#042 – Hospitality Meets Daniel Pedreschi – The Regional Operations Heavy Hitter

This week we move back to hotels in big brand, big hotels and a big role. We got some time with Daniel Pedreschi, Regional Vice President Operations UK for PPHE Hotel Group (www.pphe.com).

As always, we get through a lot including early career job titles, big bundles of keys, career catch 22’s, pigeons, refurbs, C&B, choosing your boss, events, awards, busy years, Master Inn Holders, snakes & of course Daniel’s excellent career journey so far.

Daniel talks us through his story with such energy and passion, it’s clear he’s doing what he was born to do. and there’s also some cracking anecdotes involving pigeons and snakes.

Apologies for the sound dropping in the odd place.


Show Transcription


hotel, running, banqueting, opportunity, grosvenor house, manager, general manager, years, people, holders, working, property, key, fantastic, gm


Daniel Pedreschi, Phil Street

Phil Street 00:01

Welcome to hospitality meets with me Phil street where we take a light hearted look into the stories and individuals that make up the wonderful world of hospitality. Today’s guest is Daniel Pedreschi, Regional Vice President of Operations for the UK at PPHE group. Coming up on today’s show… Daniel maps out the two key rules for becoming a successful hotel GM…

Daniel Pedreschi 00:23

Number one, don’t burn the hotel down. And number two, don’t pee in the flowerpots.

Phil Street 00:29

Phil may have missed something in the news… but there’s nothing going on in the world And Daniel highlights that even after 25 years in the business, you’ve never quite seen it all…

Daniel Pedreschi 00:38

The security guard got a little bit cautious when the guy picked up a snake.

Phil Street 00:42

All that and so much more as Daniel talks us through his story and journey to date with real energy. This was recorded remotely and some occasional sound loss was experienced. So apologies for that. Don’t forget to give us a like and a share. Enjoy. Hello and welcome to the next edition of hospitality meets with me Phil Street. Today we go big brand, big hotels, and a big role as we welcome to the show the Regional Vice President of Operations for the UK at PPHE Group. Daniel Pedreschi

Daniel Pedreschi 01:12

Morning, Phil,

Phil Street 01:13

How are you doing?

Daniel Pedreschi 01:14

Yeah, very good. Thank you Now all things considered.

Phil Street 01:17

Yeah. But there’s nothing going on in the world is there?

Daniel Pedreschi 01:21

Depends which radio station you listen to

Phil Street 01:24

Its true, actually very true. Yeah. Where in the world are you at the moment?

Daniel Pedreschi 01:29

I’m in sitting this morning in our Park Plaza Victoria. So we’ve returned to our head office, which is located in the original County Hall buildings just behind the London Eye. And I try and start each morning by just popping into at least one of the properties before I get into the office of bogged down with all the day to day

Phil Street 01:52

Very good, Yeah, well, the sun is out today. It’s like we’re definitely getting an Indian summer at the moment.

Daniel Pedreschi 01:59

Yeah, most definitely. Thankfully, not as as hot or humid as it had been in August. But it’s given us a nice little reminder.

Phil Street 02:08

Yeah, absolutely. Before we head into darkness anyway. Great. Well, as I mentioned in the little preamble, at the beginning, you’ve you’ve got certainly on the face of it something of a big role. But I’m guessing you didn’t just arrive there must be a bit of a journey and a story to have gotten you there. So perhaps you could take us all the way back to the beginning. And just give us a walkthrough of your, your life so far, you don’t have to start at birth, I should say that.

Daniel Pedreschi 02:39

Listen, I think it’s been one of the great things about the whole of the lockdown, his people have become very, very creative in terms of their writing, they’re reaching out and linking in and one of the things I’ve seen and all these great LinkedIn, you know, posts that people have put, and of course, other services are available. You know, people saying, you know, I’ve never been in the industry, 20 years, I’ve been at 25 years, they talk about how they started in their small local hotel, and local pub up washing all of that without any real desire to make catering or hotel keeping their profession and then become infected. And I’m guilty of all of the above.

Phil Street 03:20


Daniel Pedreschi 03:21

I started at the age of 15, basically, because I wanted to go on a holiday. And my mom said, Okay, if you want to go on the holiday go out and earn the money for it. So I knocked on the door of my local hotel, which is marine Hotel in Sutton and Dublin. And I started off with the glorious titled and what was called a lounge boy,

