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PAROGON GROUP RAISES IMPRESSIVE 50k FOR DOUGIE MAC 1 YEAR AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

The Parogon Group pledged to raise £50k for local charity Dougie Mac by 2020 and has already passed that target.

 

The group, which comprises of The Swan With Two Necks, The Wayfarer, The Orange Tree, Blockhouse at The Sheet Anchor, The Boars Head, The Seven Stars and The Red House, cemented plans to raise the incredible amount of money for the charity in 2017.

 

A huge range of events and activities have taken place to get to this significant total from mud runs, inter-restaurant competitions, sponsored days and events, the group’s adaptation of Bring a Pound Day and the final activity that helped push the total past the finish line was a Coffee Morning at the Orange Tree.

 

Guests paid a donation to get into the restaurant where they could help themselves to cake and refreshments, enjoy a raffle and buy from the “car boot” style set up. The total raised in just two hours was £1,210.09.

 

Ben Allison, compliance and projects manager at Parogon has managed the fundraising. He said: “I can’t believe we’ve not only reached, but exceeded the total in just under two years. It feels like such a great achievement.

 

“We’re so grateful to our friendly and generous customers, our incredible staff who have all gone above and beyond to help us hit this target, and to Dougie Mac for continuing to support this goal, encourage us and remind us why we did it.

 

“We’re thrilled to be able to make a difference to such an incredible charity and we hope the money can help many families in Staffordshire.”

 

Managing Director of Parogon, Richard Colclough holds a special place in his heart for Dougie Mac. He added:  “I know first-hand the incredible work that the Dougie Mac does and the difference they can make to lives.

 

“My mum died four years ago and the hospice was a great support and comfort throughout the whole experience. It feels very rewarding to give something back to them after all the help they gave my family and I think mum would be proud.”

 

Dougie Mac is an adult hospice that provides specialist palliative care and support to people across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent at a time when they need it most. The hospice has to raise in excess of £12m per year and 80% of this comes from donations.

 

Donna Adams, Head of Fundraising and Lottery at Dougie Mac said: “We’re really grateful to Parogon Group for making such a generous pledge to Dougie Mac – and it is fantastic that they have smashed their target a year earlier than expected.

 

“Parogon’s support is truly remarkable and will help to ensure that the hospice can keep delivering excellent care to people with life-limiting illnesses across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

 

To get involved or donate visit www.dmhospice.org.uk.

 
Dougie Mac fundraising
 

MEET THE TEAM – CHRIS TURNER

Chris Turner, Area Bar Training Manager, has been with Parogon for just over four years. 

  1. What was your first position at Parogon?

I came in as a Bar Manager at the Swan with Two Necks. I was previously a buyer at a small hotel company. It was odd coming in as a manager to Parogon because generally people climb the ladder here.

I wanted to finish my degree (Human Resources at Staffordshire University) so after a year I became a server whilst I went through that and then I became the area trainer again for the last two years. 

  1. How has your career developed at Parogon?

My role has evolved into product development and purchasing too. I identify what the consumers want, what deals we can get for the individual sites and the business and generally keep my finger on the pulse for what’s going to be the next trend and keep it fresh.

I also help with the development of the bar managers and guide them on how to run the bar as its own business. 

  1. Is the career progression what you expected with Parogon Group? 

When I first joined Parogon I thought the end goal was General Manager and that was it. When I moved back in to training I still thought that was a stepping stone to General Manager but as my role has grown the position has evolved rapidly and actually I’m now on my own, bespoke development path and I want to stay in the training and operations line of work. So, I would say it’s exceeded my expectations.

  1. What are the main benefits of working for Parogon Group?

For me the people are the main benefit of working here. I feel like I have loads of groups of friends, not just in head office. I get on well with the chefs, everyone in each site genuinely seems happy to see you, we all just get on really well. I know it sounds cheesy but we really are a family.

  1. What do you most enjoy about working at Parogon Group? 

I love that no two days are the same. It’s high energy and pressure but it’s still an enjoyable and fulfilling place to be, so it doesn’t really feel like work at times!

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be doing more operations based work, helping to deliver training to managers and chefs and working with the sites more on the buying. Hopefully, we’ll have 20+ sites by then.

