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Future of Hospitality with Jason Atherton

29th April 2021
Islay Robinson GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

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GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

Jason Atherton's flagship restaurant ‘Pollen Street Social’ opened in April 2011 in Mayfair and was awarded a Michelin star within just six months of opening, alongside 5 AA Rosettes and no.3 in The Good Food Guide’s best UK restaurants.

Since then, Jason’s ‘The Social Company’ has grown into a globally renowned restaurant group, with a portfolio of restaurants which include the Michelin-starred City Social, as well as Social Eating House, Little Social, The Betterment and Berners Tavern – named ‘the defining restaurant of the decade’,

Alongside his London restaurants, Jason has also opened critically-acclaimed restaurants in Shanghai, Dubai, St Moritz and his Michelin-starred restaurant, The Clocktower, in New York.

1. How has the pandemic affected the growth of The Social Company?

The pandemic has impacted practically every industry in every corner of the world and it has been incredibly difficult to close my restaurants and watch as the industry has been devastated. Although the hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic, it also gave us the opportunity to evolve and work in a way that we never thought before - by creating, for example, new offers such as my Jason at Home delivery boxes in collaboration with Lake District Farmers.

2. How do you think the future of the hospitality industry looks like?

I remain really hopeful & positive about the future of the hospitality industry. I’m so grateful to see how people have been so supportive over the last few years and how they still are with the opening of our outdoor sittings. They are falling back in love again with quality/local food and are looking forward to spending quality time with their loved ones over a good meal or drink. 

Jason Atherton

John Carrey Photography

3. Could you tell us a bit more about your upcoming restaurant openings?

We’ve just launched two restaurants, both open for alfresco all-day dining & drinking - ‘Little Social’, a bistro-style and bar wine restaurant located in the heart of Mayfair and ‘Café Biltmore Restaurant & Terrace’, my brand-new addition to the ‘Biltmore Hotel’ in Grosvenor Square, in London.

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I’m also super excited to open a brand-new restaurant ‘Harrods Social’, located at Harrods, London on May 17th as well as my new restaurant overseas, ‘Mykonos Social’ a bespoke, all-day dining destination, nestled in Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort in Mykonos, Greece, on June 16th.

And finally, I’m looking forward to May 18th for the reopening of Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House, The Blind Pig bar, City Social and Berners Tavern. The Betterment, located at The ‘Biltmore Hotel’, will open its doors in September – my teams and I worked so hard over the past few months, so it is great to finally see all my restaurants up and ready to be running very soon. 

4. What made you choose these particular locations for your new restaurants?​​ 

I always open restaurants in place that I love and as a chef, the provenance and quality of my ingredients has always been incredibly important to create dishes. So when Harrods and Santa Marina teams called me to discuss those partnerships, it was a natural fit to accept: Harrods has a stunning fresh market hall showcasing premium seasonal and delicious produce and Mykonos offers an incredibly rich and diverse array of food. I’m super excited and can’t wait to open Harrods Social and Mykonos Social.

Jason Atherton

5. How would you summarise the hospitality real estate market now, and what trends are you seeing emerge?

London is full of some great talents that are looking forward to opening new restaurants with new creative concepts - the market is constantly evolving.

It’s already a trend but one I think will continue to get bigger is that people want more than just a good meal when they go out. It is not just about the food, it is an all experience from the moment you walked into our door up until the very end when you leave the restaurant, and that is what we offer in our restaurants.

Jason Atherton

John Carrey Photography

I think the second trend is linked to the impact of the pandemic on our lives - people are now way more conscious of how they spend their free time, money and they want to eat local and seasonal products – people are now looking for casual restaurants offering high-end/quality products at affordable prices.

6. What is your takeaway from 2020 both professionally and personally?

Professionally: The world’s changed with the pandemic, just as the way we work and manage our restaurants. We worked hard and learnt a lot since the first lockdown - nothing should be taken for granted and we must continue to push ourselves, be creative and work hard to guarantee the future of our business.

Personally: Pre-pandemic, I was working a lot and didn't have much free time - those lockdowns make me realize that I had to spend much more time with my family. Although I am working even harder to reopen my restaurants, I am now dedicating more time to be with my wife Irha and my daughters – it’s so important. 

7. And finally, what are your personal property aspirations?

In the next few years, my wife Irha and I would love to sell our house and invest in a smaller apartment in Mayfair as well as a beautiful house in the South of France, where we can spend our old days together.  

Jason Atherton

For more information, visit www.jasonatherton.co.uk

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