A hidden gem of the North East of England, luxury hotel Rockliffe Hall is achieving significant savings across a range of essential product areas, working with buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
Set in the village of Hurworth, on the edge of the County Durham and North Yorkshire border, Rockliffe’s location is perfect for visitors to Durham city, the dramatic the North East coastline and the rugged beauty of the North Yorkshire moors. Equally, its five star facilities make the hotel an ideal retreat, whether for leisure or business.
Part of the exclusive Pride of Britain hotel consortium, Rockliffe Hall offers an award-winning spa, an 18-hole championship golf course, meeting and conference facilities and a range of dining options across three very distinct restaurants, as well as premium banqueting.
The hotel has a four rosette restaurant, a brasserie, and a golf club. For Rockliffe Hall general manager Simon Roberts, it’s this very diversity that throws down the gauntlet to purchasing groups.
“Our biggest challenge in purchasing terms is that we have three different restaurants on site, plus banqueting, so it’s almost like working with a small group of standalone hotels. There are four kitchens, four restaurants, four different concepts and four sets of suppliers that our chefs like to work with.”
The hotel had worked with a number of purchasing groups before Simon met representatives of Lynx Purchasing at the Pride of Britain conference. Lynx is preferred purchasing supplier to Pride of Britain Consortium, and already works with a number of hotels in the consortium. However, with each hotel valuing its independence, Lynx has to prove its worth to each hotel it works with, and Rockliffe Hall has been no exception.
“Part of the appeal was that Lynx works with one key supplier in each sector of the hotel business, so we started to put that in place. My chief executive had worked with Lynx previously, and suggested I talk to them.“
With the hotel previously tied into a purchasing agreement for some products, “with Lynx it was very much as case of giving it a go,” said Simon. “We started with bedroom amenities – shampoos and soaps – which was a testbed to see how it went.”
Over a period of two years, the product range bought by Rockliffe Hall at prices negotiated by Lynx Purchasing has expanded, and now includes stock-cupboard foodservice lines; catering equipment, crockery, cutlery and glassware; wines, spirits and beers; and fruit and veg. Recent additions include fresh fish; and cheese, chocolate and charcuterie.
“From our perspective it’s useful that we’re not contracted in any way, where we were previously, and that’s how a lot of other purchasing groups operate,” said Simon. “There are no fees for us, that’s arranged between Lynx and the suppliers before it gets to us. Lynx has to deliver, and they have to work hard, otherwise we can just walk away any time. That’s a nice option for a business to have – not that we’re planning on doing so.”
Lynx Purchasing also adds value for Rockliffe Hall with insight into the market. “For example, at the start of 2017, butter and cream prices were going through the roof. What I wanted to know, without having to research it myself, was where was the cheapest place to buy? We weren’t getting that information from the purchasing group we were working with for those products, but we were getting it from Lynx.”