In this industry, typically training is focused on the front of house but at Parogon we train the back of house too and I’m now working on a Kitchen Training Programme. I hope that I’ll be able to continue developing that further.

  1. What are the main values of the Parogon Group in your opinion?

Everyone sings from the same hymn sheet and everyone is passionate about what they do. I’ve seen the passion develop in so many people, such a one guy who started as a part time runner during his A-Levels and is now a buying manager.

  1. What did you do before you joined Parogon Group?

I was previously an Entertainment Host in a hotel chain running activities, quizzes cabaret singing and that kind of thing.

 
 

MEET THE TEAM – TOM OWEN

Newly appointed Head Chef at The Orange Tree, Tom Owen has worked his way up to the top at Parogon Group’s popular restaurant bar.

 

 Name / title / how long have you worked for Parogon?

Tom Owen, Head Chef at The Orange Tree. I joined The Orange Tree within six months of it opening so I’ve been there since almost the beginning. That was four and half years ago.

  1. What was your first position at The Orange Tree restaurant?

I joined as a Commis Chef and quickly moved up to food prep and chopping veg. I took the full route up, moving on to starters and desserts next before starting on grills and pans. I then joined the main pass a year and a half ago before reaching my goal of becoming Head Chef three months ago.

  1. How has your career developed at Parogon and have you always been with The Orange Tree?

My career has vastly developed since I joined The Orange Tree. It’s taught me a lot particularly in managing people. I’m quite confident already but it’s actually given me more confidence if anything.

  1. What are the main benefits of working for Parogon Group?

There are quite a few. Stability is one because it’s always busy. Parogon and The Orange Tree has a good reputation, people who know it, know that the food is good quality. There’s also always room for career progression and to go further within the company. I always feel like there will be a promotion somewhere and I’m not at the end of the road now I’m a head chef.

  1. What do you most enjoy about working at Parogon Group?

It’s always busy and everyone in the kitchen gets on. It makes such a difference working with decent people.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be with the Parogon Group still but in a more senior position. More sites open all the time so I don’t feel like it would be out of the question to move forward. 

  1. What are the main values of the Parogon Group in your opinion?

It’s all about the customer and making them feel great. They come in and every aspect of their experience is as good as can be, from food to drinks and service. I’d say the core value of Parogon as a company is to make sure the customer has the best time possible.

  1. What did you do before you joined Parogon Group?

I studied hospitality and catering at Stoke-on-Trent College and got a job as a chef in the second year of studying.

I have been a chef for 10 years now. Prior to The Orange Tree I was at a small restaurant in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, but the quality was nowhere near the standard of here.

 

 
 

PAROGON GROUP SMASHES TARGET FOR DOUGIE MAC #bringapound INITIATIVE

The Parogon Group has handed over a cheque for more than £13k to Dougie Mac.

The group, which comprises of The Swan With Two Necks, The Wayfarer, The Orange Tree, Blockhouse at The Sheet Anchor, The Boars Head, The Seven Stars and The Red House, started September with an aim to raise £10,000 for Dougie Mac.

By pitting all of the sites except The Red House against each other to see which could raise the most money for the initiative, the group saw tremendous success and exceeded their target. In order to achieve the fundraising goal, six sites added a voluntary £1 to customers’ bills. The Red House, which opened last month and provided complimentary food at their “dry launch” event, asked guests to donate £5 towards the charity.

Ben Allison, Compliance and Projects Manager at the group was the driving force behind this initiative. He said: “What an amazing success our campaign was! We have finished, with our guests’ support on a total of  £13,053.47.

“Our top site was the Blockhouse, they averaged 97p per table over the course of the month. We really have been blown away by the outstanding generosity of our guests and the backing of the campaign by our team throughout our restaurants.”

Dougie Mac is an adult hospice that provides specialist palliative care and support to people across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent at a time when they need it most. The hospice has to raise in excess of £12m per year and 80% of this comes from donations. This year, with the help of the local community, they’re hoping to raise £100,000 for their Bring A Pound campaign to help reach that target.

