Operational Review

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Whether you are an owner, a lender or a buyer, a solid understanding of how your target business is performing, especially in relation to the wider market, is imperative.  Our Operational Reviews are essentially a health check for your business, combining our industry experience and up to the minute industry trends and information, to give a clear and honest view of how your hospitality business is performing.



From financial analysis of your latest figures, to advice on your digital marketing, our Operational Review product has been a staple tool for banks, accountants and business owners for over 10 years.  Not only will we work with you to analyse your current performance in your own market and against your own competitors, but we will also offer suggestions for growth and development, based on the latest industry information and strategies outside of your own local market. 

Our Operational Reviews are relied on by numerous lenders, including high street banks and more niche funding options, as a realistic indicator of the current robustness, and often more importantly, the potential strength of hospitality businesses across the spectrum of the industry.  Our experienced and diverse team can bring this institutional understanding of the industry to bear on any of our core market operations of hotels, pubs, bars, restaurants, inns and golf courses.

Health Checks

We can help you understand the various elements of your business and what may need to be looked at in more detail, with a high level Health Check of your operation.

Industry Trends

Our team will leverage their up to date industry knowledge to ensure that not only is your business trading to the maximum in the current business climate, but that you are set for what may be just around the corner.


By reviewing current performance and tying together other elements of an holistic approach, you will be able to examine your business performance both against previous results and wider industry expectations.

Meet The Team

Paul Whitford


Prior to establishing Licensed Solutions some 20 years ago, Paul followed a formal hotel and restaurant training in major hotels such as the Park Lane Hotel, London and large groups including THF, Grand Met and Thistle Hotels with an emphasis on F/B and personnel development. He then acquired his own pub and restaurant group, which he built up prior to selling, moving subsequently into consultancy assignments. More recently, he developed and sold a fine dining restaurant which was awarded a Michelin star in just 18 months after opening its doors.
Paul is a skilled negotiator with a wide area experience in all areas of licensed and leisure trade operations and is responsible for Licensed Solutions client relationships with banks, insolvency practitioners, private shareholders and managed/Private Equity funds.
These relationships have seen him secure a wide range of businesses for the company across the sector, from five-star hotels to bar and restaurant chains, nightclubs, leasehold pub estates and leisure facilities.
Paul is Licensed Solutions communication point with all its clients, ensuring that projects remain on strategy and that objectives are met.

Tony Tilden


Tony graduated from Battersea Polytechnic Hotel School and Cornell University (USA) and followed a varied background in the Industry. He spent ten years working in East Africa as Operations Director for Uganda Hotels and in Kenya for His Highness the Aga Khan, developing Serena Lodges and Hotels, and also as a marketing consultant in East Africa and the Middle East. Prior to establishing Licensed Solutions, he operated his own successful hotel in the UK followed by consultancy work, specialising in smaller hotels, public houses, leisure and catering operations.

His very extensive experience of every aspect of the licensed trade, from pubs to nightclubs, from family restaurants to five-star hotels and from snooker halls to caravan sites, is a key part of Licensed Solutions’ ability to undertake such a wide range of projects for its clients. He was instrumental in the highly successful completion of projects for Sports Café plc in Administration, Orchid Pub Co Ltd in Administration, Cains Pub Co Ltd in Administration and Bar Room Bar Ltd in Administration.

Tony is responsible for putting together and managing case teams with the appropriate skill sets to help control and drive forward client businesses. To do this, he draws upon a pool of highly experienced executives with specific sector knowledge. He also specialises in handling communications with solicitors, local authorities and the police as regards the transfer of premises licenses which Licensed Solutions hold on behalf of its clients.

Steve Thick

Head of Leisure Venues

Steve has worked for over 25 years in the licensed trade, managing bars, restaurants and clubs for both independents and multiples.  A graduate in law and computing and a management trainee in the restaurant sector with Whitbread, he went on to build a chain of 12 nightclubs which was absorbed by Po Na Na in the 1990s for which he used his commercial skills to integrate the supply chain for the group.  As part of the management buy-out, Steve then took on the key operational role for the 28 entertainment led bars clubs and restaurants. 