Phil Street 03:45

That conjures up some images…

Daniel Pedreschi 03:47

You’re involved in table service, serving that. And then if you’re on the early shift, it would involve stopping the bar cleaning the fires, resetting the farmer. And at one stage, the GM and the exec chefs, we said you seem to enjoy this. And would you ever consider doing it for a career? And at that stage, to be perfectly honest, I’d never thought about hotel keeping as a career, I had to look into it. And I thought Actually, you know what, I think this is right. So I went into the Dublin college a catering as it was then. And I did business studies and Hotel Management. And that really kind of set me on the on the route and fully embedded me, you know, into the industry. So at that stage, then I had to great, do great placements. My first placement I went to America, and I worked in food service there. I got my first exposure. So I work in the laundry department there as well during the summer, came back did my second year. And then I was recruited in Dublin for what was then the London Tara, which was owned by Aer Lingus. So that was in 1987. And that really was the foundation placement for me. So I’d worked in a 30 bed and then suddenly arrive in this 850 bedroom, hotel occupancy, mid 90s amazing leadership of Owen Dillon. That was the year he won, or during my placement period, he won hotelier of the year, we had, I think, two acorn winners, we have the executive housekeeper the Year award. So really, really dynamic property. Love that so much. I asked if I could come back on a management placement scheme. And they said, they didn’t have one, they only had schemes for one year, you know, released from college to come back, I went up, I wrote out my own one year training plan. So before I left, I went to HR and knocked on the door and just said, oh, by the way, I said, I’m thinking I’m coming back next June. And I think this is the training programme I’m going to do. But I don’t know whether it was a combination of luck, or blind ignorance on my part, but they take me back. After I left and graduated from Cobra Street, I came back and did a fantastic one year training in all around the hotel, every department that you can think of, and at the end of that, then I joined the duty management team. So it’s, and it’s something I still joke about with some of my colleagues, you know, from those days, because at 22 years of age, you were handed the biggest bunch of keys, or jangly or pre electronic locks. And you were given at least one pager sometimes to if somebody needed not stops for an hour or so. And then you became the duty manager of that hotel. And again, I think I think it was that whole seeing the opportunity rather than the pitfalls. And I had an amazing 18 months or so there working as a manager, include night management shifts, with a great, great team, you know, fantastic structure.

Phil Street 07:02

I think that’s a key point on attitude. You know, that’s, it’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for a young person in inverted commas to take on. But you know, you I suppose you do look at these things in in one of two ways you either look at and go, Oh, my God, that’s beyond me. Or you look at it and go, Wow, look at the opportunity I’ve been given. And it seems that you’ve, you took the latter approach.

Daniel Pedreschi 07:29

This is all of the duty managers in there. And they were generally six of us working at the time. It was we were all the same. We’d all graduated, we were all the same age, but I suppose that also reflect on the faith that the company had a particularly own Dillon in growing and developing all of us as young managers.

Phil Street 07:50


Daniel Pedreschi 07:51

So yeah, I agree, I think but it was, I was able to avail of a fantastic opportunity, a fantastic setup, Fantastic ethos that was there. So you know, no, I battled against the odds. And everything was against me. It wasn’t it was it was a very, it was a very smooth road to come down.

Phil Street 08:12

Yeah. And I guess, equally as important as having a leadership team who are happy to impart responsibility on those who don’t necessarily have the experience. because how else did you get the experience? right?

Daniel Pedreschi 08:26

Correct. And you’ve nailed it in one Phil That, to me was the real opportunity. And I suppose the next thing then it’s actually quite relevant to the situation we find ourselves in now because the company in the interim had been bought out by Copthorne. And they just opened the Copthorne Hotel in Slough. And that had opened and forgive me on the timing, but almost immediately after the opening of the hotel, there was the advent of the first Gulf War. Well, I when I when I talk about the first Gulf War, particularly with you know, my mouse 9192 they kind of got what a has ever been go for. And then was there more than one, which, which puts everything into relevance. And what happened then was the hotel was restructured in terms of the leadership team, because it couldn’t sustain the opening team. And five of us were moved out from the what was then the Copthorne, Tara, and we were given ptld positions running the hotel, right. And that continued for three years. So we that was my first position then as a reception manager. So I run reception for a year, massive shock in whereas previously, as a duty manager when you finish your shift, as long as your log is written up, you’ve everything left you hand over your keys and your pager and you go off on your merry way. And that was the first real shock insofar as well. I had responsibility and you know, it didn’t And like nobody to hand it over to. Yeah. So the three fantastic use there. So I spent my first year as manager, second year as front office manager. So I got night and the night auditor. And then the next year then I was made front of house manager. So yeah, again, fantastic opportunity, the times that we’re in it, we all had to multi skill. So we would, depending on the day of the week and the pattern of arrival, I could quite as equally be the breakfast host welcoming everybody in until breakfast finished. And then Ben jump on the desk. Or if we had something in the evening, you do the bar, you know, the pre the pre dinner bar and conferencing, and then move over. So yeah, great, great time really, really enjoyed us. And then I started I made a change. And I moved over to the running meet Hotel in sorry, yeah. And I work there because my career to that stage I spent more or less five years in front. So I wanted to get back into food and beverage again, at a more senior level than I’d been when I was working through college. So I did just under a year in the running beaten sorry, as a bar and lounge manager, which was a fantastic experience. And if nothing else, you convinced me that it’s different courses for different horses. And the challenge of running a an operation on the banks of the Thames that was absolutely entirely weather dependent. So if the sun wasn’t shining, you were really busy. And on a on a Sunday or a Saturday, if the sun Sean and everybody decided to run the grand dad for a drive around the Riverton old Park, and come to us for afternoon tea or an early dinner, then you were beyond?

Phil Street 12:00

Yeah, I can imagine. I’ve actually seen that that hotel from the water have gone past it in a narrow boat. Yeah, it’s just what an aspect it has.

Daniel Pedreschi 12:12

Listen, it was it was absolutely fantastic. And I think you know, in terms of the levy brothers, when they took it and how they developed it, you can see then how they took that footprint and used it for how they develop the growth. So you know, when I see the growth and the success of that and and the service offering, you can trace its DNA back to the running meat. Right. So that was there. Then I moved over for the first of my two stints in Grosvenor house. So I was fortunate I got the opportunity to go in as banqueting manager number six, right. So

Phil Street 12:48

That sounds like when people are handing out parts in theatre, the you know, your your banqueting manager number six, which means that there were many more people in front of you

Daniel Pedreschi 13:00

No, most definitely and, you know, I, I think if you think about the early 90s, in terms of the formality, the structure, Tails until six engine at six o’clock, into only with your rose, whether you were on the floor or just sitting in the office, doing admin, but it was a remarkable opportunity. You were given each anchoring role had specific responsibilities. So I was responsible for all of the private receptions that would happen before an event in the in the great room. There were up to 36 small suites, you may have to have private receptions in all of those.

