Born and bred in Salford, Lucy Ramsbottom is Operations Director with Elle R Leisure whose portfolio consists of Dukes 92 and three Albert’s restaurants in Castlefield, Didsbury and Worsley. The original Albert’s Shed in Castlefield was named after her great uncle Albert who once had a shed there.
The business was set up by her dad over 25 years ago who was passionate about Manchester and its rich industrial history. He saw an area of the city that was derelict and wanted to do something with it. He decided to take a chance and Dukes 92 in Castlefield was born.
It’s a real family affair. Lucy helps run the business with her brother James who is managing director, sister Beth who is financial director, and sister Kate who is office manager.
By the way, Great Uncle Albert, with whom she shares a birthday, is still going strong.
What got you started in your field of work?
My family. I had no choice really. I got involved from about the age of 14, when they needed another set of hands at Dukes over the summer. I had to wash a lot of pots. It was all baked potatoes back then, before we started with the cheese and pate.
Who have been the biggest influences on your work?
You can probably guess the answer to this one. My dad definitely. But also similar companies to ours, like Living Ventures. I’ve always admired them, the training they give and the structure of their business.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
When James and I first started Albert’s Shed in Castlefield, we didn’t really know what we were doing. By the time we’d opened Didsbury we felt we’d learnt a lot and then more recently with Worsley, we’re proud to have a decent group of restaurants.
What does your typical day involve?
Tasting a lot of food. And a lot of meetings. I go round all the venues every day and keep an eye on what’s going on and standards of service. Pretty much 7 days a week.
And how do you relax on your days off?
I live in Didsbury with my partner and two little girls so I tend to do what they want most of the time. I like horse riding and try and get out every couple of weeks.
What is the best advice you have been given or can give?
My dad always used to say whenever we had really busy days at work: ‘Don’t think of it as our money, it belongs to the business. Successful days are there to plough back into the company and make it grow.’ That’s always stood me well.
If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?
At school and uni I did English Literature. Maybe an English teacher, but not for kids that are too young as they can be a bit of a handful!
Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear.
I’ve been to Ibiza every year for the past twenty years. And I’m getting married there next year.
Red or Blue?
Definitely Red. All the family are season ticket holders.
Name your three favourite places in Manchester.
Having lived in Lockkeeper’s Cottage for nine years, and having worked here for most of my adult life, I have to say Castlefield. It’s so close to the city centre, but walking down the canal it’s a million miles away. Old Trafford where it’s always a special moment when you walk in. And Selfridges. Who doesn’t love shopping?
If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?
Not just restricted to Manchester, but I absolutely hate anyone that litters. I always have to get involved whenever I see it, although maybe sometimes I shouldn’t.
And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?
I really love it when the sun shines here and the fact that everyones up for it and gets dressed up like they’re in Marbella.