Hospitality Leader Mike Tye Joins Bar Group Arc Inspirations as Chairman

Arc Inspirations, operator of bar brands Banyan, BOX and Manahatta, has appointed hospitality sector veteran and leader, Mike Tye, as Chairman. He will support the senior team led by CEO and co-founder Martin Wolstencroft in the on-going development of the business – amid a significant growth phase for the company that will see Arc launch five new sites in the next 12 months.

A former CEO of Spirit Group PLC, Tye is a seasoned builder of businesses with more than 30 years’ board and leadership experience in the UK hospitality sector.

Currently chair of the Big Table Group, he previously served as chairman of Haulfryn Group and Moto Hospitality Group. During the executive phase of his career, Tye led a number of prominent leisure businesses, including David Lloyd Leisure, Premier Inn and Costa Coffee.

Commenting on the appointment, Martin Wolstencroft, CEO, said:
“This is a cornerstone appointment for us following the successful conclusion of our recent investment process with BGF (Business Growth Fund), as we take our business into the next phase of its growth and development. Mike is one of the standout business leaders in our industry; his knowledge and expertise is absolutely second to none, and we are delighted to welcome someone of his calibre to Arc Inspirations. It is a real coup for us and speaks volumes for the strength of our business and the opportunities we have in front of us.”

The new chairman will work alongside the Arc Inspirations senior management team which, in addition to Wolstencroft comprises: Managing Director Anni Opong; Finance Director Tim Knockton; People and Culture Director Nazareen Johnson; Property Director Nik Lowery, and Head of Marketing Laura Lewis. Tye will take his place as a non-executive director on the board alongside Arc co-founder Chris Ure and the BGF’s Barry Jackson.

Commenting, Mike Tye, Chairman, said:
“I’ve followed Arc’s progress for a number of years and it’s clear that Martin and his team have built a high quality and brilliantly well-run operation, with great consumer propositions, and outstanding growth prospects. I’m delighted to join the board, and am looking forward to what promises to be an exciting time ahead, as we work together to bring even more success to the business.”

The appointment of Tye comes after non-executive director Steve Richards, who is also the current CEO of Parkdean Resorts and chair of UKHospitality, decided to step down after nearly five years in the role.

Of Richards’ contribution to Arc Inspirations, Wolstencroft said:
“We are extremely grateful to Steve for the invaluable guidance, support and wise counsel he has provided to the business and the management team over the past five years. In that time, we have significantly developed the strategic framework of the business and our brands – around our cluster model – and we have massively increased and upskilled the capability of the organisation.

“At the same time, we have worked through the challenges and stresses of the pandemic, refinanced the business with HSBC, brought in external investment with BGF and delivered a record financial performance in our most recent year. He has played a key role in helping us to deliver all of this and in shaping our business into the thriving operation it is today, and one that is ready to expand further and grow.”

The appointment of Tye comes as Arc embarks on a phase of significant growth, having recently posted record group sales and profits, and revealed plans to open five sites in key cities in the next 12 months. The new openings will see three new Manahatta cocktail bars open in Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, alongside two new BOX premium sports bars, in Nottingham and Birmingham, creating 500 new jobs in total.