Suffolk Entrepreneur, Ben Hutton, expands his Bury St Edmunds business with Wellington Pub Company.

It’s been four years since Ben Hutton left University with a degree in Zoology and immediately set up ‘Ben’s Restaurant’ in his hometown of Bury St Edmunds. What, on the face of it, seems to be an unusual series of events is anything but to Ben. “I’ve always worked in the catering trade,” said Ben “I started working in local pubs at the age of 14 and to be honest, I’ve always enjoyed it. “I had a very clear vision when I opened Ben’s Restaurant; it had to celebrate the best of Suffolk’s produce. We now even raise some of our own Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs and Jacob sheep.” This commitment to quality led to an array of award nominations culminating in winning the Suffolk Food and Drinks Award in the ‘Field to Fork’ category in 2016.` Soon after opening his first restaurant, Ben identified his next opportunity. “The Queen’s Head is just down the road from Ben’s. I always had it in the back of my mind and was able to recognise an opportunity when I saw it was ‘to let’. “I approached the agents and took a look around. It looked unloved but I knew I could do something with it. “I prepared a business plan for The Wellington Pub Company which included my investment proposal for refurbishing the venue. A rent-free period was negotiated in return for my investment and we signed the deal very soon after. “It took me and my family 6 weeks to complete the refurbishment and we opened ‘Queen’s Bar and Grill’ in mid August.” “Queens has a more relaxed offer as it’s more of a bar than a restaurant. It offers a wide range of local beers, which Wellington’s ‘free of tie’ lease agreement allows us to do, and a burgers, ribs and steak style menu. “The good news is that the new venue is trading better than expected. The locals are delighted that their pub is once again open for business. We have developed a loyal customer base and the future looks bright.” Although Ben isn’t looking immediately for new opportunities, the long-term goal is to open more restaurants in the area if the right opportunities arise. See