Series 4 - The Lenchford Inn, Worcestershire

Alex Polizzi in the grounds of the Lenchford Inn

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Alex heads to an attractive pub hotel on the banks of the River Severn in Worcestershire. The views may be picturesque but this establishment is far from tranquil.

The Lenchford Inn is managed by two couples on the brink of a breakdown. Dave and Marie, along with her brother Ian and his wife Wendy, bought the inn thinking it would be a ticket to early retirement. But the combination of four floods in two years and the owners’ inexperience has left their hopes in tatters. The nine bedrooms and 80-seat restaurant are as empty as their bank accounts and, with a ten-year age difference between the two couples, they cannot see eye-to-eye on anything.

On her initial inspection, Alex is reasonably impressed by the bedrooms, but finds the décor in the restaurant and function rooms depressing. The large restaurant is a potential money spinner for the hotel, yet a similar pub up the road is heaving while the Lenchford stands empty. Alex soon realises the menu is far too long and complicated and the chef is wasting food. Worse still, a sample tasting of the grub proves the quality is simply not up to scratch.

Alex’s plan for the hotel focuses on two areas – the restaurant and the management. Firstly, the owners need to change the menu and improve the food. Next, the bickering foursome need to redefine their roles and learn to manage their staff more effectively.

On Alex’s second visit, the employees are still unhappy with how they are handled and complain that the owners argue in front of guests. Alex could not agree more, so she sets Dave, Marie, Ian and Wendy a team-bonding task they have to build a children’s slide for the beer garden. It takes the quarrelsome foursome a while to get going, but Alex is pleased to see that, when pushed, they can work together. For their next mission, she sends them off to Worcester to drum up some publicity for the new, shorter menu she has devised. With a new focus on the restaurant, the Lenchford Four seem to have rediscovered their passion for the business.

Alex returns for her final visit and is delighted to find the staff much happier. However, the owners are now uncertain about the new design of the restaurant – leaving Alex exasperated. To attract local interest, she helps them arrange a St George’s Day half-price promotion aimed at flaunting the new menu. The lunctime launch starts well when nearly 50 people show up. However, things soon go wrong as customers are left waiting ages for their food, some of which is still frozen. Alex tells the owners they need to pull together more and focus on the job, but do the Lenchford Four have it in them to rescue their business before it is too late?


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