Ahead of his appearance at the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai in April, Stuart Gillies, CEO, Gordon Ramsay Group discusses the company’s plans for the future.
Chef and restaurateur Stuart Gillies was promoted to chief executive officer of Gordon Ramsay Group in March 2016, following more than a decade working with the company, one of the world’s most famous restaurant businesses. Gillies is a driving force in the company’s international growth and responsible for strategic development as the group continues to mature.
Here, Gillies speaks exclusively to Catering News Middle East ahead of his upcoming visit to Dubai in April. Gillies will be headlining the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF), being held from April 10-12 at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, with a one-to-one interview entitled ‘Growing Global: Getting it Right’. Here’s a snippet of what to expect.
What is your role within the Gordon Ramsay Group?
My overall role is brand protection of all the individual brands we have within the collection as well as strategic growth globally.
How has the business managed return to a status of profitability?
Hard work, clear focus and positivity were some of the key elements which achieved this. The business focused on what it did best whilst adapting to the ever-changing demands of the public by diversifying. Additionally, we invested in our teams and brought in a number of specialists who added value to the quality and talent within.
What were the biggest challenges faced by the business during this time?
There were many, many challenges. Culture, funding and resources were probably the biggest for a long period of time. Modernisation and rebuilding was an enormous task.
What is your strategic outlook over the next five years?
The foundations that we have built are very strong so we are now back in regrowth and looking to grow certain concepts from the portfolio globally. Bread Street Kitchen is already proving an amazing success in a number of locations both in the UK and internationally so we are currently focusing on that expansion plan.
Which new locations are being considered for Gordon Ramsay restaurants?
Our core estate is the UK where we are looking at a number of locations for Bread Street Kitchen over the next few years. However, we are also looking at all areas of the US, Asia and Europe.
What would be your advice to new restaurant concepts?
Stay in your own lane, do what you do well, then build on that. Also, focus on your team as they are your most valuable assets.
How have consumer preferences changed over the last five years?
We are very blessed to be living in an era where the whole world loves food and hospitality, which is very different to when we started 30 years ago. People eat socially far more regularly than before, so have more diverse needs and expectations, which is great in our opinion.
How has technology played a part in the growth of Gordon Ramsay Group?
Well, that’s a good question as we love technology, but only to enhance the overall experience. We have invested heavily in new technologies in all areas of our business which give our team amazing access to data and reporting without interfering with their day job of looking after our guests.
Now in its fourth year, GRIF is an annual networking and intelligence event for the international restaurant and hospitality community, powered by Michelin and based in Dubai. GRIF 2017 will provide a macroeconomic overview of the F&B industry and tackle issues such as concept development, finance and lending, investment feasibility, scaling up for sustainable growth, creating a food culture and catering to the digitally-focused customer. For more information, visit www.restaurant-invest.com and www.global-restaurant-awards.com