A to Z Restaurants (London Fine Dining)
Telephone:0207 495 4768
A-Z Restaurants (which has traded as London Fine Dining since 2007) is named after the initials of two of its former iconic Michelin-starred restaurants, Aubergine and Zafferano.
The group was founded in 1993 by restaurateurs Claudio Pulze and Franco Zanelleto along with former stockbroker Guiliano Lotto, initially with Kenneth Lo's legendary Memories of China restaurant in Ebury Street, Belgravia.
With the exception of the Modern European Aubergine, the French-inspired L'Oranger and new Memories of China outlets, group restaurants tended to take their inspiration from Italian cuisine.
A-Z's collection of individual London restaurants served as a springboard for leading chefs such as Gordon Ramsay (who won his second Michelin star for Aubergine in 1997), Marcus Wareing (who scooped a Michelin star for L'Oranger in 1997) and Giorgio Locatelli, whose Italian restaurant Zafferano picked up its Michelin star in 1999.
Co-founder Lotto gained control of the company after Pulze departed in 1998 and Zanatello was bought out by Close Brothers Growth Capital in 2001 after the financiers injected £5m into the company.
Lotto famously fell out with three of the group's top chefs - sacking Wareing in 1998 the day after Ramsay quit in a row over contracts and future direction to set up his own eponymous restaurant, and losing Locatelli in early 2001 after some heated arguments.
The group had grown to 13 London outlets when the administrators were called in during 2004 and put the seven most profitable restaurants up for sale. They received 29 offers in the first round of bids. Notably, original co-founder Pulze fielded three separate offers, teaming up with ex-Café Med owner Simon Binder and then Greenhouse restaurant owner Marlon Abela before throwing in his lot with the winning team at the 11th hour.
The upshot was that co-founders Pulze and Zanellato regained the collection for £7m in partnership with John De Stefano (chairman of the London and Henley Property Group) who subsequently bought them out in 2007 to become sole owner.
The following year, the group (now rebranded London Fine Dining Group) opened its first restaurant outside London - Aubergine at the Compleat Angler in Marlow - in a five-year partnership with Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.
The group currently comprises two London restaurants - Ken Lo's Memories of China in Belgravia and Zafferano in Knightsbridge.
Director and secretary Nello Battistel
Number of restaurants: two in London
Ken Lo's Memories of China, Belgravia
Turnover £8,220,406 (2014: £8,933,083)
Operating profit £406,558 (2014: £103,905)
Pre-tax profit/loss £285,739 (2014: -£39,061)
Profit/loss after tax £218,853 (2014: -£62,385)
6 Heathmans Road