HullBID and Hull College announce double boost for hospitality sector

HullBID has launched a new venture aimed at giving the city centre’s hospitality businesses a helping hand and bringing together the wider membership for a new networking opportunity.

Debra Gray (left), Principal and Chief Executive at Hull College, and Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, at the preview event in the Bilocca restaurant.

The HullBID Supper Club was unveiled with a launch at Bilocca – the new training restaurant at Hull College – and will be rolled out from next week with a first season of six dates at destinations including local independents and big brands.

The initiative was inspired by the organisers of the Monday Night Supper Club which is now in its 10th year and which is liaising with HullBID to reach even more businesses in the sector.

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “Our new Supper Club is a great opportunity for our members to network in a relaxed and informal setting and at the same time to support some fabulous city centre eateries.

“We will be covering a variety of dining styles and cuisines and each venue has agreed to put together a bespoke, discounted menu for us, with HullBID providing a complimentary welcome drink at each event. The response from restaurants and guests has been really enthusiastic and we’re expecting demand to increase as the Supper Club becomes established.”

The first HullBID Supper Club will takes place on Wednesday June 26 at Bert’s Pasta Bar in Humber Street.  Further events will take place every month through to November.

BID members were given a taste of what to expect with an exclusive lunch at Bilocca, named in honour of Lilian Bilocca and her fellow Headscarf Revolutionaries, who campaigned to improve safety for working at sea.

Kathryn said: “The preview event at Bilocca was the perfect place to launch Supper Club because it demonstrated Hull College’s efforts to address the issues in the hospitality sector.

“Young people and adults can learn all aspects of hospitality and put them into practice in a real restaurant setting. Everything we have seen suggests the students will all be an asset to any hospitality business as they embark on their careers. All the feedback from our guests indicates they will be coming back to Bilocca for a second helping!”

Debra Gray, Principal and Chief Executive at Hull College, told the audience at Bilocca: “In relaunching the restaurant we thought about our city and our roots and about the work of Lil Bilocca and her fellow Headscarf Revolutionaries who fought for their men and the fishing industry in which they worked.

“Our brand is based around their headscarf knot and features in our marketing, menus and as etchings on the windows. The famous Headscarf Revolutionaries mural takes pride of place on our wall.

“How lovely it is to see the restaurant finally open for business and to see it full, and to see the students doing the wonderful job that I always knew they would. We want to make sure everybody who leaves our hands can go straight to your hands. I don’t want these guys leaving Hull and East Yorkshire. I want them to be working and living here, and you are our pipeline for that.”

Samantha Dunion, General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Hull, said: “The HullBID Supper Club is a great idea. It’s an opportunity to network in a different environment and to welcome so many businesses into our world.

“We work with Hull College a lot and Bilocca is the pinnacle of what we are all trying to achieve. It’s enabling young people to showcase what they can do and develop their talents ready for coming into my industry.”

Kevin Andrews, Store Manager at Primark in Hull, said: “We need people to work for us, and that includes students during weekends and holidays so coming to Hull College has given us a great opportunity to make  some key contacts. The restaurant is excellent and we’re also looking at the other skills which people here can bring to businesses.”

Phil Ascough, who co-founded the Monday Night Supper Club in 2014, said: “From day one we were all about bringing businesses together to support the hospitality sector and we were delighted when HullBID launched their own initiative.

“We estimate we’ve generated more than £150,000 plus repeat business for restaurants and café bars over the last 10 years but it’s not enough, we’ve lost some fantastic venues and we welcome anything that helps to keep the sector afloat.

“We extend across a wider area but we’ll still be visiting city centre venues and we’ll definitely be booking in at Bilocca and supporting Hull College in training the hospitality professionals of the future.”

The HullBID Supper Club will take place at Bert’s Pasta Bar on Wednesday 26 June, Marco Pierre White Restaurant at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Wednesday 24 July, The Brazilian Churrascaria & Bar on Wednesday 21 August, Pizza Express in Princes Quay on Wednesday 25 September, The Hispanist in Paragon Arcade on Wednesday 23 October, and Prezzo in St Stephen’s on Wednesday 13 November.

To find out more and to reserve a place email