London restaurateurs Martin Williams and Richard Caring respond to Brexit

martin williamsDoom and gloom in the news this week as research by CGA Peach revealed the extent to which Brexit has knocked confidence among restaurateurs. A survey by the business analyst found concerns over consumer confidence, rising product costs and staff availability headed the list of worries – with just 15% of respondents feeling positive about market prospects, compared with 75% in January this year.

However not all restaurateurs are feeling quite so downbeat. Martin Williams, formerly the head honcho over at Gaucho, but now with a growing restaurant empire of his own – M Restaurants – has reacted to the post Brexit landscape by postponing plans to open a third venue in Soho in order to launch a new project outside of the capital. Williams already has outposts in the City’s Threadneedle Street and Victoria.

Rather than opening another large-scale M Restaurant, which comprises M Grill (steakhouse) and M Raw (raw bar), the restaurateur has announced the launch of a new ‘diffusion’ brand, M Social. M Social will take core elements of the M brand and apply them to more intimate locations outside the capital. The plans are to open up to four new venues during 2017.

In a world where investment and opportunity can be seen as increasingly London-centric, this will certainly be welcome news for diners, businesses and job seekers outside of the capital.

Williams says: “Prior to the referendum I was already of the view that weekend dining outside the centre of London was a market I was keen to capitalise on. I am now convinced that in the current environment, M Social is the perfect vehicle to grow the M brand.”

Meanwhile it was reported that Richard Caring had apparently emailed his staff to allay the fears of international workers following the Brexit vote. According to the Evening Standard, the billionaire owner of Caprice Holdings told staff they should have “no concerns” about being able to stay in the country after the UK voted to leave the European Union last month.

His email went on to say: “I, along with the vast majority of employers in this country, would fight tooth and nail to ensure your stability and tenure so that you might carry on and be welcome as a solid and respected part of UK industry.

“There has been talk of foreigners not working or being welcome in this country… these people are ignorant and their voice will not be heard.”

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