areas: People management & leadership (covering HR, development and recruitment), financial capability (P&L control, financial transparency) and food service production.


We recommended a Search process in 3 related areas, aiming to look more broadly and beyond the obvious:

1. High end Restaurant Groups
2. Boutique Hotels
3. Hospitality – Fine Dining

After compiling a target list of restaurants/companies and identified the relevant individuals to approach. A candidate briefing document and job description was drafted and sent out to the selected candidates. Those candidates of interest were initially tele-screened, and if suitable they were interviewed face to face. There was a weekly progress report given to the client and the short list of candidates recommended for interview and their CVs were supported by individual profiles.


We had to find the best – someone who had a passion for great food and knew how the London restaurant sector works, a track record of restaurant openings, in the London ‘high-end’ of the industry and who understood the demographics of the City. Entrepreneurial and could identify strongly with the vision of the business.

Through effective Search our client successfully hired a results-oriented Operations Director with 10 years of senior-level management and entrepreneurial experience in restaurants, private members and hospitality operations. A highly respected individual with an excellent track record of successful openings and motivating teams to peak performance.

About the Company

Within the Group there are a number of eating houses which are more than a bar or restaurant, they’re a lifestyle with venues in both East and West London. World renowned for offering the best most luxurious champagnes, wines and cocktails they serve modern British and European cuisine. Cool, hip environments to relax in by day, over breakfast or lunch, and a destination by night for the well-healed socialite.

Recruiting a finance controller

Cherryfield, a successful family run business based in South London needed to recruit a Financial Controller in preparation for the retirement of their incumbent FC.

By the nature of the business the owners of the Company had very limited experience of recruiting at this level. SG Resources got involved in the 1st quarter of 2014 for initial planning meetings ensuring enough time for the successful candidate’s notice period and enough time for an effective hand over with the incumbent had been factored in. SG Resources also supported the final interview process, providing an interview format and questions as well as being present at the shortlisted interviews.


The Financial Controller who had worked for the business all his career was planning to retire in May 2015. Through his dedication and attention to detail the owners of the business had never needed to worry about the accuracy of the financial information being given to them, trusting its accuracy to the last penny.

The Financial Controller and Chairman worked very closely together leaving the MD to concentrate on trading and operations. His retirement had coincided with the Chairman’s decision to take less of a day to day active role in the business heightening the need to recruit a very capable and experienced Finance Controller. An individual who had the maturity to comfortably step in to the current person’s ‘Finance shoes’, confidently owning and managing in essence, a traditional and very well run finance function.


As our client had never recruited at this level before they asked SG Resources for our help. Through our expertise and experience we were able to support the client in the final interview process, providing an interview format and questions as well as being present at the shortlisted interviews.

The approach was different to what Cherryfield had experienced in the past. Through our Retained approach, SG Resources were able to dedicate the time to really understand what was required and to ensure that a robust and thorough interview and recruitment process was delivered. A successful candidate was chosen and started at the beginning of March 2015, leaving plenty of time for the incumbent to give a very thorough and effective hand over.

About Cherryfield Ltd

Cherryfield Ltd is a privately owned pork cutting plant, a highly successful family run business based in Croydon. They have a rich heritage and was established in 1956 originally devoted to pig farming. Over time they have diversified into the wholesale market and today are one of the largest full throughput stand-alone pork cutting plants in England, who employ full HACCP principles in the manufacture of all their products.

Finance Manager Recruitment

Our client, a highly respected supplier of high end commercial kitchen and catering equipment needed help with recruiting a Finance Manager as the co Partner in the business for over thirty years was planning to retire in the summer of 2014.

The Co Partner was responsible for a number of areas in the business including the finance function. This heightened the importance that the individual joining the business was a proven Finance Manager with a solid track record of success. Aside from being a very capable Finance Manager, we needed to recruit someone who could comfortably step in to the retiring Partners ‘finance shoes’. This was also a real opportunity for the successful individual to develop and grow the role with the company. Reporting into the Operations Director the Finance Manager sat at the heart of the business responsible for providing sound, accurate and timely financial information (e.g. monthly management reports and analysis for the board, VAT returns, cash flow, invoicing, WIP etc.) and financial advice when required ensuring the business understood the financial implications of any potential business decisions.

Challenges faced

There was a timing challenge combined with the need to find the right ‘fit’; someone who could comfortably step in to the retiring partner’s ‘finance shoes’ and confidently own and manage the finance function. It was also essential that the successful individual came from a related industry background and could commute to the office within 30 minutes.

What we did

Simmons Gainsford Resources’ approach was different to what the Managing Director had previously experienced but it guaranteed we would treat this very important assignment as completely fresh and new. By agreeing to Retain Simmons Gainsford Resources it meant we could dedicate the time up front to really take a full and accurate brief. By meeting key people in the business we could really get ‘under the skin’ of the company to ensure we were able to deliver a robust and thorough interview and recruitment process. Key elements included:

Taking a full, accurate brief and writing the job spec (for sign off)
Interviewing on a face to face basis each identified candidate (who had initially been tele screened for suitability against the job specification)
Presenting a short list of candidates recommended for interview supported with commentary on our recommendations

We successfully recruited a Finance Manager who is making a great impact on the business.

About the Client

Our client is highly respected in their field; they are a very successful privately owned company who continue to grow rapidly. Suppliers of high end commercial kitchen and catering equipment, they have grown to become much more than just a catering supplier by successfully positioning the business to offer their client’s a distinct advantage; a complete solution from design and construction to installation and continued maintenance support. They have a very exciting profile of clients to prove this from recognised construction and facilities management providers to household retail names such as M&S.

Karen Calver

Karen has a wealth of experience and many enviable long standing client and candidate relationships. She is very focused on exceeding expectations and both her own and SG Resources’ reputations are of paramount importance to her.

She specialises in Total Facilities Management including Hospitality & Food Service and in the Business and Support Services sector. Karen recruits at Board, Executive, Director and Senior Management level. She is very thorough, enquiring and intuitive, and has a natural ability to engage with clients and candidates, which has contributed greatly to her success at matching the right client with the right candidate.