Searcys (a WSH brand)
Telephone:0207 585 0505
Searcys is an upmarket boutique caterer that in 2014 became part of the Westbury Street Holdings stable of brands. Sister companies includes B&I caterer BaxterStorey, upmarket caterer Benugo, school meals caterers Caterlink and Holroyd Howe and front of house and reception services specialist Portico.
Searcys is one of the most established catering companies in Britain with a long heritage that qualifies it as a UK superbrand. Originally a specialist event and outdoor catering company, it has evolved to operate at some of the most iconic locations in the country, along with a presence at a diverse range of venues encompassing railway terminals, airports and shopping centres.
It was founded in 1847 by John Searcy, pastry chef to the Duke of Northumberland to cater at private homes in London and the Home Counties that did not have full-time domestic staff. It soon became the caterer of choice for royalty (it holds a royal warrant) and London aristocracy.
In 1920, it bought its own venue, 30 Pavilion Street, in London’s Knightsbridge district, and added guest rooms in the 1970s, when it also established a series of bars and small restaurants in London.
In the 1980s, it came under the ownership of the Goodhew family and won its first retail-style contract in 1990 at London’ Barbican Centre. This was followed by a series of high-profile contracts in London that included the Royal Opera House, National Portrait Gallery, Waterstone’s (Europe’s largest book shop) and, in 2003, the Gherkin building.
In 1997, Searcy’s formed a joint venture with Irish chef Richard Corrigan (who had overseen the set-up of Searcy’s Brasserie at the Barbican under a six-month contract) to buy and launch the Lindsay House restaurant in Soho, which won a Michelin star in 1999 – the same year the partnership followed up with the English Garden and The House restaurants in Soho.
Searcys-Corrigan Restaurants also bought and relaunched historic London fish restaurant, Bentleys in Mayfair, in 2005.
The caterer moved beyond its London stronghold for the first time in 2004 with contracts in Bath (Assembly Room and Pump Room) and Edinburgh (with the National Galleries of Scotland).
In 2007, Searcys was bought for between £20m and £25m by De Vere hotels owner, the Alternative Hotel Group (AHG), and launched the first of a series of Champagne bars at the revamped St Pancras International rail station in London.
Under AHG’s ownership, it was renamed Searcys 1847 to reflect its long heritage, but returned to private hands in 2010 after an £8m management buy-out.
Subsequent big contract wins included Blenheim Palace, its first airport (Southend) and large London event venues owned by the Royal College of General Practitioners (30 Euston Square) and the British Academy ( 10-11 Carlton House Terrace).
In November 2013, Searcys was put on the market with a £25m-£30m price tag due to the ill-health of key owner, Indian businessman Harish Patel, in November 2013, when it also launched the new Sixtyone West End restaurant as a joint venture with Arnaud Stevens, its former executive chef at the Gherkin.
At the time of its 2014 acquisition by WSH, Searcys had a £42.6m turnover and 1,082 staff across 20 sites, which included:
- Champagne bars at St Pancras International station; Paddington station; One New Change; and shopping centres Westfield London and Westfield Stratford
- Restaurants and bars at the Gherkin; the Barbican; the London Transport Museum; Blenheim Palace; Selfridges Birmingham; and the Roman Baths
- Events venues including its own 30 Pavilion Road; Inner Temple; Vintners’ Hall; 10-11 Carlton House Terrace; 30 Euston Square; the Montcalm hotel Marble Arch; the Hurlingham Club; and the Assembly Rooms, Bath
Address:1 Bridges Court