Steph Bradbury, Senior Corporate Fundraiser on behalf of Dougie Mac said: “This is absolutely brilliant. Thank you to everyone at Parogon Group for all your hard work in making this happen. You, your staff and your customers are amazing. This makes you by far the most successful supporter of this year’s Bring a Pound Campaign. You should all be very proud.”

Managing Director of Parogon Group, Richard Colclough added: “I’m absolutely thrilled with this result. The sites have stuck to their task and our customers have been fabulous in both their generosity and enthusiasm for the campaign.

“A big thank you personally to Ben, as his impetus and drive behind this project is ultimately the reason it was such a success and something else to be truly proud of.”

To get involved or donate visit: www.dmhospice.org.uk/bring-a-pound/

 
Parogon Group smashes target for Dougie Mac #bringapound initiative
 

THE RED HOUSE RAISES £1.7k FOR LOCAL FOODBANK

Parogon Group’s latest restaurant The Red House in Lilleshall has handed over more than £1,754 to the Newport Foodbank this week.

The team at the Wellington Road gastro pub which opened in September held an official “dry run” for a weekend before officially opening. They invited family, friends, colleagues and local businesses to dine at The Red House in order to finalise the dishes, showcase the new interior and to provide training to the team.

Rather than paying for their food, guests were asked to donate to the venue’s chosen charity, Newport Foodbank. This resulted in the fantastic amount which was presented to the foodbank this week.

Ben Allison, Compliance and Projects Manager for Parogon Group commented: “We are over the moon to be able to offer such a great sum to such a worthy cause. It’s a substantial amount of money to be raised over the course of three days and we can’t thank those who kindly donated enough.

“We take pride in our fundraising efforts at the Parogon Group and feel it is essential to give back to the amazing charities surrounding our venues. We’re also currently fundraising for the Dougie Mac who also received a donation from our dry runs.

“The response The Red House has had in the month that it’s been open is phenomenal, so to have a great opening and be able to fundraise a great amount for some wonderful charities has given the whole Parogon team a boost.”

Newport Foodbank opened six years ago and operates thanks to the support of a body of 10 regular volunteers.

Newport Foodbank co-ordinator Cat Finch, said: “We’re extremely grateful to all of the customers and staff at The Red House for this donation as we couldn’t operate without the support and generosity of local people and businesses.

“This donation will go towards our running costs which include our storage and premises rental and our weekly costs.”

Find out more or book a table at the Red House here.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Newport foodbank can email newportfoodbank@gmail.com

 
The Red House manager Richard Knight, senior assistant manager Natalie Heath, Cat Finch and Parogon training manager Chris Morgan
 

THE DOORS ARE OPEN AND THE CHAIRS ARE FILLED – THE RED HOUSE OPENS

Parogon Group’s seventh venue has officially opened to the public with week night bookings already almost at capacity.

The Red House, Lilleshall is the latest gastro pub to be opened by the group and has been highly anticipated all year.

It opened on the 10thSeptember after a “dry run” was held at the weekend for friends and family.

The new venue promises exquisite dining, unparalleled service and an intimate atmosphere.

The £950k refurbishment delivers on the promise, with stunning attention to detail not only in the food and drink, but also in the décor.

Everywhere you look a different and interesting take on design meets the eye, from industrial style lighting, to contemporary art installations, right down to a wall of pebbles in the bathrooms.

Over 70 new jobs have been created, with each staff member handpicked to meet the high standards the Parogon Group is renowned for.

General Manager, Richard Knight said: “The opening has been unbelievable. So many people have been looking forward to having a high quality gastro pub locally and the response from our diners so far has been excellent.

“We’re all very proud of how The Red House has turned out, there’s a great atmosphere and a huge buzz around it. I’m pleased to be the manager of what promises to be an exceptional venue as part of the Parogon Group.”

The Red House is the latest venue joining the Parogon Group’s repertoire which comprises of  The Swan With Two Necks, The Wayfarer, The Orange Tree, Blockhouse at The Sheet Anchor, The Boars Head and The Seven Stars.

To find out more or book a table at the Red House visit: https://theredhouselilleshall.co.uk/

 
 

PAROGON GROUP PLEDGES TO RAISE £10K FOR DOUGIE MAC #bringapound INITIATIVE

The Parogon Group has kicked off September with an excellent start to its new fundraising initiative.

