Paramount Restaurants

Telephone:

020 7881 8870

Activities:

Paramount (formerly known as Groupe Chez Gérard) is a privately-owned company that operates a stable of restaurant brands, mostly in the London area.

Its two key brands are Chez Gérard, a Parisian-style brasserie, and the Italian Bertorelli chain. It also owns two fish brands, Livebait and Café Fish.

The group is experimenting with less formal brasserie and deli/café spin-offs of its two key brands that will spearhead its drive into the provinces.

In November 2005 the group - which had 22 restaurants and three delis - more than doubled in size with the acquisition of 53 Caffe Uno restaurants in high streets across the UK.

Chief Executive:

Nick Basing

Key People:

Chairman: Guy Naggar
Chief operating officer: Alan Hand

Commentary:

Groupe Chez Gérard’s problems at the start the current century stemmed from high debt and over-rapid expansion into sometimes poor sites.

Chairman Neville Abraham’s attempts to turn the group around – cutting costs, closing underperforming restaurants, lowering menu prices and slashing debt from £10.8m to £3.7m - seemed to be bearing fruit. But then came Paramount’s hostile offer, led by former GCG consultant Nick Basing, and Abraham was unable to put together a management buy-out to match Paramount’s bid.

New chief executive Basing turned around the group’s fortune within a year and doubled its share price. In this time, he upgraded the portfolio, closed or converted unprofitable sites, increased the seating, overhauled the menus, extended the wine list, rationalised the supplier list and boosted the training budget fivefold.

The group is now ready for expansion but, as new openings temporarily reduce profitability, chairman Guy Naggar felt this could be done best as a private rather than a listed company. His investment vehicle Craftbutton bought the company in May 2005.

As well as filling in gaps in the London market, the group plans to expand its presence in the provinces, principally through Brasserie Chez Gérard and Caffé  Bertorelli. Both are more casual spin-offs of its two key brands that have been adapted for all-day trading. It has no plans to add more Livebaits or Café Fish restaurants.

Strategy:

"As the business moves into a new phase of expansion there are additional infrastructure and capital costs in building an enlarged portfolio. We remain convinced that this business will significantly enjoy economies of scale from its principal brands.

The company’s strategy for growth is being executed through four main themes: leveraging yield from the existing portfolio; in-filling new sites in central London; roll out of Bertorelli and Chez Gérard outside London; and the pursuit of world class hospitality standards.”

Source: Interim results for the six months ended 26 December 2004

Operating Data:

Total number of restaurants: 75
Total number of delis: 3

CafféUno: 53
Chez Gérard: 12 - London (Belvedere Road, Bishopgate, Chancery Lane, Chandle Street, Covent Garden, Dover Street, St Pauls, Trinity Square, Victoria Thistle), Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport
Brasserie Chez Gérard:  one, in Cambridge
Le Petit Chez Gérard:  one, in Covent Garden, London
Bertorelli's: five – London (Charlotte Street, Fetter Lane, Mincing Lane, Floral Street, Frith Street)
Caffé Bertorelli: one, in Bristol
Deli Bertorelli: one, in Charlotte Street, London
Livebait: four – London (Covent Garden, Waterloo), Manchester, Leeds
Café Fish: one, in  Rupert Street, London

Number of employees: nearly 700

Financial Snapshot:

Full year

Turnover: £31.8m (£32.9m)
Pre-tax profit: £1.8m (2003: -£230,000)

Half year

Turnover: £17.5m (2003: £15.9m)
Pre-tax profit: £730m* (2003: £890m)

Financial year end: 27 June 2004
Half-year end: 26 December 2004

* Interim pre-tax profit rose by 7.1% to £990,000 before subtracting opening costs of £162,000 and reorganisation costs of £101,000.

Address:

8-10 Grosvenor Gardens
Victoria
London,

UK