Overall ranking: 44
Restaurateur ranking: 12
Simon Kossoff - Snapshot
Simon Kossoff is managing director of Italian restaurant and food shop chain Carluccio’s. The chain currently stands at 45 restaurants in the UK, with plans for as many as another 70. It is currently opening sites at the rate of five a year in the UK. Its franchisee in the Middle East, the Landmark Group, is scheduled to open a fourth site in Qatar in 2010, and there is also a restaurant in Dublin. Sales in the year to 27 September 2009 rose 8% to £69m. The group saw pre-tax profits drop 16% to £4.7m, although this fall did not include a £1.7m non-trading impairment and onerous lease charge against restaurants at Oxford and Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
Simon Kossoff - Career history
Simon Kossoff is an economics graduate of York University and a postgraduate of Manchester Polytechnic.
He started his career at PizzaExpress before joining the My Kinda Town group in 1986, where he took on a string of management positions in London, Manchester and Glasgow. The group promoted him to UK operations director in 1993 and UK managing director in 1995.
Kossoff was working as a consultant to several major hotel and restaurant businesses when he met Priscilla Carluccio in 1998 and helped develop the deli-café concept. The business was launched as a joint venture between Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio and the management team of Kossoff and former My Kinda Town directors Stephen Gee and Peter Webber.
After raising £2m to fund its first three London deli-cafés, the group opened its first branch in London’s Market Place in November 1999.
The group floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in December 2005 at a market value of £53.6m, at which point the Carluccios stepped back to become part-time consultants on design and food issues.
Simon Kossoff - What we think
There’s rarely smoke without fire, and Richard Caring, the retail entrepreneur who owns a string of leisure assets including restaurant chain Cote, has been sending signals recently suggesting he may make a bid for the AIM-listed Carluccio’s, in which he already holds a 12% share.
Disruption to the business, although by no means certain, would be a shame, as Kossoff has built a much-admired brand, managed to dodge the worst of the damage from the tips controversy that gripped the popular media and public in 2009, and kept the group on course and expanding during the recession. His steady hand on the tiller saw Kossoff scoop the Catey for Group Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
With plenty of growth still to go for and an increasing focus on international franchising, Kossoff and Carluccio’s best days would still seem to be ahead.
Simon Kossoff - Further information