2014 has been an amazing year for the Restaurant Industry in terms of the slew of fantastic new restaurant openings and innovative concepts launched.
In what is clearly a very conservative estimate, Harden’s 2015 London Restaurants guide, which analyses 65,000 reports of the capital’s dining scene, says a total of 148 new restaurants were opened in the capital this year. It records 47 closures, which means 2014 saw a net increase of 101 new restaurants, which it says is far ahead of the previous record of 75 from 2006.
The reputation of British Cuisine is now something to be thoroughly proud of. The UK’s largest online restaurant booking service, OpenTable, released its annual list of the top 100 Restaurants in the UK. Compiled from more than 340,000 reviews from across the UK in the last 12 months, British cuisine proved the most popular and dominated the list making up a third of the places. Tom Sellers’ Restaurant Story, which opened in April 2013 and received its first Michelin star five months later, was named best restaurant by UK diners.
Harden’s handed the title of Top Gastronomic Experience to The Ledbury with Brett Graham’s restaurant also taking top billing in the food rankings. Leading the pack of newcomers was Simon Rogan’s Fera at Claridge’s, which also went in at number four in the overall rankings. Another Chef receiving praise was Jason Atherton, with the guide calling him the “surest bet” for a great meal from a celebrity Chef after the launch of his City Social restaurant.
It has also been an amazing year personally for Restaurant Property since I bought out my partner, Jason Grant, and took full control of the company. We have effectively tripled in size with a staff of 15 including 11 full time employees. We now offer a complete one-stop shop, covering all aspects for anyone considering opening a new or repositioning an existing restaurant, and can now be considered as the leading Central London Restaurant Agency.
It’s so difficult to give a proper summary of all the deals we were involved in this year but I at least can put together a taster menu of a few of the highlights. We acted for Lancer Asset Management when restaurateur Richard Caring acquired 4-6 Berkeley Square in W1 for his latest Mayfair venture. Nearby we also advised Gordon Ramsay on his latest restaurant Heddon Street Kitchen. We were also very proud to work with Arjun Waney and Rainer Becker on their flagship venture and largest restaurant Roka Aldwych. Another great project was acquiring 67 Pall Mall for Grant Ashton for his St James’s private members club for wine lovers.
A much talked about new venture we advised on was for former managing director of Gaucho Restaurants, Martin Williams, and his M Restaurants’ first London site on Threadneedle Street in the City. We also acted for Swiss chef and restaurateur Michael Riemenschneider on the opening of his new Canvas restaurant in Chelsea and on his takeover of the Black Boys Inn in Hurley, near Henley in Berkshire.
We are currently advising Golfrate on new operators for a portfolio of seven London pubs, acquired ten sites for Prezzo in the course of the year, acted for Shaftesbury on Brindisa Tapas Kitchen’s fifth London restaurant, on Rupert Street in Soho and put Burger & Lobster into Cardiff. There have been so many more deals but you get the picture.
Looking forward to next year, if anything, we predict even more frenetic activity in the Restaurant Industry. Premiums and rents will continue to rise in Central London and indeed across other popular London restaurant locations. Linked to but not purely determined by these trends, destination restaurants like Palomar and Flat Iron will continue to go off piste to less established locations, confident that their marketing and power of the internet will generate its own footfall.
The street-food scene and pop-ups continue to inject a real enthusiasm for good quality food and innovative concepts which are being realised as new restaurant concepts increasingly quickly. Soho is still a great barometer for assessing the latest trends in restaurants but it is increasingly being challenged by East London rivals such as Hoxton and Dalston. For this reason we are particularly excited to have been appointed on the Shoreditch Village development which will create a dozen new restaurants.
It is going to be a very busy year for us all so on behalf of all the team I would like to thank you for all your support. Restaurant Property would like to wish all its clients and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.