Rick Stein invests in Padstow and considers expansion outside South West

By Ruth Williams

- Last updated on GMT

The Rick Stein Group is investing in its Padstow businesses and planning to expand to other locations across the UK
The Rick Stein Group is investing in its Padstow businesses and planning to expand to other locations across the UK

Related tags: Rick stein, Cornwall

Chef and restaurateur Rick Stein is working on three projects in Padstow, Cornwall, where he currently operates four sites while also planning to grow his restaurant estate across the UK.

In the town where he made his name, Stein is planning to add a small Champagne and oyster bar with limited covers to its fishmongers in the town, operations director Ian Fitzgerald told BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report​.

“Padstow is where the emotional pull is for us and we’ve got three current projects there,” Fitzgerald said.

The Rick Stein Group is also extending the Cornish Arms pub adding 80 covers to the dining area after a joint investment with St Austell Brewery.

Furthermore, the group is developing a building in the town adjacent to St Petroc's Hotel & Bistro as an extension to the existing restaurant to give more dining space and adding a cocktail and Champagne bar.

Accommodation

The upstairs of the listed building will be converted with an option to add boutique bedrooms. Fitzgerald said the company currently has c.40 bedrooms attached to its restaurants and has seen a rise in demand for accommodation in the town, so is considering adding to this to meet it. 

The company is also moving its production facility to a larger site just outside of Padstow, where work has already begun on a purpose built production kitchen to supply the restaurant estate.

The site will continue to make stocks, sauces, breads and pastries, preparation of items for the restaurants that are dispatched from the central location.

Expansion 

News of investment in Stein's Padstow businesses comes as the company considers an expansion of its restaurant estate across the south of England and further afield. 

Over the past year the group has invested in the strengthening its management teams, including the appointment of John Jackson to the Board of Seafood Trading Ltd as chairman and Fitzgerald said Jackson, the former group chief executive of the Jamie Oliver Group, has brought an appetite for growth to the company with the southeast the next natural progression.

“We would love to open places in the south and the south west and Dorset would be a good location for us. We are very close to being able to confirm a site there,” Fitzgerald said.

Staff development

The group recently appointed its first learning and development manager – Sally Phillips – to focus on how to develop staff in preparation of gearing up for expansion as well as investing in new management roles such as purchasing and operations. This change in infrastructure is necessary to move and grow into the southeast.

”We know we will be increasing the size of the company and have made these changes ahead of that growth: we are certainly looking ahead. We are an open minded company and will look at the different markets. The south is a natural next step but who’s to say we won’t go north?”

Fitzgerald said he has viewed sites in the north of England as well as other parts of the UK.

The first non-Cornish, non-coastal site opened in Winchester before Christmas, which Fitzgerald said has been incredibly well received. 

“There are plenty of other market towns of a similar nature to Winchester we could look at but if a site came up along the coast then we would definitely consider it.

"Winchester has demonstrated we are an island nation and we love fish. People still want to eat whelks, cockles and mussels but seem less confident to cook them at home.”

He said the company is not looking to “classically roll-out” and despite being poised for growth there are no plans to continue the momentum of opening three sites in the space of six months.

“We are seeing more people approach us now with properties but there’s no model that we would particularly focus on.”

View all the latest jobs at Rick Stein here 

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants, Hotels

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