COFFEE BREAK WITH...Tim Widdows, Associate Director - Pubs & Restaurants
Coffee Break with… is a Christie & Co series showcasing the brilliance, expertise, and diversity of our network of over 200 employees.
When did you join Christie & Co?
Where were you when you accepted your role at Christie & Co?
Working as Hotel and Marketing Manager at the University of Reading, running the onsite hotel and conference facilities as well as carrying out marketing activities for the department.
What was your first job?
Excluding my paper round at 13, it was at the Moat House Hotel in the conference and events department, kick-starting my passion for the hospitality industry!
In a couple of sentences, can you tell us a bit about your job at Christie & Co?
The marketing and selling of leasehold and freehold pubs and restaurants in the Home Counties. I love the fact that it’s a full-service role, so we get to advise clients at the start of the journey and see it all the way through to completion. It’s very satisfying when a deal is done and the client is happy.
What’s your favourite thing about Christie & Co?
The autonomy the role allows, managing our own diaries and the freedom of choosing to spend our time out meeting clients, generating new business or catching up on tasks in the office. It truly feels like our own small business and allows us to be creative and free to manage our day in a way we feel makes us most effective.
What's a favourite project that you’ve worked on at Christie & Co so far?
I have been lucky to work on some great instructions in my time here, meeting a few celebrities and lots of well-known operators along the way. My recent instruction on the famous French Horn in Sonning, however, has opened the door to speaking to some incredible big hitters in the industry. It’s still early days but it’s a very exciting project to be a part of.
What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The pubs and restaurant sector I feel is often the hardest hit whenever there is an economic downturn. However, it’s nothing compared to the challenges that the pandemic caused. It was heart breaking to see so many operators affected by forced closures and the challenges it still causes to this day.
What’s been a highlight of your career so far?
Despite a challenging market, I think the fact I have done more deals this year than any other year at Christie & Co. That has to be a highlight for me.
How has the industry changed since you started at Christie & Co?
Operators currently face more challenges than ever before. Cost pressures are facing them from all directions, from increased F&B and running costs, to challenges around recruiting and retaining quality staff. I am constantly inspired, however, by their resilience and tenacity under extraordinary pressures.
Who in your industry do you feel most inspired by?
I am hugely impressed and inspired by the new operators we see every year giving up jobs they hate to open up their own pub or restaurant, driven by passion and a willingness to learn as they go. If I had to pick an incredible operator I admire though, I would probably say Tom Kerridge. I live not too far from Marlow and love his restaurants, as well as attending his Pub in the Park festival every year.
Tell us a bit about your life outside work – what are your hobbies?
My favourite thing in the world is to visit a new town or village and try their local pubs. Nothing better than sitting in front of a fire or on a terrace with a pint and a meal, taking in the atmosphere. I hugely enjoy cooking myself and spend hours going over new recipes that I want to try, challenging myself to learn new techniques and master different flavours. I also love playing squash and golf as well as spending time with my family and walking my pup, Nola.
What’s your hometown? Where do you live now?
I wasn’t born here but I have spent most of my life in Reading, Berkshire. I still live here with my wife and young son.
Where’s the best place you’ve been on holiday?
New Zealand – without doubt, the most stunning country I have ever visited. Bolivia was also fun when on my travels, the culture and food were great.
If you could live and work in any city, where would you go?
For work then maybe New York or Barcelona, but I want to retire to Wanaka in NZ.
What would be your desert island meal?
The 12-course tasting menu from the Fat Duck. Mind-blowing.
What’s your favourite film?
No Country for Old Men or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
What is your favourite movie quote?
“Coffee’s for closers!”– Glengarry Glen Ross.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
Visit the Galapagos Islands.
What is your biggest fear?
Not a fan of tight spaces since I went caving as a kid.
What news source do you read every day?
The Times and BBC.
What’s your social media platform of choice?
All of them, unfortunately! Maybe TikTok for the recipes and foodie content.
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