List of all operators: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A to Z Restaurants

Address :

c/o Lotus Public Relations
200a Westbourne Studios
242 Acklam Road
London
W10 JJ
UK

Telephone :

0207 575 3292

Email :

monica@lotuspr.co.uk

Activities :

A-Z Restaurants operates an individual collection of London restaurants that have served as a springboard for some of the country’s top chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Giorgio Locatelli.

The group encompasses French, Italian and Oriental cuisine. One restaurant – Zafferano – has a Michelin star.

The group was set up by restaurateurs Claudio Pulze and Franco Zanellato in partnership with former stockbroker Guiliano Lotto. Pulze and Zanellato departed in 1998 and 2001 respectively, leaving Lotto in control.

A-Z was owned by Fineight International, a Lotto family company incorporated in Panama, until the end of 2004 when A-Z went into administration and returned to the control of Pulze and Zanellato.

Pulze has opened more than 35 restaurants in London since he launched Montepeliano in Knightsbridge in 1975. He is currently involved with 10 London restaurants outside the A-Z group, including Zaika, Al Duca, Fiore, Deya (with actor Michael Caine) and the Cantina Vinopolis and Wine Wharf.

Time Line :

  • 1993: A-Z is set up by restaurateurs Claudio Pulze and Franco Franco Zanelleto (who each hold a 22.5% stake in the company) and former stockbroker Guiliano Lotto, who owns a 45% stake. The group opens the Memories of China restaurant in Ebury Street, Belgravia, and Aubergine in Park Walk, Chelsea. Aubergine’s chef-patron Gordon Ramsay wins two Michelin stars within three years.
  • 1995: Giorgio Locatelli opens the Italian Zafferano in Knightsbridge, which wins a Michelin star in 1999. 
  • 1996: Ramsay protégé Marcus Wareing heads up the new L'Oranger restaurant in St James's Street and wins the restaurant a Michelin star in January 1997.
  • 1997: The second Memories of China restaurant opens in Kensington High Street in 1997. A-Z also opens Il Forno in Wardour Street and, in August, Locatelli opens La Spighetta in Marylebone, the first in the Spiga brand of mid-market Italian restaurants.
  • 1997: A Spiga pizza and pasta restaurant opens in Wardour Street, Soho, followed by a second branch in Chelsea in March 2001.
  • March 1998: Following a battle for control of the company, Pulze resigns as managing director and sells his 22.5% to Lotto, who now holds a controlling interest. 
  • July 1998: In the wake of a row about contracts and future plans, Ramsay quits Aubergine and Wareing is sacked at L’Oranger. Forty-four staff walk out of the two restaurants in protest and join Ramsay’s new restaurant in Chelsea. During the year, A-Z receives a £15m takeover approach.
  • November 1999: A-Z opens Rosmarino in St John's Wood.
  • June 2000: The group opens Teca in January and Alloro in August. Both are Italian restaurants located in Mayfair.
  • 2001: Financier Close Brothers invests £5m in A-Z to fund its expansion and buys out the 22.5% stake held by Zanatello, who leaves with a £1.6m payoff. Locatelli walks out after an acrimonious row with A-Z and the group announces plans to open the Prezzemolo restaurant in Wandsworth.
  • 2002: A-Z buys the Edira restaurant in Holland Park. In March, it opens the
    Italian Timo restaurant on Kensington High Street.
  • November 2004: The group is put into administration and offered for sale after its banker, Close Brothers, pulls the plug on its funding. The administrators receive 29 offers, including bids from Pulze (in partnership with former Café Med owner Simon Binder) and Zanellato.
  • January 2005: Seven A-Z restaurants are bought for £7m by Pulze, Zanellato and John Di Stefano. The line-up includes Aubergine, Zafferano, L’Oranger, Allora, Spiga in Soho, and the two Memories of China restaurants.
  • October 2005: A-Z sells Spiga in Soho to the Vince Power Media Group

Operating Data :

Number of restaurants: six in London

Alloro, Mayfair
Aubergine, Fulham
Memories of China (Belgravia and Kensginton)
L'Oranger, St James’s Street
Zafferano, Knightsbridge

Number of staff: about 350

Key People :

Chairman: John Di Stefano
Director: Claudio Pulze
Director: Franco Zanelleto
List of all operators: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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