M Restaurants founder Martin Williams has hit out at “dated and rightly dying” chains as he reports 19% growth across his group.
Like-for-like sales across the three venue strong restaurant group grew to £6.5m in 2017, up from £5.5m the previous year.
Last year saw the opening of the more casual M Bar and Grill concept in Twickenham, joining M Restaurant branches in Threadneedle Street and Victoria, London, with at least one further opening planned for this year.
Williams (pictured) told The Caterer: “Guests are much more discerning, much more choosy about where to spend their money, their levels of expectation have just grown and grown.
“At best chain restaurants have become a safe banker, they are not offering an experience which is great value for money any more. They are discounting their standard offering rather than investing in it so it’s value for money.
“They are consistent at best but devoid of personality, people used to buy into a chain but now they want something more than that and that’s where the emergence of new brands are coming through.”
The strongest growth across the M Restaurants group was seen at the original Threadneedle branch, recording a net profit of more than £600,000 with Williams confident that later additions to the portfolio will follow in its tracks.
He said: “Each restaurant takes a couple of years to bed in and establish itself and three years to become really established as a brand. The last six months of 2017 saw it known as the new cool steak restaurant in the city – it takes two years to be new.”
At least one further opening is planned for 2018 but Williams is keen not to “over expand” so the group can retain focus on service and food quality to ensure that “when guests come they get great value for money”.
He puts the group’s growth down in part to its multi-faceted offering, incorporating private members’ clubs and wine shops, that he says make a visit more of an experience.
M Restaurants is currently in talks to secure another central London venue, with a similar offering to Threadneedle Street and Victoria, which is expected to open in 2020 or 2021.
Expansion is also planned for the group’s bar and grill concept, with both the commuter belt and central London under consideration.
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