Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant group is reportedly on the verge of receiving a significant cash injection from a London and Los Angeles-based private equity firm. It would, as well as fortifying his operation in the U.K., inspire an huge expansion of his brand across America.
According to multiple reports, Lion Capital is in talks to back the restaurant group led by the British chef. Lion, which describes itself as a “consumer-focused investor passionate about investing in brands about which people are passionate,” believes that brand Ramsay has sufficient mileage to open up to 100 new restaurants — in different formats — across the United States.
The interest in Ramsay and this new potential investor comes after it was reported last month that his company trademarked the name Great Burger, prompting some to wonder whether the chef will take a fast casual approach to his mass expansion stateside. (He currently operates an eponymous burger restaurant in Las Vegas, his only remaining meaningful business imprint in the States.)
Ramsay, like most chefs, is no stranger to a meat patty in a bun. For those interested, here’s his top 10 burger moments. “A busy grill is a delicious grill,” he once said, without swearing.
Lion’s interest in the chef, and his name, is curious: At a time when the likes of Jamie Oliver has seen his own restaurant empire diminish in the last 18 months, Ramsay — if not yesterday’s breakfast — is hardly front-and-centre of dining in the U.K. in 2018. His appearance on stage in full chef’s whites at this year’s Michelin U.K. and Ireland announcement felt slightly out of place, like a momentary, wistful return to a time when Gordon Ramsay actually cooked, in a professional kitchen. Now a fully-fledged celebrity restaurateur, transferring his American TV notoriety to a portfolio of restaurants could be next.
Burgers remain one of the more difficult-to-measure food businesses in the U.K. British-born Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have both floundered where Honest Burgers, Meatliquor, and numerous American imports (Shake Shack, Five Guys, and ....) have flourished. In other words,
Lion Capital declined to comment. (Ramsay and his associates always decline to comment.)
But, hopefully, more soon.