David Rawlinson, Director of leading leisure property specialists Restaurant Property, has worked in the industry for 25 years. In that time, he has gained a wealth of experience working with the best names in the culinary world to bring some of the world’s most famous and acclaimed restaurants, bars and pubs to life. This experience is something he brings to the company every day, sharing his expertise with his employees and clients alike to ensure the perfect location every time.
When asked about the most notable properties he has been involved with, the list is extensive. It includes the fantastically decorated Sexy Fish in Mayfair, an Asian fish and seafood restaurant that features artworks from Damien Hirst and two of award-winning Japanese eatery ROKA’s sites. Restaurant Property was also responsible for managing the deal that saw The Frog by Adam Handling move from its lease at the Old Truman Brewery to a perfect, permanent site in Hoxton Square.
David has worked extensively with the Gordon Ramsay Group, finding locations for Bread Street Kitchen, Heddon Street Kitchen and the Michelin-starred Pétrus. No stranger to Michelin-starred establishments, Restaurant Property was also instrumental in finding the site for Clare Smyth’s Core, a remarkable restaurant that was awarded, not one, but two Michelin Stars in the 2019 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland.
So, what makes an exceptional property? According to David, these days clients are requesting buildings with ‘character’ more and more. They want high ceilings, original mouldings, beautiful windows – something out of the ordinary. He adds that in London, outside space is rare; having a roof terrace or garden makes a property highly desirable. Of course, the usual requirements also apply, such as suitable footfall and the fact that prominent corner units are always the first to go due to their superior visibility.
Restaurant Property was founded in 2000 and has almost 19 years of working in the UK leisure landscape under its belt. What has set it apart in that time? David’s answer is simple: We pride ourselves on customer service and an unrivalled selection of on and off-market sites. We also enjoy working with experienced operators who are looking to open a flagship unit in London and gain immense satisfaction from finding them the perfect location.
Is there any advice David would give to someone seeking a world-class property after 25 years in the industry? Be prepared to do lots of homework in terms of research of competitors and locations. A good landlord’s pack is worth its weight in gold, so get one ready as soon as possible. Finally, be careful who advice is taken from, and make sure all your advisors are the best in their field with a proven track record – this includes lawyers, agents and designers.
The company continues to go from strength to strength as 2018 winds down, with Restaurant Property being appointed to the latest Mayfair restaurant to let on Dover Street. To get a fully fitted site at no premium in Mayfair, especially one with a late license, is an incredibly rare find and goes to demonstrate the kind of quality being dealt in.
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