Rare Restaurants to ramp up hot food delivery with virtual brands

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Martin Williams Gaucho and M Restaurants CEO delivery

Related tags Martin Williams Gaucho M Restaurants Steak Casual dining delivery meal kits

Rare Restaurants is planning to expand its hot food delivery service by increasing the reach of its existing Gaucho and M Restaurants-branded offerings as well as introducing a number of virtual brands that aren't attributed to its existing restaurants.

Meat and Bun by Gaucho - which as the name suggests majors on burgers and sandwiches - launched earlier this year and is operated from a number of Gaucho sites.

Rare Restaurants CEO Martin Williams says he will also look to build the brand by operating it from M Restaurants sites, which have comparable equipment. 

Williams is considering turning M Bar & Grill in Twickenham - which has been a tough opening for the group​- into a bar that would also act as a ghost kitchen for Gaucho and M Restaurants-branded delivery offerings as well as new street food-inspired offerings that won't be linked to either of Rare Restaurants' hero brands.

The first of these is likely to be a bao offer that would be largely based on M Restaurants' bao-focused bar menu.

"We're working on three or four more brands right now," says Williams. "You can be more playful with sub brands. And if you can get these brands right you might end up with the fun conundrum of having to find them a physical home. We have a restaurant in Amsterdam (the original Cau site), we may well put one of those offerings into that." 

For the moment Rare Restaurants. will be working with Deliveroo on an exclusive basis, and may explore moving brands into dark kitchens owned by either Deliveroo or third parties. 

Williams is adamant that neither Gaucho or M Restaurants will go down the meal kits route. 

"You're relying on the equipment in the home, the skillset of whoever is cooking it, and that's forgetting any presentation issues."

"You've got a huge challenge there in so far as what ends up on the plate. I don't think it's appropriate, there's too much risk of devaluing your brand. I always think back to PizzaExpress' decision to put its pizzas into supermarkets, which had a disastrous impact on their business." 

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