The Grand

The Grand

The Grand

The Grand in Folkestone is a 4 Star, multi-award winning hospitality venue managed by Robert Richardson FIH.

The Grade 2 listed building in The Leas is the leading historical & cultural venue of choice for events in the area and market leader for weddings. Agatha Christie wrote sections of “Murder on the Orient Express” in the building and it is also the permanent home to the art exhibit “Earth Peace” by Yoko Ono.

We interviewed General Manager Robert Richardson FIH about how the business has blossomed.

Our business

The multi award-winning “The Grand” is one of the premier hospitality venues on the south coast, built in 1899.

We have two restaurants, two bars, a suite of beautiful bespoke functions rooms and several beautiful sea or garden facing suites.

Location – Folkestone

Although I’m a Canterbury resident, Folkestone and the surrounding area has so much potential, some realised and some developing, in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. I have found the local community to be generous in their support of what my team and I are trying to achieve which is the proverbial icing on the cake.

What changes have you recently made to your business?

Buoyed by our recent award win, we’ve recently completed a service overhaul in our main restaurant and put in a new, vintage-inspired, afternoon tea service which has proved immediately popular. I am currently revising my management structure in one key area of the business and we are currently budgeting for the next year. We are also doing some work with a local university which has the potential to bring people from other local towns to Folkestone, people whom might not otherwise have visited us.

What advantages does Folkestone offer your business?

The local authority has proven extremely supportive, versus other counties that I have worked in, and that is conducive/essential to business retention in the area. The fact that businesses are empowered to work as equals with the local authority toward making Folkestone the top destination to live, work or visit in the South East is wholly advantageous to business owners or operators.

Have you benefited from any support/networking groups in the area?

Very much so! Since coming to the area I have been elected as the Vice Chairman of our district’s “Town Centre Management” and also sit on a Police Business Crime Board for the county as a whole. I have also had the privilege of working with The Folkestone Academy as its “Enterprise Advisor”. These roles are beneficial to me in terms of career development and networking but are also beneficial to the area as, with the Police, for example, it has provided a local voice able to affect change where needed. With the Academy it’s an opportunity to support the careers development of Folkestone’s next generation.

What advice would you give a business looking to start-up in Folkestone or Hythe?

Engage with the residents, business operators, and local authority because these are the people that will help you make your business successful.