People make all the difference in our pubs and we work hard to make our team feel just as much at home as our guests. So much so, many have been with us for over 10 years – the Peach lifers! We caught up with some of them recently to share their highlights.
Felicity Newsome joined us at the young age of 16, working at The Rose & Crown in Warwick. 11 years later she’s a key member of the marketing team. We asked what her fondest memory was, “There’s too many to count, but a highlight is probably the ten year weekend at The Rose. There was an ice cream van outside all weekend and the party was great, with people dancing on tables in true Peach style!”
There’s many reasons, the lifers have stayed. Flic cites feeling part of the Peach family as her number one reason. Favourite Peachfest? “They’re mostly a blur, however I would say this year was up there as I won the opportunity to go to Summerhouse in Barcelona! But that’s a memory for another day!”
Peach Partner, and Poddy, Frazer Sutherland is also at the 10 year mark (or 11 – he can’t quite remember!) and a Peaches 22 meeting on Monkey Island in Bray was up there for him. “I remember playing guitar hero with Barbara Laing at 3:30am, slightly intoxicated and someone should ask Jo Eames about the carrot. We were also asked to review Jo’s book Faithless Housewife. The boys knew there was only one scene to read and that was on page 57”.
The ability to be entrepenueial and just get on it what’s kept Fraze at Peach, and what makes it different. “After six months, the penny drops and people just get it. They just need to keep up after that!”
Favourite Peachfest, pub and dish? “The most recent one was great – I think it was my best outift.” Without hesitation he told us “The Thatch. It’s my baby and where it all started.” And dish? “The braised lamb sharer for two. We sent it out with charred rosemary – the smell was great!”
Evelin Rae, Ultimate GM and Peach Partner is mostly be found running The Thatch, in Thame. When asked about her memories, this is what she told us, “The time at The Rose when we put a Wimbledon t-shirt on Randolph Turpin in front of the pub, (which we did get into a little bit of trouble for!), but also the amazing parties and buzz of Friday night parties when the guests would take over the street and the square in front of the pub.”
And why is Peach any different to another company, what’s made you stay? “The people. It’s also the only place where we have the freedom to run a pub in your way, with the Peach support of course. They are all individual and different, with just our smarties giving us away”.
Ev’s been with us over 12 years – so we wanted to know what Peachfest tops her chart? “It’s hard to say, but I think two stick out for different reasons. The first one in 2006 near Milton Keynes, we were still small then and it had a family picnic feel with hay bales and pretty bad singing. Another was in Warwickshire where we were absolutely soaked due to the skies opening up halfway through. But the party just kept going even after we lost all power and music! And you must have a favourite dish? “Nope not a chance. So many amazing dishes over the years, and the best ones are the ones that take you by surprise.”
Trevor Blake, Chef Operations in the Midlands, joined in the early days, over 13 years ago in fact! “From Lee car surfing in Spain to dancing like no one’s watching at PeachFest and Summer House to getting mischievous with Frazer. There’s too many memories I can’t tell.” He says that Peach has always been a people business with many colleagues ending up becoming friends. As Head Chef for two years, his favourite pub is The Black Horse, and when asked what his advice to any new starter would be, “If you are not sure just ask as there is lots of information and people always on hand to teach and help you. Or just ask Janet.”
Suzie Ayling, joined Peach back in 2010, becoming partner in crime and life to Trevor in 2011. After several years running our pubs she now heads up sales and marketing. Any favourite memories? “Summer house in Granada – it’s where I met Trev. I also remember my New Year’s Eve parties at The Fleece and Rose, like they were yesterday. Kenya was also life changing and a holiday I will never forget. There was also The Rose parties, all a bit nuts looking back and I’m not sure how I got away with them!”
What’s made you stay? “When I was a GM, I had the guidance to run it like it was my own. It’s rare, I was never told no and I had so much fun, whilst learning loads too. My pubs were a real part of the town/community and now Peach has helped us grow as a family, supported us and mentored us. Peach is a business but still looks after you as if you were family.”
And why Peach is different? “It doesn’t shout from the top. Decisions are made with your input, and teams are rewarded.”
Your best Peachfest? “My first! We won the pink limo and arrived in style! (I was also very thin and looked awesome in my fancy dress outfit, I’m not so slim now!)”
