Refinancing Allows Hotel and Bakery To Maintain Luxury Standards

Santander enabled the owners of a luxury hotel, restaurant, and wholesale artisan bakery to both expand and maintain their award-winning standards

In brief

  • Company turnover: £6.1 million
  • Sector: Food and drink; leisure
  • Rutland-based Hart Hambleton PLC planned to double the size of its successful artisan bakery and to maintain luxury standards at its award-winning hotel and restaurant.
  • However, the company’s previous bank was demanding excessive loan repayments, putting a strain on day-to-day business operations.
  • Santander took the time to understand the company’s need to maintain its standards and provided a loan and overdraft at a more affordable rate of repayment.
  • With the new finance in place, the company has generated six months’ reserve revenue, submitted planning applications for the bakery, and maintained luxury standards at its hotel and restaurant without worrying about monthly overheads.
Hart Hambleton PLC

Located in Rutland in the East Midlands, Hart Hambleton PLC boasts a prestigious record of profitability thanks to its award-winning family of outlets. These include Hambleton Hall, a country house hotel boasting a Michelin-star restaurant, and Hambleton Bakery, a wholesale artisan bakery with retail outlets in the nearby historic towns of Oakham, Oundle and Stamford, and the village of Exton. But despite Hart Hambleton’s success, the company were undergoing strained relations with their incumbent bank.

Hart Hambleton had taken out a loan to finance an expansion, but, by the summer of 2012, the bank had increased repayment levels to the point where they were soaking up any spare cash. The company’s plans to expand Hambleton Bakery looked even slimmer when the bank removed their overdraft facility, and required them to pay up to £60,000 in business consultancy fees. It was time to look for another bank.

A breath of fresh air

After a careful search, Hart Hambleton settled on Santander, whose approach to banking was “a breath of fresh air,” according to Finance Director Steven Edgson. Things started off well for Steven and Santander Relationship Director Stephen May, who visited the company in order to get a first-hand feel for the business. 
“Previously, no one took the time to understand the business or the premium market, and Stephen at Santander did,” says Steven. “I have the landline and mobile phone numbers for everyone at Santander, including Stephen's boss.”

After switching their loan to Santander in December 2012, Hart Hambleton are now paying back their loan in affordable instalments, which has allowed the company to generate six months of reserve payments to enable the bank to get on an even keel. Hart Hambleton has also left an impression on their new bank. “Since starting the relationship, Santander have brought clients to the restaurant and used the hotel for meetings,” says Steven.

Maintaining standards

Since re-banking with Santander, Hart Hambleton now have the necessary capital to upgrade facilities at the bakery, which has reached production capacity and needs extra floor space in order to install new equipment. The company could also invest more money in Hambleton Hall, upgrading facilities and generally maintaining its luxury standards. “We can now look to the future instead of just looking at the next 30 days,” says Steven. “We can now expand the bakery and work on the hotel instead of spending our time fighting the bank, and running the group on a shoestring budget.”

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