After two years of successfully steering the group to its operational and financial targets for its investors, he joined Licensed Solutions and has since led high profile projects for the company, including Cains Beer Co plc, Chili’s Restaurants, Eastenders Ltd, Hoffman Inns, Ever So Sensible Bars and Fat Cat Bars

Ben Elder

Head of Leisure

Ben heads up our Leisure division and as such, oversees all of our hotel, pub, YPV, restaurant and leisure operations.  With over 20 years of high level industry experience, Ben is well known and well respected in the UK hospitality world.  Having gained valuable experience in senior General Management and Regional Management roles with a variety of operators, Ben’s core experience is as a hotel and leisure turnaround specialist.  

Since joining Licensed Solutions, Ben has developed a stellar core team who bring experience across the spectrum of hospitality operations, and he oversees each of our management projects personally, whilst continuing to support the companies strategic growth and development.

Ray Penney

Head of Operations

Ray has been involved in the hotel industry for almost 30 years, working in both privately owned independent units and also chains such as Swallow Hotels, Choice Hotels Europe and Real Hotel Company. He has experience in all areas of hotel management (3 star, 4 star and budget properties and in Food & Beverage, Rooms and HR) and has been involved in numerous set up and opening projects, most recently with Purple Hotels.

Prior to joining Licensed Solutions, he was Director of Operations for the Real Hotel Group with responsibility for over 20 hotels and, since joining us, has provided key input to projects that include Premium Bars & Restaurants, Elizabeth Hotels, Torbay Hotels and Reef Surf Hotels.

Mark Wood


Mark is a graduate of Telford College, Edinburgh in Food Technology and Hospitality Management and, this year celebrates twenty-five years in the licensed trade. Having held his first head chef position at the age of twenty, he progressed to General Manager and Area management roles with multiple hotel chains and bar and restaurant companies.

Mark heads up the Licensed Solutions’ Scotland office, running stand-alone projects for the Company north of the border and providing management support in situations where national chains (such as Real Hotels Ltd and Bar Room Bar Ltd in Administration) have venues in his geographic area.

Tom Snell

Head of F&B Development

Tom brings almost twenty years of experience within food led hospitality sectors to Licensed Solutions. With vast global experience, Tom has a wealth of knowledge operating at various levels of standard. He has been heavily involved with restaurant launches, with one establishment notably achieving one Michelin star within 20 months of opening. His career to date has also seen him operate the in-flight catering function for an array of VVIP private aircraft owned by leading members of a middle eastern Royal family which included managing a multi-national purchasing system. More recently, Tom has acted as food consultant to private equity firms, assisting with pre-purchase support and planning as well as overhauling the entire food package for a chain of sports bars which has resulted in impressive growth and customer feedback across the estate. 

Tom enthusiastically supports Licensed Solutions directors and senior case managers in all aspects of food operations within new and ongoing projects.

Penny Evans


Our finance function is headed up by Penny who is FCCA qualified. She is also a member of HOSPA and has worked in accounts in the hospitality industry for over 20 years.

Penny provides Licensed Solutions with an accounts package which includes quality reporting and management information, cashflow forecasts, HMRC submissions, payroll and many ad hoc reports required by each client.

Penny’s experience includes working as an FC in several 3 and 4* hotels, including brands such as Holiday Inn and Hilton. She has also worked for many years as a Group Management Accountant in many head offices including Regal/Corus, Noble House, Golden Tulip, Cains and Premium Bars and Restaurants.

Since joining us nearly 10 years ago, Penny has worked on many projects including Elizabeth Hotels, West Register (RBS), Brook Hotels, HK Taverns plus small clients and various administration clients.

What We Do

Our products and services and been developed and refined over time to ensure that whatever the scope or complexity of your project, we are positioned to help.


End-to-End Solutions

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Restructuring Finance

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Property Valuations

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Sales & Marketing

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Operational Review

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Supply Chain Management

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Get in touch today to find out how our experienced, dedicated team can benefit your business