Some of the team – the real lifers – have been with us since day one. I caught up with Louise Greenwood to see what she had to say about her favourite memories. “Lee Cash coming to a business meeting in shorts and being told by Hamish that he would need to dress more sensibly now he had his own business.” Well. And on why she’s stayed? “The passion and vision of the founders, knowing how much everyone really cares about each other, feeling trusted to do my job and most importantly loving what I do.” The Rose & Crown, takes her number one spot and Nigel Brown’s cream cheese and smoked salmon risotto as favourite dish!
Peach was founded 16 years ago by Hamish, Jo and Lee. Nat Cash, sister of Lee, has moved from role to role over the years, from KP to Chef to General Manager and Trainer, to the Recruitment Manager she is today. She shares some of her memories.
“I loved running The Fleece; the pub, the team and the guests. I know there was some stressful times, but I honestly can’t remember any of them. I loved it being so busy, and everyone drinking Galoupet on the Green on sunny days. Then doing it all again at The Fishes, fun times.”
We were keen to understand why she thought Peach is different? “I think it’s because we never stop trying to be better in everything we do. Is the coffee good enough, is the burger we serve the best burger possible and is it the best plate we can serve it on? How do we train our team, and can we improve? I love the fact we’re encouraged to think differently, be creative and implement positive change.”
You must remember at least one Peachfest, which has been your favourite? “Although Peachfest is awesome now, mine have to be in the early days. There was a pretty groovy hippy party one year – the sun was out, and we all sat around on haybales. There was enough of us for it to really feel like a mini festival, but small enough that we all knew each other.”
And any advice do you have to any new team joining? “Join us with energy, positivity and ambition. If you naturally live our values, you’ll have a very promising career ahead of you, and you can work your way to the top”. And finally, tell us your favourite pub and why?” That’s a hard one! Probably The Rose, The Fishes and The Fleece. And The High Field. Oh, and The Embankment. I quite like The Duke too. I have a lot of favourites if I’m honest, how can you pick!”
Nicolette too has also been with us quite a number of years now, and as our Peachiest of Peaches, Talent Manager and Trainer, we had to ask to hear her memories from the years.
“Well, where do I start? Frazer’s sparkly Christmas balls. Going to Barcelona and having an early night with Sarah. “She’s a bit prawny” also Sarah! After hours High Field opening party and taking cheese to a cocktail bar and ‘Meestar Cumbewedge’ the morning after haha. Post training day Jäger-trains. Sunny GM Peach Leadership Days at Long Crendon Manor. And every inspiration day, even the the Birmingham one!” Woah, breathe.
So, what’s made you stay?
“Opportunity. I wasn’t in the best place when I started at Peach, a bit lost really and lacked confidence in my abilities. I came in to look after Hamish and push projects, not a job for the faint hearted, but it was good fun and a massive learning curve. Hamish knew where I wanted to get to and made a promise that if I helped him achieve the Peach goals already set for the next 2 years he would help me achieve mine too. I needed that time to build up my confidence and begin to trust an employer again. As Peach grew, there was more need for a dedicated training arm and I was ready to take on the challenge. Our first version of Peach Teach was ground breaking for its time, but it’s crazy how quickly things move on and our recent investment to create the new and improved Peach Teach really does make it the bees knees!
Heart. As eccentric as Hamish is, he has a massive heart and wants to do well by people. He’s given me the space to grow, coached when it was needed, personally helped me get out of debt and onto a better route than I could ever imagine. On the frustrating days I have to remind myself of that, other companies don’t personally invest in the way Peach do.
Genuine concern. It’s been a funny couple of years for me and Peach have supported me through appointments, operations and the rest without question. I’ve always felt supported, been able to talk through issues and impacts on workload yet never felt like a burden, even when this year I’ve had to postpone my qualification. I’m really thankful for that.”
Peach is pretty different. Why?
“We’re not perfect but we do really care for each other. There’s a genuine passion to make a great experience for the team and guest, it’s the only place I’ve worked that lives and breathes the values of the company. We really do hire and fire by them. Everyone has a voice, ideas are considered and everyone contributes – it gets pretty passionate sometimes but we all walk away friends. We also listen and make changes to try and stay ahead of the game and best employer too.”
Your favourite Peach Pub?
“Are we allowed to have favourites? I have actual anxiety answering this question. With work head Embankment, family head The Fishes. But, of course I love them all equally!”
And any advice to new team joining?
“Come with an open mind and an open heart – you never know what might happen! You could become a partner.”