Phil Street 13:46

I was gonna say, the facilities there are extensive

Daniel Pedreschi 13:50


Phil Street 13:51

In that department aren’t they

Daniel Pedreschi 13:52

Yeah. So you know, it was it was a massive, massive eye opener for me, you know, thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed that. In the last four months. There was a vacancy in the liquid department. So I ran the liquid to prop banqueting liquid department for profit, I think was about four months until the new incumbent came through. And I think and again, the numbers may have made me I think, at that stage, it was somewhere between an eight and 10 million pound liquor business was in there

Phil Street 14:19


Daniel Pedreschi 14:20

Something like that

Phil Street 14:21

All of this is, you probably maybe didn’t realise that at the time. Or maybe you did, I don’t know. But you’re, you’re just kind of chipping away at little extra bits of experience that I’m guessing you’ll ultimately make a big difference in to your knowledge of the business and how you can lead etc, etc. But did you know it at the time, were you conscious of making these decisions, or did they just kind of happen to you?

Daniel Pedreschi 14:45

I think because I always viewed myself as an operator. I always I was always of the opinion that you couldn’t lead unless you could operate. Yeah. And and that that was something that probably it came from came from my father You know, just listen listening to him his work environment and what he was doing in terms of those who could who knew what they were talking about. And those who those who didn’t. So I think for me, that was the important thing that I needed to know how to do it properly. It was they were relatively easy, easy decisions to make. So because of a great organisations, they were working with great people. And I suppose one thing I would say to people, you know, go, who’s your boss, who you’re going to work for? So who is it who’s going to be able to offer you opportunities, see what potential you have and fly top cover for you as and when it’s required? You know, I think one of the challenges occasionally is that people are put in the position where they make a mistake. You know, if I’m firmly of the opinion of somebody who works for me and make some mistake, what’s my responsibility in them making the mistake? Yeah. And you know, one of one of the principles we’ve got is, you know, it wasn’t a man, it wasn’t a management decision. Yeah, Yes, it was. So did you answer the stakeholders? Did you have a look at it, you assess the opportunities, everything else? Okay, go wrong. Okay, fine. Did you learn Yeah, slash return, move on. And I suppose, you know, that was the thing for me. I was really able to learn so that period in Grosvenor house, I was working under Andrew coy. You know, for anybody in the banqueting worlds, and I will talk to the younger banqueting members that we have now, when they talk about innovation and what they’ve learned. You can almost draw a spider’s web. And most of the key banqueting managers in London at some stage have all worked under Andrew Coyne. Right. So you know, I learned a lot my trade desperately under him. He moved then to one Whitehall place was in the national liberal club in Whitehall, adjacent and connected to the Royal Horseguards Hotel. And it had been the floors have been abandoned for a number of years. So when I went into the show round, there, were actually pigeons flying in the banqueting rooms. So I signed up with him on a one year contract as the pre opening operations manager. So so the whole way through construction, working all of that, so designing the spec, what did we want it to be? Again, Mr. Peel, from Thistle gave us a great opportunity to say okay, we don’t have anything five star in the portfolio, you guys are going to come in. So there was five of us left Grosvenor house and went in at that stage to run it. Wow. a hell of a leap of faith, again, but made very, very simple in terms of the faith of Mr. Peel in terms of fissile and his vision as to what he wanted to be. And then the the move with Andrew coy And Mark Gannon, who was his number two there, and my immediate boss, in terms of how we were going to do it. Yeah, great, great opportunity. We saw it the whole way through right from construction. The I actually spent my gardening leave from Grosvenor house with the building firm, because they weren’t able to take me on in my role as ops manager. And I just said, Well, listen, I’m free for a month if you’re stuck for anything, and I got a call the next day. So I went and worked for the for the builders as a labour. So we got it up. We got it set and running. And that was absolutely fantastic, did it and then towards the end of my year, I got a call from Benny and say, dude, I want to go back to the company. And at that stage, the Millennium Bally’s hotel was at its first refurb and was converted into a boutique hotel. So was really one of the new boutique hotels at the time

Phil Street 18:47


Daniel Pedreschi 18:47

So I had the opportunity to go there, the Millennium Gloucester next door along with the Millennium conference centre. So I was hired and I went back as the front of house manager for the complex. So I ran the two reception teams, portraits, concierge, everything, both properties. So again, combined, just under just over 800 bedrooms. I did that for I think about 15 months and then I was asked if I wanted to become the Operations Manager just for Bailey’s itself. And so I took over as Operations Manager for Bailey’s. So I was responsible for all of the food and beverage and the front office. And I think after about a year I was asked then if I would be the food and beverage director for complex working alongside Chris Thompson, who’s now at the Mandarin Oriental. And so he was heading up the Millennium Conference Centre. And if I’d worked alongside him as the director of food and beverage for the complex, so did that for again approximately a year. So I spent just four years on complex there and then I got the call to ask If I wanted to go back to Grosvenor house, I was the director of food and beverage operations, right. So for just over five years after I’d left Grosvenor house, I returned then, and that was where there was a significant structural change. Previously, you had three very distinct businesses that operated in Grosvenor house, you had conference and banqueting. You had 86 Park Lane, the 22, beautifully appointed small meeting rooms on the first floor, and then you had the food and beverage offer. And they all had their separate structures, separate directors and operated under the very dynamic Paolo De Shoni, he wanted to unite the three of them. So I came as the director of food and beverage operations, working under Paul Bidgood, who had just a bad stage done the reorganisation of Cafe Royal. I stayed at Grosvenor house, then for three years and eventually went when Paul moved and relocated to Australia, I became the director of food and beverage there. So fantastic time, lots of change. And And again, it’s another period of what happens when there’s massive uncertainty in the marketplace. And what happened then Phil was, that was during the period of 911.

