Brand Wolseley revs up for global expansion

The Wolseley is to be rolled out as a “brand” in the Far East alongside a more relaxed Café Wolseley sub-brand with branches in Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford, under the ownership of Thai-based Minor International, which took control almost a year ago.

Dillip Rajakarier, Minor’s chief executive, outlined plans to open Wolseley restaurants in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai as well as possibly Dublin. Café Wolseleys will proliferate across other parts of China and in the Middle East.

Originally an investor in Corbin & King, Minor ousted founder Jeremy King in April last year after a bitter struggle, in which King stood firmly against global expansion. The seven-strong London group, which includes the Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel, was renamed The Wolseley Hospitality Group after the jewel in its crown.

In our most recent Harden’s survey, made before the effects of the take-over had taken hold, the Wolseley, in Piccadilly, topped the ratings for business meals and breakfast/brunch, and was second only to perennial winner Chez Bruce in the ‘favourite restaurant’ category.

Rajakarier told Bloomberg: “Our plan has always been two things. One is to grow the brand within the UK, and number two is to take the brand outside, because a lot of our international guests love the brand, whether it’s the Middle East or Asia.

“Sometimes not all joint ventures go the way you want. It was sad. The guy [King] is one of the best restaurateurs in London, and I value that. So yes, I do have regrets.” 

Rajakarier said the group will “easily double” in size over the next five years. Some of the new venues will be in hotels owned by Minor, and some will be operated under franchise arrangements.

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