M Restaurants’ founder Martin Williams to rescue Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa?

Jamie Oliver’s good-looking but “soooooo overpriced” duo of luxury grills Barbecoa (in Piccadilly and the City) has fallen into administration. It was announced today (Monday 19 February) that the Piccadilly site has closed and both venues are being “touted by Christies property agents to assess their market potential”.

But fans will be pleased to hear M restaurants’ founder Martin Williams has expressed an interest in saving the business. Williams criticised restaurant chains including Oliver’s last week while announcing standout financials for M Restaurants.

“I believe there is a future for Barbecoa which appears to be a casualty of the melt-down of the Oliver Empire,” he commented. “I’m interested in acquiring the brand and protecting the jobs of staff, many of who are very talented individuals whom I have mentored throughout my career. I believe the business has potential and we approached the company late last week to attempt to come up with a mutually acceptable agreement.”

Williams already has two London city centre M venues and an M Bar & Grill in Twickenham. Barbecoa would be a third brand for his burgeoning enterprise but he is keen to stress that he will never become a chain operator. “I believe that all restaurants have to have their own character,” he said. “That means giving freedom to the Managers and Chefs to develop their own concepts. The moment you impose central control the spark of creativity and the very life blood of the hospitality industry is crushed.”

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