La Barbe, the French restaurant in Surrey owned by Serge Tassi, is to be rolled out abroad, with Dubai to be the first international location. Tassi, who set up the restaurant in Reigate 25 years ago, said that he believed that the tough climate allowed small multiple operators such as him to excel. He said that he planned to embark on a period of sustained growth and was looking to expand the brand throughout Europe after launching in Dubai. The restaurateur said that he was currently in negotiations over new sites for the concept. Tassi said: “In tough times people at all ends of the social scale become more discerning and competition for 'share of wallet' generally intensifies, however this kind of climate, as we are experiencing now, can prove ideal for established, high-quality independent and small multiple operators to excel. “In the face of unprecedented levels of competition on the high street, such businesses have succeeded due to their commitment to quality, service and value for money and as such, consumers are confident of having a good experience for their pound. “Our success is proof that with the right ingredients, brand growth is not a preserve of the big city-backed operators.”

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