Phil Street 21:24

Right, okay

Daniel Pedreschi 21:24

And that was momentous on different occasions, because it was also the date of the birth of my firstborn.

Phil Street 21:30

Oh, wow.

Daniel Pedreschi 21:31

She was actually born on the morning.

Phil Street 21:34

So you remember it for two reasons.

Daniel Pedreschi 21:37

Most definitely do. And what happened, then, obviously, the financial shock that came with the back of that. And you may remember that was at the period with the Royal Bank of Scotland

Phil Street 21:49


Daniel Pedreschi 21:50

Where they had compiled this massive portfolio with Le Meridian. The Grosvenor house was rebranded the Meridian, a whole host of hotels were included in that deal, the walled off was there at the Cumberland was involved.

Phil Street 22:05

I’d actually forgotten about that.

Daniel Pedreschi 22:07

Yeah. And working, then in parallel with Keith and Chris Cooper at restaurant associates, the buzzword of the period then was about sticking to core activity. So the principle was that the food and beverage would go to a specialist and restaurants associate, we’re going to take over from memory, I think there were 18 hotels in the London portfolio, they were going to run all the food and beverage in that, which meant then that the hotel operators and the general managers would just concentrate on their key function, which was a combination

Phil Street 22:44


Daniel Pedreschi 22:44

So the first hotel that came over was the Waldorf Hotel. So the reorganisation of that the new food and beverage concepts of restaurants associated all of that. And then one of the next ones to go was to be the Cumberland and closely followed by Grosvenor house. So I was very fortunate, I got a tap on the shoulder from restaurants associates, and they said to me, Well, listen, you know, we’re going to be taking over all of the food and beverage anyway. So your position won’t exist in Grosvenor house, would you like to come across and help us in restaurants associated become an operation

Phil Street 23:21


Daniel Pedreschi 23:21

With the world wild as we take everything over? So I said, Yeah,

Phil Street 23:26

Very interesting project, I guess.

Daniel Pedreschi 23:29

Yeah, it was because that was the direction of travel at that time, you know, all of the buzz words, all of the consultants, that was the future of the industry, right. And you know, it again, I suppose you you come to another juncture in the road where you know, you’re at a crossroads or that you’re at a why, okay, I can stay and become the traditional, or it’s very clearly this is how the direction and how things are going. And I have an opportunity to get in there right at the very, very beginning and get on board on that. And, you know, the whole team at restaurant associates are pulled together again, goes back to the leadership piece. You know, I knew Chris at Grosvenor house, because the reason I became banqueting number of managers think he was banqueting manager number three, and he moved on. So we’re looking for a slot. I worked with Chris during his notice period, and you know, this really impressed with him. So for me, it was very simple. And it goes back to the whole thing about choosing your boss. Yeah. So what they said then was okay, well, first and foremost, you have to be a unit manager and moving over into, you know, in essence, a contract catering company, brand new for me, I hadn’t done it previously. So he said, Well, we only have one five star venue that’s currently in our portfolio. And that was Somerset House. Right. So I moved over then as General Manager catering for Somerset House, which again, in point to think of the time 2000 And three, the public courtyard with the fountains. And that was a millennium project. Number one, remember that period when all that money was splashed, and all of the big projects that was one of those, so it was still very, very new. Sinead melotti sketched a solution, great heights. She was the first general manager in there and really put on what it was superb events, superb qualities. So it was very easy for me to slip in, and just try and try and maintain the fantastic work that they’re so I was at Somerset House for three years. And of course, that was during the period lots and lots of pop ups. So again, that’s something else. That’s a very common vernacular. But at the period when I went there, our pups weren’t. So we would have the pop up summer terrorists, which would be introduced in and around Easter to anyone that fell through mid September, or next weeks. And then the next pop up was the ice rink cafe. So that would always be open by the last week in November, carried through to the very last week in January. And during the summer, then we would have the popcorn. So I think at the height there were two or three of them in two different sets, running through in parallel to all these absolutely fantastic high high level corporate events, either in the courtyard with marquees or in the Siemens waiting Hall. So in addition to that, we had a Morgan Mannier he was running the Admiralty restaurant, you know a fantastic chef, he was there. We had the Admiralty deli. So a retail offer that was involved there. You know, very, very dynamic, very seasonal, lots of things coming up. And yeah, I learned a massive, massive amount

Phil Street 27:07

I was gonna say a little bit of a different focus for you a different way of doing things but nevertheless, you know, I making you more rounded as the days go by.

Daniel Pedreschi 27:19

Yeah. And I think at four o’clock in the morning when I was packing away the bars after a pop concerts, Looking for this is helping me.

Phil Street 27:30

Yeah (Laughs)

Daniel Pedreschi 27:33

Yeah, this this is doing me some good in terms of that. No, that was that was a that was a fantastic opportunity in terms of that. And off the back of that then I had the opportunity to get back into mainstream hotels and large scale banqueting. And I had the opportunity to go and run the Cafe Royal as it was, prior to its closure.

