Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Simon Kossoff, Carluccio's

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Simon Kossoff, Carluccio's

Overall ranking: 17 (ranked 44 in 2010)

Restaurant ranking: 5 (ranked 12 in 2010)

Simon Kossoff - Snapshot

Simon Kossoff is chief executive of Italian restaurant and food shop chain Carluccio's . The chain currently stands at 54 restaurants in the UK, one in Dublin and five in the Middle East, with plans for as many as another 70. In 2010, the company was bought by the Landmark Group for £90m and taken private. Interim reports for 2010, reported that turnover for the first 26 weeks increased to £37.1m (2009: £34.5m) and profit before tax increased by 8% to £2.7m (2009: £2.5m). Average spend in the restaurants is £13.

Simon Kossoff - Career guide

Simon Kossoff is an economics graduate of York University and a postgraduate of Manchester Polytechnic. He started his career at PizzaExpress before joining the My Kinda Town group in 1986, where he took on a string of management positions in London, Manchester and Glasgow. The group promoted him to UK operations director in 1993 and UK managing director in 1995.

Kossoff was working as a consultant to several major hotel and restaurant businesses when he met Priscilla Carluccio in 1998 and helped develop the deli-café concept. The business was launched as a joint venture between Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio and the management team of Kossoff and former My Kinda Town directors Stephen Gee and Peter Webber.

After raising £2m to fund its first three London deli-cafés, the group opened its first branch in London's Market Place in November 1999.

The group floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in December 2005 at a market value of £53.6m, at which point the Carluccios stepped back to become part-time consultants on design and food issues.

In October 2010, Dubai-based Landmark paid £90m for Carluccio's. Landmark, which holds the franchise for Carluccio's in the Middle East, currently has 74.6% of the issued share capital in the company. It subsequently delisted Carluccio's from the AIM. Kossoff and chairman Simon Gee remain on the management team. The deal values their families' stakes at £3.7m and £3.6m respectively.

Simon Kossoff - What we think

Richard Caring, the retail entrepreneur who owns a string of leisure assets including restaurant chain Côte, sent signals a few years ago suggesting he might make a bid for the then AIM-listed Carluccio's, in which he held a majority12% share.

While he didn't oppose Landmark's bid, it highlights Carluccio's value. Certainly, Kossoff has built a much-admired brand, which has managed to dodge the worst of the damage from the tipping controversy that gripped the popular media and public in 2009, and he has kept the group on course by expanding during the recession. Kossoff's steady hand saw him scoop the Catey for Group Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.

It's also seen the company flourish through the downturn. Carluccio's flexible, all-day trading, business model, with a low average spend in the cafè of £13, has proved resilient. The company serves more than 140,000 customers every week in its restaurants and food shops.

On average, the company has opened five sites a year and Landmark's £90m takeover deal indicates there is still plenty of growth left to go. With an increasing focus on international franchising, Kossoff still has plenty of challenges ahead.

Simon Kossoff's ranking in the 2010 100 >>

Carluccio's takeover deal declared unconditional >>

Carluccio's enjoys good start to the financial year >>

Is it worth joining the Sustainable Restaurant Association? >>

Carluccio's website >>

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