Chief executive Keith Knowles OBE, 59, has built this business from a single bar in Covent Garden after taking over from his father in 1982. The company now runs hostels, bars and pubs in 10 European cities, including Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam, offering 4,000 beds. It claims a 93% occupancy rate and has recently spent £6.5m refitting its London Bridge site, adding 200 beds. Its Footsteps and Rising Stars staff training programmes have helped it become a platinum level Investor in People – the only hospitality company in the UK to have reached this level. Its brands include the backpacker hostels St Christopher’s Inns and Flying Pig, and Belushi’s, a sports bar and restaurant. Profits rose to £2.8m in 2018.
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