vision, expertise & dedication

VTC Central Leadership Team

Stephen Barker

Co-founder, Co-owner and Principal Director of Brand Architecture and Design Excellence.

Hospitality is a challenging industry where establishing aspirational venues and upholding brand integrity go hand-in-hand with offering top-notch products. Achieving this while attracting a high-end clientele and benefitting the local culture is a complex task. With his visionary approach, Stephen is the driving force behind the Vintage Tea & Coffee Co Collection, transforming each venue into an epitome of elegance and style designed for longevity and brand growth.
His insights sharpened over 30 years in the competitive realm of fashion retail, have granted him a deep appreciation of the balance between profitability and unforgettable customer experiences. Stephen's unmatched expertise finds its finest expression in the company's standout cocktail bars, cafés, and restaurants, each crafted to cater to a discerning audience with every new destination VTC opens.

Charlotte Barker

Co-founder, Co-owner, and Director of Strategic Operations Management.

Charlotte honed her skills at the cutting edge of fashion retail for over 20 years, excelling in service, client loyalty and operational excellence. In 2010, she and Stephen decided to leap from the rag trade, and they bravely transitioned to premium hospitality, launching Coffee Barker in Cardiff's Castle Arcade, a challenging location due to vacant shops and low foot traffic. Charlotte was the new business's speartip and driving force, utilising every skill. Despite the odds, her commitment to quality turned the 12-seater café into a chic, bustling hotspot accommodating over 200 guests today. Charlotte's emphasis on cultivating a nurturing environment for staff to blossom and grow while consistently delivering outstanding customer experiences is evident in every venue she oversees today. This commitment underlines the signature elegance of every Vintage Tea & Coffee Co establishment and will be a crucial element in the continued growth of the business.

Julian Dunkerton

Co-owner, Adviser, Investor and Brand Visionary.

Julian has a relentless drive and knows what working hard and building a business from scratch is like. Beginning with a humble market stall in the 1980s, he has never looked back, co-founding the iconic brand Superdry in 2003 and listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2010. Julian and Stephen have worked together in the fashion industry for over three decades, forging a powerful alliance built on trust, talent and mutual respect. Venturing into hospitality, Julian transformed Georgian offices in Cheltenham into the chic No 131, a chic boutique hotel that embodies style and luxury. Drawn to exceptional brands and design, he initially bought a 25% share in Vintage Tea & Coffee Co in 2017, later increasing it to 50%. More than a co-owner, Julian collaborates with Stephen and Charlotte, providing strategic advice to guide the company's growth, success and upward trajectory.

Kurtis Barker

Head of Brand Evolution, Culinary Innovation, Training Excellence, and Digital Engagement.

Kurtis stands at the helm of an expansive operation, guiding over 180 staff across 11 distinctive venues in five diverse towns and cities. From lavish breakfast spreads to nocturnal delights of steak frites, fine wine, and exceptional cocktails, the offerings demand leadership marked by instinct and unwavering commitment to excellence. He sets and elevates the gold standard across the VTC portfolio with his transformative leadership. His knack for defining products, optimising processes, and curating unparalleled customer experiences is second to none. With an intrinsic eye for detail, he crafts class-defining journeys for every guest. His devotion to creating unmatched guest experiences has solidified his standing as an industry luminary. Grounded in a philosophy where innovation seamlessly intersects tradition, Kurtis' insights are enriched by global inspirations. Drawing from the grandeur of Parisian cafes, the raw charm of New York's dive bars, and the elegance of St. Tropez beach clubs, he brings a unique, eclectic essence to VTC. This mélange of influences allows him to craft an ambience that whisks both team and patrons to another realm, where moments turn into cherished memories and joy is the reigning currency. Moreover, Kurtis' expertise isn't confined to physical spaces. His flair for balancing fun with professionalism and a visionary approach resonates vibrantly in social media and digital engagement, ensuring VTC's online presence is as compelling as its on-ground experience.

Kane Barker

Head of Cocktail Innovations and Venue Service Excellence. 

The urban cocktail and gastronomy landscape constantly changes, revealing hidden gems and setting new standards. Navigating this intricate maze demands more than expertise; it requires an inherent zeal and a profound understanding of the craft. Kane embodies this philosophy, seamlessly merging a deep product knowledge with an undying passion for the art of mixology. His hospitality journey began at the tender age of 14, working weekends at Coffee Barker, and his zest for learning and perfecting every facet of service was evident from those humble beginnings. His dedication saw him join Vintage Tea & Coffee Co immediately after school, immersing himself in every role and task, mastering them all at every new venue that has opened. At a mere 22 years old, Kane radiates an infectious warmth and unwavering dynamism. His youth belies the respect and esteem he garners from his peers, a testament to his unmatched prowess in the field. Kane is not merely a mixologist but a paragon of leadership, orchestrating transformative changes across the VTC brand spectrum. Through his discerning oversight, venues under his purview have witnessed enhanced product sophistication, process optimisation, and unparalleled upliftment in customer engagements. With Kane as a driving force for excellent service and incredible cocktails, our customers don't just receive a memorable time; they indulge in an immersive journey that adds value and distinctively sets our brand's culture apart.

Edwin Abenheimer

Group General Manager and Head of Operational Execution.

Edwin epitomises the resilience and tenacity required to operate successfully in the fiercely competitive hospitality arena. He started his journey with Vintage Tea & Coffee Co over a decade ago as a humble pot-wash at Coffee Barker.
Edwin has experienced every challenge firsthand and knows each venue's complexities. His ascent through the ranks is a testament to the core value of nurturing and promoting talent from within, underscoring a commitment to growth and team development. Edwin's direct involvement at every level has equipped him with an authentic leadership style rooted in steadfast integrity. His notable adaptability shines across the diverse brands in the collection. Such dexterity allows Edwin to maintain their unique identities and adeptly navigate growth and expansion. Edwin has nurtured invaluable relationships at every level. These relationships are the bedrock of Edwin's positive work culture, inspiring collaboration and mutual respect. Known for his charisma and people-oriented approach, Edwin consistently ensures guest satisfaction and deftly resolves challenges with genuine empathy. Edwin is committed to continuous personal and professional growth, evolving his leadership strategies with the company's ambitions. This adaptability is evident in his ability to integrate new technologies, refine operating procedures, and ensure consistent, top-tier service quality across an expanding portfolio of properties, balancing growth with stability.

Ivan Plamenov Ivanov

Head of Procurement, Technology Analytics, Point of Sale Infrastructure, and Server Management.

Ivan leads all procurement activities, expertly managing supplier relationships, contract negotiations, and inventory, and he is adept at handling the challenges of expanding venues and an ever-evolving supply chain, deploying his unique and specialised skill set with a calm, measured purpose. Ivan joined Vintage Tea & Coffee Co as a Mixologist at the Rum & Fizz cocktail bar in Cardiff, where his deep knowledge of products and detailed nuances of supplier pros and cons of each. In tune with the company's principle of encouraging personal development and career growth, Ivan ascended swiftly, taking additional responsibility in his stride. Ivan is proficient in analysing market trends, and he makes informed purchasing choices. Beyond procurement, Ivan excels in data analysis, harnessing vast datasets to enhance business strategies and supply chain efficiencies. As a senior management team member, he's instrumental in shaping the company's product strategy, liaising with venue managers, marketing, and operations to align products with the brand's vision, and collaborating closely with Kurtis Barker on menu formatting and venue branding. He also works alongside Edwin to integrate technology updates, ensuring smooth functionality. As a direct report to the directors, Ivan is the trusted voice for data and feedback, presenting it with integrity and velocity.

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