The group, which comprises of The Swan With Two Necks, The Wayfarer, The Orange Tree, Blockhouse at The Sheet Anchor, The Boars Head, The Seven Stars and coming soon, The Red House, is aiming to raise £10,000 this month towards Dougie Mac’s Bring A Pound initiative.

In order to achieve this generous target, all six current sites will be adding a voluntary £1 to customers’ bills. The Red House will also be asking guests who come to the friends and family launch to donate £5 towards the charity.

The six sites are in competition to see which has the highest percentage of customers who donate with the winning restaurant getting the opportunity to present the cheque to the hospice in October.

Dougie Mac is an independent hospice that provides specialist palliative care and support to members of the local community at a time when they need it most. This year, with the help of the local community, they’re hoping to raise £100,000 for their Bring A Pound campaign.

The Parogon Group is eager to help the charity achieve this and is aiming to help donate a large proportion.

Director Richard Colclough said: “Dougie Mac has helped many members of our staff and the directors. It has a special place in our hearts and so we wanted to find a way to make sure we could make a good contribution to their cause.

“Within the first day £568 was raised across the six gastro pubs with The Wayfarer collecting the most.”

Donna Adams, Head of Fundraising and Lottery said “We’d like to thank Parogon Pub Group for supporting Bring A Pound so generously during September.

“To some, a pound on its own may not seem much; in fact, when a pound from many is added together, it really does make a huge difference to the hospice.

“The extra pound kindly given by Parogon customers as they enjoy a meal out will help Dougie Mac to continue to provide priceless care, free of charge for over 3,500 patients and their families each year.”

Find out how to take part in the initiative or to donate here.

 
Some of the Parogon team with Dougie Mac
 

PAROGON UNVEILS MODERN NEW REBRAND

The Parogon Pub Group has undergone an extensive rebrand and name change to bring the brand in line with its growth and offering.

Now known as the Parogon Group which comprises of seven venues,  The Swan With Two Necks, The Wayfarer, The Orange Tree, Blockhouse at The Sheet Anchor, The Boars Head, The Seven Stars and The Red House, the company needed to realign its positioning in the hospitality industry.

Matt Cheadle, Brand Development Manager at the group, said: “As a business we’re constantly growing, evolving and expanding. Parogon Pubs as an umbrella company didn’t fit with us anymore as we felt it pigeon holed us and didn’t represent the variety of offers and styles we have.

“We have a variety of different styles, for example the Blockhouse is a smoke house and the Orange Tree is a bar and grill where the others are country style gastro pubs.”

The new branding is modern, minimal, and stylish and has dropped its purple colouring to bring it to a place where it feels more mature and in line with the hospitality sector, rather than just a pub group.

Matt added: “We are continually looking at expanding our portfolio and recently we’ve launched the tipi at the Boars Head and Corporate Function rooms at the Wayfarer. Next year we’ll be opening the private events space for weddings and other parties at the Seven Stars.

“The rebrand has been very well received by staff. It has shown them that there are more opportunities to move forward and try new things. They’re excited that we’re not just looking at restaurant after restaurant.”

The group has launched many new initiatives which help to attract and retain quality staff such as Parogon Life. Matt added: “We wanted to make sure we give back to staff and the community.”

Within Parogon Life is three sub brands:

  • Parogon Perks – which is a catalogue of perks which are available to staff
  • Parogon Wellbeing – this includes monitoring and being conscious of the hours worked by staff
  • Parogon Social –  which gives staff a platform to be involved in the group and to interact across the seven venues.

Matt added: “Parogon Life helps staff to see we’re not just about serving food and making money, but want to give back to them and the community.”

 
Paragon rebrand - logo
 

MEET THE TEAM – MATT CHEADLE

After a  short break from the Parogon Group, Matt Cheadle returned when the perfect role became available in a company he loved working for.

Name / title / how long have you worked for Parogon?

Matt Cheadle, Brand Development Manager. I’ve been with Parogon since December 2011.

What was your first position at The Parogon Group?

I started as a bar manager at the Swan with two Necks knowing that the Wayfarer would soon be opening which was perfect for me as I live in  Stone.  I moved over to the Wayfarer as part of the opening team as the bar manager and worked my way up to becoming deputy manager.

