Couple expand restaurant business after buying Georgian boutique hotel
PUBLISHED: 12:09 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 18 April 2018
Archant Norfolk 2017
The couple behind a popular Norwich restaurant are turning their hands to the hotel world after buying a business in their home town.
Hannah Springham and Andrew Jones, who opened Farmyard Restaurant in St Benedict’s Street in 2017, have bought The Dial House in Reepham from Iain Wilson for an undisclosed fee.
The pair, who spent their wedding night at the Georgian venue last year, said they were excited to take over the running of the boutique hotel from May.
Mr Jones will divide his time between the two sites as executive chef – overseeing menus, sourcing, training and mentoring – while Ms Springham, a television executive producer, will launch a company, Marigold Events, for weddings and parties at The Dial House.
The move comes at a time when several restaurant chains have been struggling including brands such as Jamie’s Italian and Prezzo.
But Ms Springham said, off the back of the success of Farmyard, the pair were confident they could make both businesses work.
She said: “A lot of the restaurants struggling are chains and what we are doing is different from that – we are taking a personal approach. You can’t produce that quality with a corporate machine.”
She added the rooms and opportunities for events at The Dial House would add additional revenue streams to their businesses.
Mr Jones had worked at top London restaurants including Corrigan’s of Mayfair and Claude Bosi’s The Fox and Grapes on Wimbledon Common before the couple moved to Reepham in 2015 to allow their children to enjoy the Norfolk childhood they had.
Mr Jones said: “It feels like there is a foodie critical mass forming and I want to be part of it, dealing directly with the people who care as much about what they do as I do.”
Mr Jones said that after opening Farmyard there had always been a plan to add additional restaurants in future years. They had pencilled in early 2019 for expansion, but the Dial House was an opportunity they felt they could not miss out on.
Ms Springham said: “We know the place like the back of our hands. Our two-year-old loves running up and down the stairs. We could never have dreamed that this could ever come our way.”