Former chef and restaurateur buys Gloucestershire estate agency franchise

A former chef and restaurateur has acquired a Gloucestershire franchise of estate agency chain EweMove.

Jonathan Butler has three decades of experience within the hospitality sector, previously running the kitchens of South West venues such as at The Ilchester Arms Hotel in Yeovil, Somerset, and Fosters on the Docks brasserie in Gloucester.

More recently, Mr Butler has worked as a consultant within hospitality, advising businesses on brand management, marketing, design and customer experience. He also established an online grocery business called Tiamee that supplied restaurants with fresh produce.

Mr Butler drew on his experiences to write a book that offered advice to people looking to enter the trade, Business Recipes For Success: Four Steps To Building A Successful Restaurant And Hospitality Business.

The businessman has now made the move into property to undertake a “new challenge”, having become the director and franchisee owner of EweMove’s Gloucester East branch. The business will let and sell properties in areas including Churchdown, Brockworth and Upton St Leonards.

Currently operating from home, Mr Butler is aiming to replicate EweMove’s other franchises in the region, in Cheltenham and Cirencester, by expanding into an office and taking on staff within 12 months.

Mr Butler said he had never previously considered estate agency as a career, but he knew from his background in hospitality and customer services that he could “bring something to it.”

The entrepreneur and author added that joining a franchise, rather than starting his own agency from scratch, would allow him to start with “instant brand recognition.”

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Mr Butler said: “I’ve moved into a completely new sector so I wanted something in which I’d have some sort of support, a network I could tap into and get advice and help when I needed it.

“And it’s nice to be part of something a bit bigger. As the Gloucester East franchisee, I’m part of a national network and when I see what EweMove’s aiming to do and how it’s going to develop the business, it’s really exciting.

“The senior people at EweMove are very, very encouraging about growing your business. It’s not just a question of there’s your little patch, and that’s it. It’s make it bigger, build your business, bring people into it, grow the team, just like I did with my restaurants.”

Mr Butler said in 10 years’ time he would like to have a bigger property portfolio of his own alongside EweMove, which he hopes will become a “much bigger” franchise.

He said he had been contacted by other EweMove franchisee owners offering their support since starting his new business, which he has been busy promoting. According to Mr Butler, he has delivered more than 5,000 leaflets on the business in the last two weeks.

“Some people look out of the window and think ‘no, it’s raining’ but I’ve set myself a target of delivering 200 leaflets a day, minimum, come what may,” he added.

“That’s the difference between someone who’s going to be successful in business and someone who isn’t.”

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