I left the group for a short period because I had worked in the hospitality industry for a long time and I wanted my weekends back. I worked with a company that sold tills to restaurants, it was my job to train people on how to use them. 

How has your career developed at Parogon?

I was only gone 5 months when I was asked to come back because a Monday to Friday role became available. I loved Parogon as a company and enjoyed working for the group so I was happy to come back, it was a great role and a great opportunity.

I moved into head office as the training and development manager in 2014, at that point we had three restaurants and I knew we were going to expand as a business. I was tasked with putting a programme together to make sure we had structure to our training. We have always focused on training but we hadn’t put anything in place to monitor and assess how people were doing. 

Is the career progression what you expected with Parogon Group?

When I joined I never thought I’d end up in head office and being involved in all the sites let alone just one, so the progression has been good for me. I’ve been lucky to be in a role which has evolved quite a lot.

My job now is a new role created this year to look at the business and how we develop and how we’re viewed by customers.

A lot of it is based on visually how we look, reputation management, ensuring the website is quality and up to date as well as how we communicate to the staff, to make sure it’s engaging and well thought-out.

What are the main benefits of working for Parogon Group?

The main benefit for me personally is the flexibility in what I do. I’m not closely managed, I’m trusted to get on with my job and to do what I think needs doing. I can go to the directors with ideas and tell them “I think we should be doing this” and they listen. They trust that I’m making the right decisions. I’m encouraged to be proactive and look at new things. I love working like that.

What do you most enjoy about working at Parogon Group?

It’s good to see that I’m part of a growing company and knowing that I’m having an influence in it is so rewarding. Being able to see a difference even from two years ago to now and knowing I’ve been a part of that is great. Like giving the staff a £50 birthday voucher, being able to give perks like that is great. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In 5 years I’d like to think I’ll still be with Parogon as I enjoy working with the company. The growth is great and I want to continue being a part of that. I want to continue developing the brand as that is an area I’m very interested in and passionate about.

What are the main values of the Parogon Group in your opinion?

The values I think differ depending on where you sit in the company but teamwork is massively important and that’s something we all work towards. Integrity I think is also key especially with how we’re growing. It’s not just about what we give our customers but how we behave as a business. We’re more than what we put on a plate, we are also looking at ethical issues like plastic reduction, treating suppliers with respect and looking after our staff.

What did you do before you joined Parogon Group?

I’ve always worked in hospitality, mostly in management jobs but I’ve also done some cheffing. I’ve worked at an array of places and then I joined Parogon and found a good fit. It was somewhere I felt comfortable and it just seemed to fit with me when I joined.

 
 

RESULT! – We’re winners

Last night we were surrounded by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s business elite at the Sentinel Business Awards.

We were up for the Training Excellence Award and were against some strong competition so when we won, it was incredible!

As an ecstatic team of 10, we all proudly approached the stage to take home our award.

Training is a huge part of our company values and we put a lot of time and effort into upskilling our staff so that they have the tools to progress.

On the job training is clearly a huge part of driving success at some levels of employment and our shadowing scheme for new members of staff works really well in settling them in after induction, but we have many avenues of training to employ.

Some of the training tactics we use:

  • Training trackers issued to all new staff to guide them through their initial months
  • Each venue has a dedicated in house trainer
  • We have two new area trainers that target areas of development specifically
  • Our managers have access to an online platform of training modules
  • We clearly outline what is expected in every job description and provide managers of every level with a training record which shows them the skills they need to progress
  • We run annual leadership management workshops
  • We also offer a work experience programme with Stoke-on-Trent college
  • We organise educational trips to suppliers for members of the team

By offering such a clear and well-managed training programme, our staff know what’s expected of them so they don’t feel overwhelmed, they are fully supported by our trainers and management team, and they are able to have aspirations to progress.

We have excellent staff retention figures and a happy workforce, so we know that our training programme is working.

We were thrilled to have been recognised for all of this thought and effort and we look forward to training and working with a further 140 of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s finest when we recruit again later this year.

If you want to join the Parogon Group visit: parogonpubs.co.uk/jobs/

Photo by The Sentinel