Phil Street 27:58


Daniel Pedreschi 27:59

running that with Le Meridian, Piccadilly, so under and under Anna Dowling was the general manager for both.

Phil Street 28:06


Daniel Pedreschi 28:06

15,16 months exclusively at the Cafe Royal. And then I moved over as the EAM to Le Meridian, Piccadilly, with the kind of overview of the Cafe Royal when number two there Paul Boon stepped up. And we managed the Cafe Royal through to closure and return back to the crown in advance of the construction work that was done before the hotel itself was built

Phil Street 28:33


Daniel Pedreschi 28:33

So that was fine. That took me up to the financial crisis in 2000 and 2009. And then the position was made redundant in liberating Piccadilly. So I had a period when I was off, before I was invited back by Starwood to start with the parent company. And I was invited to join the procurement team. So that was the period when Turnberry were just finishing or Starwood refurbishment. So I was doing some assisting, not a huge amount during the time I was there. Again, that was another great experience growing up and seeing that seeing how we can help them I suppose. your earlier question, Phil, in terms of funding, and I think if I’d ever sat down and wrote a job that my career was heading towards, and the absolute ideal job for me, not desperately trying not to speak in cliches. I think that was the job at Westminster Bridge, because it just pulled everything together. So as 19 bedrooms 36 meeting rooms, a ballroom that we were told could take 800 but that was only because it was mapped incorrectly quite easily take 1200 six different food and beverage outlets, you know, sitting very happily within the opera for Our market in terms of what it was. So that was it. So I joined approximately six months prior to the opening, responsible for ironically, as it turned out all of the procurement for the OS & E to get everything up and running within Park Plaza, they had never opened a hotel of that size. So, under Andrew Swindells, who was the Metropole, in Birmingham, he pulled together a team, a number of with either five star experience or large scale hotel experience. And we open mash.

Phil Street 30:39

I remember when it hit the scene to be honest, it was like that. Obviously, it’s a massive property, but actually from the outside, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna be a huge property. It’s a it’s a bit of a Tardis.

Daniel Pedreschi 30:53

No, that’s it. I mean, you know, it’s very interesting, because I’ve subsequently got to meet the architect who designed it. And I’ve had the opportunity to learn, you know, his thoughts and philosophy. So even when you’re in the hotel itself, it’s deliberately designed and curved, so that you don’t see these expansive long corridors. Right. So the longest corridor that you can see, only has 28 bedrooms. Right, and that’s split on both sides. So very, very cleverly done. Fantastic in terms of how to move people around, you know, with the I was asked to give a presentation to some students a couple of years ago, and on on the day itself. I went on Google, and I looked for population size of towns and cities in the UK. And we figured on the night, I was talking to the students, the price of Westminster Bridge was the 888th largest town or city in the UK.

Phil Street 31:56

That’s a fantastic statistic to deliver. That’s amazing.

Daniel Pedreschi 32:03

So that was that. So I ran. I was the hotel manager for two years. And then under Andrew Swindells, moved up into Chief Operating Officer. And then I was very fortunate mine was made the General Manager. So I was General Manager for six years. And in the interim, then I also became the general manager of the central reservations office. Right. So that was a thing that we created you you may argue by stealth or by accident, because prior to that reservations was located on property on each individual property. But one of the hotels had a GM Soria raised manager and vacancy. So they needed some assistance. We said, Well, why didn’t you just pulled come down and sit in our office, and we’ll help you there. So they moved in and decided they didn’t want to leave, then another hotel had exactly the same. So over the period of a year, all of the London hotels, then we’re operating in the reservations office. And so I ran that department as well, for a couple of years. 100 rooms commercial. Yeah. So after six years on there, I had the opportunity to become the regional GM for the UK. So that was responsible just for the hotels themselves, not only the commercial functions. And then 18 months ago, now, I became the VP and in that I took over the commercial functions, and some of the other head of functions as well

Phil Street 33:33


Daniel Pedreschi 33:34

So Phil, you made the first real mistake in so far as you asked me a very short question. And and unfortunately I’ve given you I think a 45 minute response from one question

Phil Street 33:45

(Laughs) That’s exactly what what we’re, what we’re looking for is absolutely supposed to be about, about your journey and kind of your your decision making. And you know, how these things come about, because every journey is completely different. And some people, you are benefactors of just being in the right place at the right time. Some people force the issue. Some people make mistakes before they settle on a path. But it seems to me like your journey is it’s been very much been about almost a mix of kind of whatever life throws at you, let’s let’s give this a go. And it doesn’t feel like you’ve made too many career errors. Everything had something some part to play in you ending up where you are.

Daniel Pedreschi 34:30

You know, it’s interesting, quite often when, you know, students ask me and you know, when we do the lectures or anything else that we you know, how do you become a general manager? I said, it’s a very, very simple to become a general manager. Yeah, there are only two rules number one, don’t burn the hotel down. And number two, don’t pee in the flowerpots. So they, they always look at me very, very frequently. And I said, Okay, let me give me give you a little bit more clarity. I don’t burn the hotel down. It means you just do The job you’re in to the very, very best of your ability, because your boss needs to promote you more than you need to be promoted. Yeah, you know, when you’re doing succession planning, when you’re doing team building or whatever else, the core issue you’ve got is, so if you, if you’re just dedicated at your job, you just get your head down, you do it, you learn, you know, you fulfil all of the promises, you know, once you get to a certain level, that’s, that’s you just assume that you understand all of those bits and pieces, but your boss is more concerned about promoting you than you are. Okay. You technically more than you need him. So just don’t bring the hotel down. And, you know, in terms of then of the don’t pee in the fireball, is integrity.

