SEARCYS, the operator of the restaurant at the top of the iconic Gherkin tower, has been bought out by its management team in a deal valuing the business at around £8m.
The deal will see the upmarket restaurant group return to private ownership three years after it was bought by Alternative Hotel Group (AHG), the operator of De Vere hotels.
Searcys senior management team, led by chairman Richard Tear and chief executive Doug Tetley, will own up to 15 per cent of the business following completion of the deal.
The group has also secured the backing of an unnamed London-based Indian businessman, who has taken a majority stake to add to a portfolio of investments in the hotel and residential housing sectors.
Searcys approached AHG with a management buyout proposal after the group decided to focus on its core hotel business. The two sides struck a final deal last Friday after AHG agreed to offer management a period of exclusivity on the sale.
Searcys will now target an expansion of its current contract base, particularly in the area of concessions such as its National Portrait Gallery restaurant. It also aims to expand its portfolio of champagne bars from the existing two sites at St Pancras and Westfield, targeting at least eight new bars within the next three years.
The group also manages contracts at the Barbican Centre, the London Transport Museum, 1802 at the Museum of London Docklands, the Vintners Hall in the City and the Hurlingham Club in Fulham.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SEARCYS
TETLEY is relatively new at Searcys, having joined the restaurant group in February this year from food services group Aramark.
While at Aramark, he ran the business services division for four years, but was attracted to Searcys because of its more compact, targeted business offering.
“I thought there was a fantastic opportunity in the way the business was run, and I liked the idea of working for a smaller organisation focusing on luxury restaurants,” Tetley says.
He also previously worked for the Browns restaurant chain in Covent Garden and for pub group Mitchells & Butlers.
Half Kiwi by birth, Tetley says his passions outside the food world extend to watching the All Blacks play rugby and enjoying a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.