New man for Angel

Rob Watson outside the New Angel pub which he will manage
Rob Watson outside the New Angel pub which he will manage

RECRUITMENT has begun for Whitby’s JD Wetherspoon pub, which is due to open next month.

The New Angel will employ around 75 staff, including manager Rob Watson, and the former pot washer says he is looking forward to the challenge of making the business a success.

Easter weekend will see the opening of the fully-refurbished pub and hotel, with Thursday 28 March scheduled as the first day of business.

Mr Watson said that with the hotel almost fully-booked that weekend, his staff have been thrown in at the deep end. “It’s going to be a testing time but it’s like learning to drive – you can only teach them so much before you let them loose,” he said.

Born in Middlesbrough, Mr Watson has been with the company for 12 years, working his way up from kitchen assistant to pub manager. His last posting was the Unicorn in Ripon, which he also opened two years ago.

“I do not like being bored,” he said. “I set Ripon up from opening and I have got to the point after two years that it is performing better than expected. I have done everything I could have done so I feel it is time to move on to a new challenge.”

There had been fears raised by residents that the availability of cheaper alcohol, which Wetherspoons is renowned for, could have a detrimental impact upon the town.

However, Mr Watson explains that over the past five years the company has shifted towards a more family-friendly environment, which discourages the drunk and disorderly.

With 50 per cent of customers now female and half of sales coming from food, he said: “We don’t allow that kind of behaviour. The customer base itself manages that. People who want to behave like that will be surrounded by families and diners, so there’s usually very little management of customers required.

“I am hoping for a nice environment for families and somewhere for locals and tourists to enjoy.”

Independent pubs may also struggle to compete against the nationwide chain’s cheap prices, but Mr Watson said: “Generally the ones that fail are the ones that can not deliver what the customer wants. It is not to do with price, it is to do with service.”