Phil Street 35:48


Daniel Pedreschi 35:49

You know, just behave yourself. Resist the temptation, you know. First thing is know what you’re doing. You know, it’s, you know, I always say, you know, thankfully, I made most of the key mistakes, particularly, you know, in terms of not paying the flowerpots early enough in my career that a gentle tap on the shoulder and whisper in the ear with sufficient I’ll be back on track. Yeah, but you know, and it’s To me, it’s just, it’s just very, very clear. Yeah. You know, just Just do your job to the very, very best of your ability.

Phil Street 36:25

Yeah, the other thing about that is, if you’re doing your job to the, to the best of your ability, then, you know, if you do step out a line slightly, just because you didn’t know any better than the likelihood of forgiveness in that scenario was much greater. And I say that out of experience, because I remember being very young and given my first management role, and I was a head down crack on kind of a guy and was, was making very, very good progress. And then it’ll had a moment a lapse in concentration, let’s call it that. And as you just said, I was, I suppose rather than reprimanded, I was given a rap across the knuckles, and that was enough to make me realise, you know, that’s not the path I want to go down.

Daniel Pedreschi 37:12

Yeah, listen, you know, it filled the, you know, we we touched on it earlier, if you have a look at the massive, massive responsibility that’s available, you know, at a very early stage in your career. Yeah, you know, the potential for all of the pitfalls, better around the, you know, you’ve got really, really intense, you know, relationships in terms of commitment, the hours people are working on, isn’t enough. Mom, as you say, momentarily, lapse of judgement. But yeah,

Phil Street 37:47

as you’re young, and you’re kind of learning life and all of that, I think these these moments are inevitable. A lot rests on your own attitude towards your own kind of misdemeanours, but also the the leadership’s that you have, you know, you can be you can be lucky or not, I suppose. And I think it sounds like you, you had good leaders, I’d certainly had great leaders on my journey as well.

Daniel Pedreschi 38:09

Yeah, I don’t know, initially, I’ve you’ve you’ve nailed that one on the head. So absolutely. Great stuff.

Phil Street 38:15

So it’s nice to get some things right occasionally on this show. And I wanted to talk to you about 2019 because on the face of it, it was quite a successful year for for your, I suppose pocket of the PPHE group. You were the a large Hotel Group of the Year as I understand it, and and also you you joined the FTSE 250, that’s a busy year.

Daniel Pedreschi 38:45

Yeah, it’s interesting, and it’s almost then a chicken and egg scenario


Phil Street 38:51


Daniel Pedreschi 38:51

So it was the aspiration of the owners to join the FTSE 250 and had been for a number of years. But in order to do that, you’ve obviously all of the corporate governance pieces there. You need to have a clearly defined strategy. So you know, that the real work for the footsie 250 problem began five years in advance. Sure. And in order to have that discipline and you know, and move from an entrepreneurial hotel, you know, company you know, I’m one of one of the key USPS for Park Plaza is that we decision making process is astoundingly fast if need be right you know it’s it’s for not not even for me but for a number of other leaders in other positions more company. You get access to the chairman and the CEO whenever you want. You know, they see you they come into your hotels. So to from that kind of business. We are to the No, we we have to have more structure, we have to ensure corporate governance, all of those elements. That journey began five years ago. And as a by product of that in clearly defining the strategy, then in terms of, you know, the usual culprits, our people our property, how we operate, what we’re going to do, you then begin to draw up the guidelines. And the the key the two key areas in terms of what really surprised me about the A, the a process and what we were commended for, it wasn’t necessarily just the physical element of the of the properties, which I suppose in my youthful naivety, I would have thought so. And it was about the human capital, right. And it was a recognition of everything that we were doing in terms of our team development, the training modules, the ability to show advancement, at all levels through the organisation into ships, and how we run them. So now you’re quite right. It was it was a busy year, but it was busier more in terms of recognition, and the hard work. So the hard work had been going on for probably five years prior.

Phil Street 41:20

Yeah. That’s a lesson in perseverance, if ever I’ve heard it, and and also, I think the, the point there was, was actually the point about people was that you you can have the list comes up on in numerous conversations. And it’s, you know, it’s a bit cliched, but it’s completely true. I mean, you can have the most beautiful buildings in the world that people can recognise and give you credit for. But the the buildings are nothing without your are really wonderful team behind them.

Daniel Pedreschi 41:51

Yeah, look, That’s… And I suppose that’s become even more relevant now. As everybody’s under the immense pressure that they’re under. Yeah, you know, and it was funny, I was talking to one of the junior managers for one of our operations managers, and he had an issue in his hotel. And he was he was he was reaching out to me for a solution and kind of I said, Listen, listen, when you call for help. I said, I want to hear an echo. And he said, What do you mean, you want to hear an echo? I said, I want to hear if your team are in a hole. Yeah, I want to hear an echo. Because you’re in the hole with them. Yeah. And if if I don’t hear an echo, it’s because they’re in the hole. And you’re at the top, looking down at them in the hole. And what we what we found, and again, I’m desperately trying to avoid the cliches, but that’s exactly what we found through all of this crisis. Okay, is that first and foremost, or the ops managers or the general managers, everybody are working alongside the team? Yeah. You know, we, we had, and he won’t lie, he won’t mind me saying yes, but Nile waters are gentlemen, we have you had somebody coming in from the show round about two weeks ago, and the person arrive 10 minutes early, and went to use the facilities to freshen up. And when he went down, the he started to talk to the attendant who was cleaning the toilets. Yeah. Attendance, they are refreshing everything. He went up, and he sat down off the general manager, administrator, the gentleman who was down cleaning the toilets, and making sure they were ready in advance to show run. Yeah. You know, and that’s absolutely typical, through all of the properties at the moment, you know, in terms of returning, and that’s even when team members have known that some of their colleagues have lost a position while have extended team members still on furlough, and replacing that additional responsibility. The general managers have built up, built up enough credibility with their individual team members. And the team members know that yes, we’re in a hole. But there is an echo. And the echo is because the gentleman in the hole with them. Yeah, no shouting from the lip of it down.

