As the hospitality sector prepares to reopen, Restaurant Collective has launched as the first of its kind member-led and owned, non-profit community, with a mission to champion the UK’s independent restaurant sector at a time when it needs it most.
Restaurant Collective’s ethos is to provide independent operators with a louder voice and the support they need to succeed in today’s challenging marketplace.
This includes advice on running their business, mentorship and tips from successful restaurateurs who have been in their shoes, access to an exclusive online marketplace offering great supplier deals and greater control over their online presence.
Industry data shows that there are around 3,000 fewer restaurants than there were in March 2020 – the equivalent of around eight closures every day.
Since the start of this year, the trend has accelerated with the independent segment suffering 2,000 closures in January and February alone.
Restaurant Collective is backed by the former founders of restaurant booking service Livebookings (now Bookatable) and includes the likes of celebrated chef Brian Turner and Michelin-starred Andrew Pern as high-profile founder members.
As Patron, Brian Turner will build awareness of the new initiative among the restaurant community and help to recruit experienced founder members.
He said: “The ethos of hospitality has always been to bring people together and provide them with an enjoyable and memorable experience. This remains the case today, the difference being, with significantly increased competition and attention on eating out, it’s more complex running a restaurant nowadays compared to when I opened my first venue many years ago.
“That’s why I firmly believe Restaurant Collective is a fantastic initiative, and one that I’m very proud to be a part of – bringing together independent and smaller operators to support one and other. It’s certainly something that would’ve been of great assistance to me and my peers when we were starting out in the industry.”
Andrew Pern, the owner of several award-winning gastropubs including The Star Inn at Harome, will help shape Restaurant Collective so that it serves its purpose of championing independents.
He said: “The friendships formed and people we work with in our trade are second to none. If we work together and benefit from each other’s advice, the hospitality industry can only get stronger and come through this even better as one.”
Paul Shaw, CEO and co-founder of Restaurant Collective, added: “We’re on a mission to Save Our Independent Restaurants and support this part of the market as it emerges from what has been an incredibly tough time. The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of supporting local businesses and we’ve seen a shift in how people value and connect with their local independent restaurant, takeaway or pub. But these businesses are far from out the woods.
“As a completely member-led and owned, non-profit community, Restaurant Collective’s purpose is to level the playing field for independents. We’re building a membership community to ensure we offer the resources, guidance and inspiration that makes a positive difference to their businesses. We’re hugely excited by this prospect as we all look forward to a much brighter future.”
Restaurant Collective is open to all members who run single site venues or a small group of sites, as well as those from larger groups who are looking to connect with and support like-minded operators.