For our first Coffee With interview of 2023 we sat down with Andy Frisby, Director & Head of Central London Agency, to speak about the current challenges the industry is facing and how he likes to spend his perfect Sunday.
Have a read through his full interview below.
- How has your week been?
It's been a week of highs and lows. I have a reasonable amount on at the moment and some of the meetings in the last week have been really positive, but it does take time to convert discussions into reality. In this market things just don't seem to be moving quite as quickly as I'd like, but I suspect I'm not alone on that sentiment.
- What is your role at Fleurets?
To grow our transactional business at Fleurets. My area of focus is Zones 1 and 2 of London dealing with pubs, bars, restaurants hotels and anything 'leisure in-between' which in itself is a growing space.
I also have responsibilities as a Board member, so some broader strategic considerations, however my aim is to look at focusing on giving our clients good service, getting the best out of our wonderful team which in turn increases Fleurets presence in the market and I believe will grow Fleurets as a business.
- Favourite pub/bar to drink at?
I think that depends on the occasion and as such I have many favourites, most of which are the result of great memories. It would be easier to do a top 20. I have some superb memories from the Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden having first visited it with my father and used it as our go to meeting place, now frequenting with friends, colleagues and clients however it is more of a winter favourite. There's a whole different list of hospitality options for the summer. So many pubs, so little time...
- What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being welcomed back after an interesting year working with a firm of developers. I'd missed the banter and camaraderie at Fleurets.
- Your final meal?
A huge slow cooked roast, probably with a selection of meats and a whole host of delicious vegetables and roast potatoes cooked by me.
- How has the industry changed since you started at Fleurets?
It's evolved considerably. Non-alcoholic gin and tonic was never a thing. Market halls were never a thing. I remember some years ago talking to an operator about an escape room that featured a zombie in the room and thinking what a great idea, but not understanding how to monetise it? Now many of us have enjoyed activities such as escape rooms, urban golf, axe throwing, VR, adult ball pits etc.
There's now more choice in how we spend our leisure £s which has resulted in some being simply left behind/ outdated or irrelevant while others have improved their offer, increasing quality, or accessibility through embracing technology or both. I'm not sure everything is better, but I certainly don't think it's worse.
- What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
I think this is a bit of a time of your life question. My kids are a bit older now, so for the next year or so while they still like engaging with their dad I like to watch my son play football in the morning and run the line hopefully without too many 'helpful suggestions' from the opposition players and parents on my line calls. In the afternoon, I usually take my daughter ice skating (without me falling over in a heap!), followed by cooking a lovely roast dinner whilst sipping a beer or two and watching the football.
- Favourite thing about working at Fleurets?
There is a fantastic work ethic and depth of knowledge within the team many of whom I have worked with for two decades now. We continue to innovate and evolve alongside our clients and marketplace and we enjoy the challenge of doing so. Each year the entire team meets for our Company Day where we have activities then tuck into a few hours in the bar. It's sociable, friendly and interesting.
- What is your drink of choice and what do you avoid at all costs?
I'm no fan of Pernod or Sambuca shots. I do love a pint of lager, craft beer, ale or even cider in the sunshine. Vinho Verde or a G&T on a summer's afternoon. In fact, there's not a lot not to like.
- Where do you see the hospitality market in the next six months?
I think the next quarter is going to be quite challenging. Inflationary pressures on input costs, wages increasing, uncertainty on utilities prices (although they seem to be easing) and an increase in the cost of capital whilst at the same time there is pressure on customer discretionary spend.
No one saw that coming 18 months ago. It is a worrying time for many and unfortunately, we will see some previously healthy businesses become casualties. I also expect there to be an acceleration in the natural churn of properties that didn't happen during and immediately after the pandemic.
As we move through 2023 where there are losses there will also be those that are able to benefit from the opportunity the change brings. Having the right conversation with right person at the right time will be game changing for some, and I believe more opportunities will emerge.