M&C Report talks to Ken Buckley, managing director of Bravo Inns, about his best investment, the best piece of advice he’s ever received and identifies the person who has had the most influence in his career.

What has been your best business decision? To sell the Bold Pub Company in August 2007.

How much has your business changed to combat the recession? We have been a little more cautious in our speed of growth via acquisition. Other than that we have remained true to our values and focused totally on excellent standards and consistency of operation.

Who is doing something special in the industry? I would not select anyone in particular as I believe there are quite a few relatively new operators doing great things with small companies. It is also good to see some larger established brands fighting back.

Most admired brand? Wetherspoons. I was a young Area Manager with Greenalls when Tim Martin burst onto the scene and many established companies did not give him the respect his obvious talent and vision deserved. A great operator of a really good brand.

What’s the most important action the industry can take to encourage the consumer? Continued consolidation of the pub market so that there are even fewer pubs but they are presented in a far more appealing way.

What single action could Government make that would make a difference? Take note and act on, or at least seriously scope, the practicalities of the VAT Campaign led by Jaques Borrell.

What is your top priority? To continue to achieve controlled growth, and remain true to our concept, by retaining the highest of standards.

What has been your best investment? Without doubt the purchase of the Pub Support Company in 2004, out of which we created the Bold Pub Company.

Who has been most influential in your career? Mr. Geoff Tilling who was the tenant of the Mulberry Tree, Stockton Heath, Warrington, where I worked part time a long time ago! He was way ahead of the game and he continually emphasised the importance of retailing standards which I have remained true to throughout my career.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Never give in, with multi-site management there will always be one or two under performers, but there are always several potential solutions. Keep trying!