Phil Street 44:12

Yeah, I think that’s a massive point, actually, in the time that we’re in, it’s inevitable that tough decisions have to be made in this kind of crisis that we’re in and more will have to be made, I’m sure. But you’re there is a way that you can go about that. That still means that everybody’s respect is intact. And that’s the key point for me, whether with any business, I mean, if you’re focused on the human element of what we’re going through, then then the decision making that that you’ll make won’t be too far away, I think from from where you need to be.

Daniel Pedreschi 44:45

Yeah, and, you know, I think it is, it is it is painful. And the whole point about it is to whatever you do do with the touch of humanity and humility

Phil Street 44:58


Daniel Pedreschi 44:58


Phil Street 44:59

The one thing We’ll say just to move away from that wonderful subject matter. But you’ve on a couple of occasions, you’ve tried to avoid cliches, as you say. But cliches are inevitable on the show. That is not a show that goes by without a cliche coming out. So So don’t ever worry about cliches being around me. That I think one of the main takeaways from from your journey for me, it’s very much about the fact that you said at the beginning, your your 25 years, pretty much in the industry, in that time you’ve seen for economic hits, if you’d like I mean, at the end of the day, that just demonstrates that adversity is absolutely inevitable

Daniel Pedreschi 45:44

Yeah, I think listen the, within within one hour of the, you know, the decision made in terms of the lockdown. I called all of the general managers together. All of all of the all of the regional leaders, and I said to them exactly what Paolo Shoni said to me in 2001, with 911, and we were in Grosvenor house, and he said to me, in Grosvenor hands, no matter what happens in the world. We will be the last Hotel in London to close if need, and we will keep going on for that period. Yeah. And I said exactly the same thing to the team. So it didn’t come up with anything new. I just rebadged it. re-polish. And then the one thing I said to them, is it the great thing now is I’m hearing the language coming back me is we will be fittest longest.

Phil Street 46:36


Daniel Pedreschi 46:37

Very, very simple message. guys will be fittest longest.

Phil Street 46:40


Daniel Pedreschi 46:40

So whatever we’re doing, and when we’re making those hard decisions, we’re not breaking things down. We’re making them stronger. Yeah. And we’re building them to be the fittest team for the longest possibility that we have.

Phil Street 46:53


Daniel Pedreschi 46:55

And that’s that’s just that’s just part and parcel, I think.

Phil Street 46:58

Yeah, absolutely. And you’re your Master Inn holder, I believe.

Daniel Pedreschi 47:03

Yes. Very, very proud.

Phil Street 47:06

That’s just talk me through that. Because that’s not something I think that you can go and pursue. That’s something that is, I suppose bestowed upon you.

Daniel Pedreschi 47:17

Look, I think the and we just had the AGM last week, and the amazing Danny Pecorelli handed over to David Morgan-Hewitt

Phil Street 47:28


Daniel Pedreschi 47:28

In terms of that, and I suppose I’m fortunate enough in that I’ve been able to see the great transition in the master in holders, where they’re reaching out so much more in the last five or six years. Actually, sorry, it’s longer than that, because they’re on cohort nine. So they’re on with the master in holders, aspiring leaders development programme. Yep. Run with Dr. Hilary Cook, with the massive, massive investment in young young leaders coming through. So you know, it’s formed from the Worshipful Company of in holders, they received their culture in 1515. So over 500 years of existence, coming through, and it really is it’s about everything to how do we promote the industry? What do we do to ensure we’re adding back and the one thing that I was very, very impressed with the master in holders is that continual ethos about helping and reaching out? And Funny enough, the liveliest debate at the AGM this year and indeed last year, was the mentoring scheme.

Phil Street 48:44


Daniel Pedreschi 48:44

Yeah. How many mentors how many m eyes are currently mentoring? How many people are we reaching? Either for more, where it where it comes. And you know, they also the magnificent sponsorship opportunities, you know, I was fortunate enough, in terms of I received a scholarship to go to Cornell to join the General Manager’s programme. Some of the operations managers at that level is coming on. So that’s, that’s the bit which helps you make the transition from being an operator to being a strategic leader, and how you can manage the company. So I’m eternally grateful to the opportunity to master in order to, you know, and the whole of everything about their ethos, what they do, how they do it. And as I said, that the liveliest debate amongst, you know, all of the holders who were on the zoom call was about the growth and development. Yeah. How are we helping? What are we doing for the industry, where it goes, you know, and the the Mia al, monster in the holders, aspiring leaders There’s a lie. And that’s one thing I would say to any listeners on your call, who are in positions of leadership that’s open across a broad, broad spectrum, not just hotels, or if you’ve got some young talent that’s coming through, it’s done over a series of weekends, it’s hosted at the most amazing holes all around the country. And again, I think, all in my general manager properties. So they do that i think it’s a particular seven weekend, taking them through what they’re learning what they’re seeing, building fantastic networks. So I think the you know, the the real shame in terms of the mastering holders is we haven’t reached as many people yet as possible. And the number of applications we need here are actually increasing year on year, I think last year was a record in terms of the number of people who completed the application process.

