The Pepper Collective has a busy pipeline of openings for 2021 and is planning to launch at least one restaurant with chef José Pizarro next year, its co-founder Andrew Fishwick has said.
The company, which offers investment and operational support to hospitality businesses, was founded by Fishwick and former Nando's director Handley Amos in 2019.
Since 2010 Pizarro has opened three London tapas restaurants and the Swan Inn gastropub in Esher, Surrey.
"José is an exceptional chef and operator who has run that business for 10 years and knows every inch of it," Fishwick told The Caterer.
"He's been very careful with his brand and that's part of the joy and why he's retained such quality. There's a foundation there we can build on. It's not going to be 350 José Pizarro sites on every high street, but probably some really cool neighbourhood tapas bars and town centre sites around the country."
Fishwick added that the Pepper Collective is still working with chefs including Tom Brown, Alyn Williams and Gizzi Erskine on finding sites for future openings.
One of the group's first projects was chef Neil Rankin's Simplicity Burger on London's Brick Lane. Rankin was initially creative director at Pepper Collective, but has now left the business to focus on the plant-based project full-time.
Pepper Collective was due to open Republic, an all-day restaurant and bar in London's Broadgate, in partnership with British Land this winter, but it has now been pushed until the middle of next year.
Pillar, its wellness concept developed with celebrity personal trainer Harry Jameson, has partnered with one London hotel and is set to work with two international brands in 2021.
Pepper Collective is also lining up an opening in Edinburgh, under an unknown concept, and is looking at bringing two international hospitality brands to London next year.
Fishwick said: "It's all looking incredibly busy. The sands are shifting under our feet on a daily basis. We have to be agile in this environment and we can't pretend we know what the future looks like."
He added that Pepper Collective is trying to address the ‘broken' landlord-tenant relationship by approaching landlords to take a more collaborative approach.
"The landlord-tenant relationship had got out of kilter. Everyone was chasing these sites with huge premiums which only made operating profits even more miniscule. It meant people were unable to survive a tiny flux in the market, let alone a pandemic.
"Now we're trying to have grown-up conversations that can benefit both landlords and operators, whereas the old private equity model was ‘where's my money?' Some landlords are now looking at investing in their tenants. That's really cool, to see someone that cares rather than immediately looking to bring in the next guy. I think that will be one of the good things to come out of this after all the hell people are going through this year."
Fishwick previously ran the acclaimed Truscott Arms gastropub in London's Maida Vale.