Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Andy Bassadone, Cote, Bill's restaurants

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Andy Bassadone, Cote, Bill's restaurants

Overall ranking: 34 (NEW ENTRY)Restaurateur ranking: 9 (NEW ENTRY)

Andy Bassadone - Snapshot

Andy Bassadone is the director of Bill's restaurants who made his name in the 1990s as managing director of Caprice Holdings, before his role as founding director of the mid- market Italian-themed restaurant chain Strada, followed by the French-themed Côte.

Andy Bassadone - Career guide

Bassadone launched Strada in 1999 with Chris Benians who had worked as a chef at Caprice Holdings. They developed 26 Strada restaurants over a five-year period before selling their company to Richard Caring for £56m, who in turn subsequently sold it to Tragus.

In 2007 Caring teamed up with Bassadone and Benians to launch Côte, a mid-market, French bistro themed chain. They chose Wimbledon Village for the first site and went on to develop the concept throughout the Home Counties, London, the Midlands and South Wales. Well-known restaurant investor Caring has also backed Côte.

Bassadone is no longer hands-on at Côte but, in his words remains, "an active investor". The chain is now run by joint managing directors Harald Samuelsson and Alex Scrimgeour and will have 36 restaurants by late 2012.

Andy Bassadone - What we think
Andy Bassadone has become the doyen of mid-market dining, with Strada and Côte setting the benchmark in offering comfortably priced food in attractive, yet accessible settings.

"Andy has been fantastic in developing mid-market restaurants," Haraald Samuelsson has said of Bassadone, "as he's shown with Strada and Côte and now with Bill's Restaurants. I've worked with him for about ten years and what I've learned from him in my time at Strada is a drive for relentless improvement, strong focus on the training of staff and focus on the food offering. "I apply these principles today in the running of Côte, together with Alex Scrimgeour.

"Our plans for Côte are to keep expanding. We have planned another 15 restaurants for 2013 and to keep improving our offering. We are the highest ranked mid-market restaurant group on Tripadvisor, of which I am very proud."

The growth of Côte (which won the Good Food Guide Award for Best Value Restaurant in the UK in 2009) in particular is seen as a remarkable achievement because even though it was launched and nurtured during recession, it was listed as one of the top fastest growing profitable restaurant businesses in this year's Zolfo Cooper Profit Tracker Report (April 2012).

Speaking about the recession, Bassadone says: "Everyone predicted that eating out would be cut back but if you have got a good product and concentrate on product then it is possible to do well."

Bill's, which has a retro, un-done feel, taps into the recession-blighted consumer's need for an atmosphere of reassurance. But behind its relaxed image are some well thought-out moves into prime sites such as Covent Garden and Soho and well-heeled demographics such as Brighton, Bath and Cambridge. It looks like Bassadone has found a new take on the mid-market niche which he has, once again, made his own.

Cote has fastest-growing profits in eating and drinking market >>

2011 Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Richard Caring >>**
Richard Caring teams up with Strada directors to launch bistro >>

Cote to open flagship restaurant in London's West End >>

Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Rick Bailey, Daniel Thwaites

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