Phil Street 51:03

Great. Yeah, I think the the giving back thing, and also kind of raising the profile man, I can’t imagine the amount of knowledge and experience that that that sits in, in a master in holders networking event, you know, if you haven’t, if not one of those people have dealt with something, then it’s not worth worth dealing with, I would imagine. But also, I think the key point for me is the for and this is one of the reasons I started this podcast was sometimes the word that gets out about hospitality is just all the perceived negative stuff, but actually Day in Day out for the people who live and breathe this industry there. You know, it’s just full of wonderful things all the time. And it’s just such an amazing career. And I just wanted to do my bit in terms of trying to tell the world that actually what you may have heard is not true. And look at all these amazing journeys and look at all these amazing things, and fun and stupid things that happen along the way. If you want to have a laugh, but also make a serious career. It’s I don’t think there’s a better career to choose.

Daniel Pedreschi 52:10

No, and I think that you’re quite right, Phil and I that’s the the big, big challenge. You know, it’s very interesting in my daughter’s school and my son’s school, when they have the job fairs. Yeah. Where they invite the parents to come in and set up the stalls. I can count on one hand, the number of parents who’ve approached me over all of the years that I’ve been doing it and both of those schools really, yeah, the kids approached me. And again, it’s trying to get over those preconceptions of, you know, what is the industry have to offer? What does it do and and everything else, but it is it’s absolutely incredible. You know, my daughter is now 19, when she was 16, she did a her school were very, very good, again on her own, but she lined up five different sets of work experience. And I deliberately left hotels to the very end, and she worked in all sorts of environments coming through. And when she got to the end, and I said to her, how did you find it? He said, I didn’t realise she said, but hotels were the most professional organisation out of all of the ones that you did. Yeah, I won’t name the ones the companies that you went to, but they were all blue chip. Most of them were footsie. And I think, you know, that’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us in terms of to indentify young talent exactly as you know, Rosemary did my first GM when I was 16, it’s It seems this is this is great. I had no intention whatsoever in going into hotels, Exactly as you said, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t change anything.

Phil Street 53:58

Yeah. Well, I’m glad about that. Because you’re, you’re quite deep in now. (Laughs) no, that’s great. I, I’m getting a little bit conscious of time. But if you’ll indulge me for a little while longer, there’s a question that I like to ask everyone. Which is, from your career so far? Do you have any funny stories that you could share with us? Because I’m sure there are some that you can’t

Daniel Pedreschi 54:02

(Laughs) Good heavens, do I have any? Well, I suppose I I joke. Westminster Bridge. We spoke about it in terms of the size and scale and everything that you see. It’s not unusual on a Saturday night of 2500 sleepers coming, coming into that hotel, so you see everything because one of the things to say about hotels is that there are a microphone glass on life. Yeah, very good. You see absolutely everything. And I thought I’d seen everything. So with my my number two, you know, suit when I was there, and when I moved out, he took over as GM. He said, we would joke if something popped up. I take them, you can put that one in your autobiography, cuz I’ve had, I’ve had one of them before. And that’s how we trade stories. So he, he phoned me last Monday. And he said, I’ve had one over the weekend, he said, but I’m keeping it from my autobiography, said, What’s that? He said, Well, we had we had a couple of youngsters, they took the tweet, they were getting a little bit loud. So security went and dealt with them. And then we we asked their additional guests to leave when they had a small little dog and I went yeah OK, Said, But the security guard got a little bit cautious when the guy picked up a snake

Phil Street 55:39

Oh Jeez, yeah, I definitely wouldn’t be a little bit cautious, I’d have been running the other direction

Daniel Pedreschi 55:45

So there we go, Phil. And I think that’s a perfect one to finish it. No matter what you think you’ve seen, no matter what you think you’ve done even after all these years there’s stills something else that will come along and give you that extra bit of experience.

Phil Street 55:59

Absolutely. Great stuff. Well, if people want to get a hold of you to chew the fat and learn a little bit more about you and the company what’s what’s the best method for them to do that

Daniel Pedreschi 56:09

Oh Listen, all the usual I’m on LinkedIn, pop your message through LinkedIn, or alternatively on that one, my email address is dpedreschi@pphe.com

Phil Street 56:26

Fabulous. Well, that’s been great. I really appreciate your time. And thank you for for sharing your your journey with us today. It’s been it’s been a cracker.

Daniel Pedreschi 56:35

Not at all. It’s been quite cathartic. It’s a confession for me. So thanks for the opportunity.

Phil Street 56:44

You’re very, very welcome. And I wish you and all your teams the very best through this this next interesting period.

Daniel Pedreschi 56:50

Great. Thanks very much, Phil, hope to talk to you soon,

Phil Street 56:50

Will do, thanks Daniel. Bye, bye.

Phil Street 56:53

And there we have it. A fabulous career so far for Daniel talk with such energy and vigour. Daniels story also highlights what can happen when you take responsibility for your own actions and get your head down and crack on. Nice one, Daniel. Don’t forget, we launch a brand new episode each week. So hit that subscribe button and give us a like and share where you can. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.