GG Hospitality, the company behind Cafe Football and Hotel Football, which opened adjacent to Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium in March, is owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. C&IT's Rob McKinlay caught up with Neville and managing director Stuart Procter.
Q: How did Hotel Football come about?
Neville: Throughout the closing years of my playing career, I always had one eye on what to do next. Both Ryan (Giggs) and I have been lucky enough to experience some of the best hotels and restaurants around the world and we wanted to use our experience to create something completely unique.
Procter: We didn't want Hotel Football to be a Man Utd brand, we wanted to be international, so deliberately opened (Cafe Football in Westfield Stratford) in London first. The baby was Cafe Football.
Q: How much input did you all have?
Procter: We all brought different experience and skills to the table. I had experience in hotels, food and service; Ryan influenced the look, feel and design; and Gary is very detailed and has basically been in charge of everything, including construction - he's built a lot of houses for himself.
Neville: We've all been very 'hands on' from the planning stages through to the design. We've all poured our hearts into this project and we're delighted with the finished article.
Q: How important is the corporate market?
Neville: We're fortunate to be in a location surrounded by blue chip companies, so it has always been key. Aside from match days, we've worked hard to develop a range of spaces to accommodate meetings and events of all sizes from a small group session in 'The Boardroom' to a banquet in the 'Stadium Suite' for 300. Our rooftop Heaven space offers the perfect setting for a five-a-side football teambuilding session.
Procter: We also offer matchday hospitality experiences, although that doesn't include match tickets so we're not really in competition with Old Trafford in that area.
Q: What are the future plans for Hotel/Cafe Football & GG hospitality?
We're an ambitious team and we're always looking for a good opportunity to create something a bit new and different. Having said that, we're keen to make sure we get Hotel Football Old Trafford right before launching our next hotel or restaurant.
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