Renowned London restaurant group A-Z Restaurants is to rebrand itself as the London Fine Dining Group with immediate effect, Caterer can reveal.
The move follows private investor and group chairman John de Stefano acquiring the remainder of the company's shares from A-Z founder Claudio Pulze and other shareholders in February, bringing the group under his sole ownership.
The group includes the Michelin-starred Zafferano and Aubergine as well as Alloro, L'Oranger, Ken Lo's Memories of China, Memories of China and Edera.
De Stefano said: "The London Fine Dining Group comprises some of London's finest destination restaurants, and we felt it was important to have a name that reflects the quality of the individual restaurants in the group."
He also revealed plans for international expansion, with sites in the Caribbean, Middle East, Asia and the USA under consideration.
The rebranding comes as London Fine Dining completes a major recruitment drive for senior staff. Pier Paolo Saba, formerly of the Boxwood Café, Harrods and 1880 at the Bentley Kempinski hotel, has been appointed group executive chef, Jason Jones has been named finance director, while David Herbert joins as marketing and operations director.
Managing director Paul Singer said: "The coming year will be a busy one as we entrench our market position and look to acquire further distinctive restaurants in excellent locations."
Pulze founded the A-Z business in 1993 with Franco Zanellato and ex-stockbroker Giuliano Lotto. They parted company in 1998 somewhat acrimoniously after a power struggle between Pulze and Lotto.
But the story had another twist when A-Z went into administration in 2004. Pulze then teamed up with Simon Binder of Café Med and then Marlon Abela of MARC, but was outbid by his former A-Z partner, Zanellato. At the last minute he teamed up with Zanellato and an unnamed third party to buy the company for £7m.
By Kerstin Kühn
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