1935 After working in his father's ice-cream parlour and cafes, Mr Charles Forte opened his first milk bar in London's West End through Strand Milk Bar Ltd.
Post-WWII the company developed a range of popular and high quality restaurants and banqueting facilities, including the acquisition of the Cafe Royal in 1954.
1954 Forte acquired the Criterion site
Became Forte & Co Ltd
From 1955 catering concessions were obtained at several UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham.
1958 The company began the acquisition of hotels, with the Waldorf in London
1959 The company opened the first motorway service area at Newport Pagnell on the M1, and seven others in the next decade.
1961 Forte Holdings was one of the largest privately-owned businesses in Britain. Forte agreed a £30 million merger with Mecca, a publicly quoted company, but this deal collapsed because of difficulty with valuing some of the Forte businesses.
1962 Acquired Mr Whippy ice cream and also acquired many other businesses
1962 Forte Holdings was floated on the Stock Exchange to raise funds for expanding the steak houses and develop motels. Control of the company was retained by its founder's specially created private company, Forte Investments, which held 71 percent of the equity.
1963 Acquired Joseph Terry, chocolate manufacturers
By 1970 Fortes had 28 hotels in the UK and Ireland and 15 overseas, including the George V and Plaza Athenee in Paris.
1962 Acquired the City of London catering firm, Ring and Brymer
1969 Acquired the Criterion site in Piccadilly Circus, London which included Lillywhites and the Criterion Theatre, businesses Forte already owned.