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Wed 7th Oct 2020 - Scrimgeour to step down as Cote CEO
Scrimgeour to step down as Cote CEO: Alex Scrimgeour is to step down as chief executive of Cote, the circa 95-strong French brasserie chain, after 12 years of leading the business, Propel has learned. Jane Holbrook, who recently joined the business as chairman, will become its executive chairman. Scrimgeour’s departure comes a week after Cote was acquired by global private markets investment manager Partners Group in a pre-pack administration. As part of the deal, former Wagamama chief executive Holbrook took over as Cote’s chairman, replacing ex-The Restaurant Group chief executive Andrew Page in the role. Scrimgeour joined the then Richard Caring-led backed, three-strong Cote in 2008. As joint managing director with Harald Samuelsson, Scrimgeour grew the business into one of the standout growth brands in the UK’s casual dining sector. Samuelsson and Scrimgeour oversaw two management buyouts, with the company being acquired by CBPE for circa £100m in 2013 and then by BC Partners two years later in a c£250m deal. In November 2015, Samuelsson stepped down from the business, with Scrimgeour becoming chief executive and continuing to grow the brand into a national presence and a £156m-turnover business. Scrimgeour told Propel: “After an incredible twelve years, the time has finally come for me to step away from Côte and seek out new challenges. I would like to express my immense gratitude to my colleagues, both present and past, without whom the many incredible things that we achieved over the years would not have been possible. covid-19 presents a unique challenge to the hospitality sector, however I feel sure that Côte and the newly established Côte at Home will continue from strength to strength under the new Partners Group ownership structure.” The recent deal with Partners Group secured the immediate future of 94 restaurants and all of the 3,148 employees working under the Côte brand have transferred to the purchasers. The restaurants operating under the Limeyard and Jackson & Rye brands were not included in the transaction resulting in the closure of three sites and 56 redundancies. Prior to lock-down, Côte, which opened its first restaurant in 2007, was trading well with record sales of £156.6m and strong Ebitda growth – up to £18.4m – in the past financial year. The business has recently successfully launched Côte at Home, its online shop delivering easy to cook dishes, fresh meat and wine. Last week, Holbrook said: “Alex and his team have built a great business and a much-loved brand. I’m really delighted to be joining it as we undertake the next phase of development and growth. Exciting times ahead.”

Sky reports London Mayor has written to Deliveroo to question commission rates: Sky News has reported that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to Deliveroo’s chief executive Will Shu asking for “clarity on how you determine the commission rates for businesses that sign up to Deliveroo”.The letter states: “It is important that independent businesses are treated fairly, particularly at the current time when they are vulnerable, and many depend on your services to survive.” Sky reported: “Neither Deliveroo nor City Hall would confirm if Mr Shu has replied but in a statement a spokesperson for the mayor said he “recognises the important role Deliveroo has played in supporting London’s hospitality sector through the challenges posed by the covid-19 lockdown and the clarity it has provided around its commission model”. James Chiavarini runs Italian restaurants in west London including Il Portico, the city’s oldest family-run eatery. Mr Chiavarini is angry about varied commission rates and has started a petition calling for change. He has also lodged a complaint with the UK’s competitions regulator, The Competitions and Markets Authority. He said: “I want to see a vibrant future for restaurateurs in London and the only way to do that is if we can all play on the same level playing field. There is no reason why the big chains should be paying half of our commission. We just want to have a fair system for everybody. If the big chains are paying 18% commission, everybody should be paying 18% commission. So that’s what we’re asking.” Deliveroo says it has since lowered Mr Chiavarini’s commission, given a rebate and speaks to him regularly.”

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