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Gourmet Holdings is the former Madisons coffee-shop operator that transformed itself into a restaurant and gastropub operator in 2004.
The reinvented group currently has three main divisions. Richoux is a chain of four English-style restaurants in London that was founded in 1909 and has recently expanded into the Middle East through franchising.
The gastropub division is made of the Bel and the Dragon chain, offering British and Mediterranean cuisine, and the Gastronomic Pub Company of individually-named establishments that have been converted to the Bel offer of Mediterranean and British cuisine.
Managing director: Andrew Guy
Madisons was one of the casualties of the booming coffee bar market but it has successfully changed its style and its fortunes by reinventing itself as a restaurant and gastropub operator in the casual dining sector.
The group sold off its coffee shop business in 2003 and, for the six months to January 2004, posted its first half-year pre-tax profits since its flotation in 1998. In April 2004, it hired City Centre Restaurant veteran Andrew Guy on a part-time basis to head up its acquisition strategy and, by June, it had snapped up the Bel and Dragon chain, when Guy became managing director.
Bel and the Dragon was bought for its roll-out potential, but while the ensuing three gastropub acquisitions have been converted to the Bel format, they have retained their original names.
Guy says that, while all newly-acquired pubs will adopt the Bel format, not all will take on the Bel name if they are already well-established locally. The non-Bel pubs operate in the Gastronomic Pub Company division.
The plan is to buy more quality pub-restaurants in the south of England within a one-and-a-quarter mile drive from London. Gourmet Holdings also intends to expand its Richoux chain of restaurants in the UK (initially in London) and overseas through franchising.
The group transferred its two rural Oxfordshire pubs - the Talk House and the Highwayman - from its continuing businesses following their underperformance in the half-year to January 2006 but retained their ownership and operation. It announced its intention to focus on urban and semi-rural locations in the future.
Philip Kaye (creator of the Garfunkel’s restaurant brand and father of Ask founders Adam and Sam) has taken a 13.5% stake in Gourmet Holdings.
“The Group has much opportunity with two excellent brands whose core units trade well and have demonstrated the criteria from which a larger estate can be built. We are seeking to expand both Richoux and Bel and the Dragon in a measured way that will deliver value to shareholders."
Source: interim results statement, 8 January 2006
Number of staff: about 250
Total number of pubs and restaurants: 13
Richoux restaurants: six – four in London (Mayfair, Piccadilly, Knightsbridge, St Johns Wood) and two franchised units in the Middle East.
Bel and the Dragon: four- in Cookham, Reading and Windsor in Berkshire, and Godalming in Surrey.
The Gastronomic Pub Company: three
The Talk House, Stanton St John, Oxfordshire
The Highwayman, Checkenden, Oxfordshire
The Five Bells, Stanbridge, Berkshire
Turnover: £9.7m (2004: £7.6m)
Operating profit: £421,000 (2004: -£129,000)
Pre-tax profit: £517,000 (2004: £775,000)
Turnover: £5.6m (2005: £5.35m)
Ebitda: £439,000 (2005: £680,000)
Pre-tax profit: -£160,000 (2005: £313,000)
Financial year end: 26 June 2005
Half year end: 8 January 2006
Address:3rd Floor, Eterint House
56-58 Putney High Street