Helen Sprason, operations manager of The Trading House, talks how to have fun, work hard and attract customers:
Deep in the heart of London’s hard-working city district sits a grand and unassuming venue. If I wasn’t looking for the venue, I could have easily missed the listed building with wood-panelled doors that lead into The Trading House. With a harp back to the colonial adventurers of old, The Trading House combines elegance with history to create a welcoming and equally lively environment to behold.
With a high ceiling and central bar, each nook and cranny of this venue is filled with intimate and comfortable seating, which is either attractive to consumers who come for after-work drinks or to sample the menu.
“The Trading House is a truly special place,” says Helen Sprason, operations manager of the London venue. “We have an elegant building in the heart of Bank, where we invite guests to embark on a journey to the exotic. Our team here work on an ever-changing cocktail menu where you can trust them to give you a true experience. We are lucky to have a great team where they work tirelessly on delivering a truly fun atmosphere.”
The venue offers live music every night and DJs late on Thursday and Friday.
The Trading House offers a range of foods, centring its menu on grill, BBQ and deli-type foods. Some notable dishes on its menu include the flattened rump, marinated in chill and garlic, the prawn and chicken gumbo, and its infamous halloumi and falafel hanging kebab.
Sprason continues: “We work with provenance and fresh food. We are known for our hanging kebabs which are a real feature for us. We are changing our menu more frequently along with our monthly changing cocktail menu. Our chefs enjoy the creative aspect of the menu; we are always working on fresh and clean ideas.”
Similarly, The Trading House prides itself on a diverse drinks selection too. She says: “We search for the best products whether its our tank beer from Budvar or great gins from around the globe. We serve good food and honestly, we have a great time while here. It is a truly special place to visit and work in.”
One of us
With The Trading House operating under the New World Trading Company (NWTC), we talk to Sprason about how the venue fits in. “We [NWTC] have a few other venues, the Botanist being our largest brand within NWTC with 14 sites which scan the country from Newcastle to Farnham in Surrey,” she adds. “We have Smugglers Cove in Liverpool, which is a rum bar in Albert Dock, The Oast House in Manchester, The Club House and The Canal House and we are opening our new concept, The Florist in Bristol, in early 2018 – which is very exciting.
“We are different because of the innovation our teams drive and deliver daily. We don’t like barriers and so we listen to what our teams tell us. We want our people to have a wonderful time and we look at what is going on and look outside of the norm. We have a strong culture and ethos which forms the base of the business. From there we then develop our concepts as we grow, which is extremely exciting to be a part of and also visit as a guest.”
“The Trading House is a listed building, so it is unique,” comments Sprason. “The wood panelling in the interior has been here from the start. It is grand and elegant and is what makes the site so very special, you can’t help but stand with an open mouth and respect it for what it is.”
As with all hospitality managers, we encourage them to find and identify their niche offering – Sprason has found hers.
“We are keen explorers,” she explains. “We seek out people who want to deliver amazing experiences and we do that in the way we train our teams, develop our menus, create our cocktails and entertain our guests. We have a great beer line up with an Anthology of Ales, which invites you to try new tastes. We do the research, so you can enjoy a variety of drinks. We really care about teaching people and giving our guests and team an environment which they can trust in and try new things.”
The Trading House also works as a grand event space, as the team not only offer to the individual consumer, but businesses too.
Sprason continues: “Due to the opulent space and the area, we are lucky enough to be in, The Trading House is a great and entertaining space. We are closed at the weekends and so we hire the venue out for weddings and private parties. We have a lot of weddings on Saturdays and host some lovely big bashes! We are also a keen space for TV and film, we recently had Apple Tree Yard film and Warner Brothers are frequent visitors.
Sprason has a lot to be proud of; with a friendly and welcoming team, working hard to impress guests in a stunning setting, we ask her what advice she would give to new venue managers.
She concludes: “My advice would be to have fun! Believe in what you want and don’t stop until you get it. Ensure your teams are with you and don’t leave them behind. Be true to yourself and listen!”