Apperley Bridge steakhouse owner swaps New York bank for village restaurant

My partner and I took over in August  and the rest is history.
My partner and I took over in August and the rest is history.
Promoted by Ernest Wilson

The busy corporate world of banking, with its multi-million deals and high pressure couldn’t be further removed from relaxed village calm of Apperley Bridge on the edge of Bradford.

But former Bank of New York financial services executive Paul Ambler says swapping the high-flying financial world for life behind the bar at one of the area’s most popular restaurants, is the best deal he’s made.

Paul took over the Moody Cow, on the outskirts of Apperley Bridge in West Yorkshire, in August after taking redundancy from his financial services role at the Bank of New York.

It was a complete career change. Apart from not having managed a bar in decades never mind run a thriving steakhouse and grill, he hadn’t even been to the Moody Cow when it caught his eye.

“I always liked the idea of having my own business,” he said. “So when redundancy came along after 22 years working in the corporate world of finance, I started to look at what was for sale.

“I stumbled across the Moody Cow. I came for a look around and decided to buy it.

“My partner and I took over in August – and the rest is history.”

The Moody Cow in Apperley Bridge, Bradford, was launched in 2013 and has since built up a strong reputation for the high quality of its food – the restaurant is known for its locally sourced produce, with its suppliers mostly coming from within a 10-mile radius of the village.

Now with Paul and partner Jonathan Osborn at the helm, the aim is to continue the theme and build up the Moody Cow’s clientele even further.

“The Moody Cow has a reputation for sustainability, using local produce and local suppliers. That’s something that’s really important to me and that’s not going to change,” added Paul.

“And there’s a great team of people here who know the business really well – the general manager, Jodie, has been here for five years – so I can rely on them.

“While it’s been a huge learning curve and the first few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride, I’ve loved every minute of it,” he added.

There are pressures of a different kind compared to the corporate world which he’s been used to.

“I admit it was a bit of a scary moment when I found out that we’re already fully booked for Christmas Day lunch,” he said. “And there’s an element of uncertainty – for example, in my second week we did 75 covers on the Tuesday evening, and the following there were around 15.

“So I’m discovering there are lots of things that can affect how many people come in and how to prepare for that.

“It is a different kind of stress than my previous career. And the best bit is that it doesn’t really feel like work, I’m having so much fun.”

In fact, seeing Paul enjoying running the Moody Cow so much has encouraged partner Jonathan to move on from his role as a senior civil servant to join him full-time in the business.

“Jonathan’s really good at the social media side of things, so he’ll be working hard to create a really strong buzz around the Moody Cow.

“We’re both convinced that this has been the best thing we could have done, and are really looking forward to taking the Moody Cow to the next level.”

Paul originally spotted the Moody Cow for sale on business specialist Ernest Wilson’s website. Based in Yorkshire, Ernest Wilson is the leading agent for businesses for sale across the UK, and currently has scores of attractive business opportunities available.

Established since 1956, it has handled thousands of business sales. To find out what is available now and to talk to an agent, call 0113 238 2900 or visit the website