- Last week a collective of four hospitality entrepreneurs Chris Fletcher, Kieron Bailey, Nick Clover & Ian Burke took ownership of the government-backed hospitality community Otolo.
- Hailed for its innovative approach, the Otolo project is backed by a European Social Fund grant, private funding and mentoring pledges from experts and leaders across the industry.
- The collective plan is to reinvigorate the Otolo mission and promise and build a brighter future for hospitality.
The group of directors all have impressive backgrounds in hospitality and discovered the exciting Otolo project in recent months while undertaken by James Lemon, who decided to step away from the company and pursue new projects. After meeting with the team in London last week, the collective was excited to see the level of expertise and enthusiasm of all who work within Otolo which made the decision easy to make.
Whilst their collective experience has incredible depth, it is the shared sense of enthusiasm for the sense of community within hospitality that will enable them to take the business to the next level, the collective includes EXP101 and Tech on Toast founders Chris Fletcher and Kieron Bailey, Appetite 4 Recruitment, Work and Careers & Hospitality Jobs UK CEO Nick Clover and Caterer.com former director and Springboard backer Ian Burke.
“We all run our own businesses within the industry and are all focused on supporting the hospitality industry as it enters a new era after the pandemic.” – Nick Clover, Founder & CEO of Appetite4Recruitment and Director of Hospitality Jobs UK
The new owners were seduced by the Otolo mission; to bring like-minded professionals together in hospitality and encourage them to learn from one another with mentoring programmes and dedicated CPD approved courses. With this acquisition, their ambition is to revamp Otolo and make it the biggest hospitality community by unlocking the power of peer learning.
“It is with huge excitement that we are taking ownership Otolo from James Lemon who has created a platform to make a collaborative and potentially significant difference within the challenged Hospitality Market with a refreshing approach. With like-minded understanding, we are delighted to bring Otolo to our business collective and collaborate with the vision of a better future in hospitality. A big thank you to James and everyone who has taken Otolo to this point and we look forward to joining together to take things forward.” – Chris Fletcher, Co-Founder of Exp101.com & Editor of Tech on Toast
Working as co-founder for marketing and events agency EXP101 and founder of Tech on Toast, Chris Fletcher has 20+ years of experience leading operations and teams in hospitality. Being both extremely creative and strategy-driven, Chris supports many companies in achieving growth, which over the years enabled him to develop a large network of contacts. Chris is a vociferous advocate for the benefits of well-deployed tech within hospitality, ensuring it enhances both the guest and team experience, he believes quite simply, that if tech is not solving a problem, then it is the problem.
In alignment with Chris, EXP101 co-founder Kieron Bailey has always been a passionate advocate for hospitality and the community within. As a former operator in restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and live venues, Kieron understands the power of this industry is the people at the heart of it and has spent his career creating opportunities to amplify those people. His core philosophy is that reflected glory shines brightest, essentially when your team shines, your brand does too. EXP101 was built to shine a light on the wider hospitality community and shake up the status quo.
“Otolo is making an impact by utilising the skills, knowledge and the passion of the mentors who are invested in the next generation of leaders. That is something to be applauded, shouted from the rooftops, and offered every piece of support we can muster! This industry we love needs change, and we are excited to be with Otolo, on the frontline of that change.” – Kieron Bailey, Co-Founder and Creator in Chief, EXP101
Having founded Appetite4Recruitment in 2003, Nick Clover is an experienced and passionate recruiter for middle to senior managers across retail, food and beverage, contract & facilities, and hotel industries. He is an expert at finding solutions to company skills shortages in their management structure and helped over 20,000 jobseekers. Nick’s enthusiasm for this industry is infectious and is one of the core factors behind his success in hospitality.
Media publishing expert Ian Burke has an impressive background in hospitality and recruitment as he used to be a Web Director at Caterer.com. Today he advises a variety of hospitality recruitment businesses and has gained highly relevant experience and expertise from his time as a board member at Springboard.
“Together we have been within the industry both as operators and suppliers for over 25 years. We have an extensive network of industry job hunters, existing employees, industry mentors and a collective database of over 200,000 individuals who we think we can make an impact on the Otolo project & in turn support the industry.” – Ian Burke, former director at Caterer.com