Thursday 4 April 2019 9:24 pm

Gaucho's merger with M Restaurant brings boss Martin Williams 'full circle'

The founder of M Restaurants said today he has come “full circle” by merging his chain with steakhouse Gaucho, which he led for years before founding M.

Martin Williams, who is taking over as chief executive of the new parent company, always hoped to merge the two after helping to take Gaucho out of administration with Investec and SC Lowy in September last year.

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“In six months they’ve gone from administration to a restaurant group that’s looking to expand,” he told City A.M.

However, the brands will stay independent, Williams said.

“People go to M because of the private members’ lounges, the multi-faceted elements, the wine stores and cocktail bars, while Gaucho is just a great steak restaurant,” he said, adding that thoughts of rebranding were abandoned after consulting with diners.

The focus now will be on change, Williams said; expanding Gaucho’s wine selection beyond Argentina and making the menu cheaper. It will also cater to alternative diets, ensuring that groups do not stay away because of the veto of a single vegetarian or vegan.

Read more: M’s man Martin squashes the beef at Gaucho

“The problem with the brand was that it hadn’t evolved,” Williams said, promising to switch out the vegan-repellant cowhide chairs.

He declined to reveal the size of the acquisition, saying only that all investors made a profitable exits.