Rock, the pub and dining group and events catering company set up by chef Nick Atkins, Jonny Townsend, and Jeremy Brown, has received a 'sizeable cash injection' from Australian leisure business Colonial Leisure Group (CLG) to help it expand the business across the south.
Since receiving the funding, the company, whose first site opened in Raynes Park, south west London earlier this year, has secured two more sites in Dorset and is looking to open a further three in Dorset and Hampshire over the next year.
Rock CLG, as it will now be known, will aim to operate a number of restaurants under the Rock name, principally in the south east, but with each site having its own identity.
Restaurants will serve seasonal menus using products sourced locally where possible and design-wise will be an 'elegant blend of contemporary & shabby chic'.
Its second venue, Rock Wimbourne, a restaurant with rooms, will open later this month, followed by Rock Westbourne, a bar and dining room, which is set to open its doors in November.
Atkins said he was looking forward to pushing forward with the plans. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to have Colonial Leisure on board. Not only has it allowed us to move forward with opening two new restaurant doors, we can already see the benefits that their contacts and business skills are going to our venture," he said.
CLG's managing director Chris Holleyoak said he had decided to invest in Rock after employing them to cater at a number of events at CLG's wedding and conference venue Pennsylvania Castle in Dorset.
"From the first time we worked with Rock we just knew they was something special about them," he said. "Fantastic food delivered with creativity and flair and supported by a service second to none has made Rock Food and Events our first choice of caterer and event managers at The Penn.
“When we heard they were looking for funding for their new venture Rock Restaurants, we were keen to explore the opportunity. We are delighted that we’ve found a way to support them both financially and strategically and look forward to sharing in the success of this exciting new venture.”
Australian-based CLG was founded by Chris Morris and owns a growing portfolio of leisure properties in Australia, including Orpheus Island, off the Great Barrier Reef, which is also a World Heritage site. The company is also looking to expand its portfolio of leisure venues in the UK after acquiring Pennsylvania Castle.