The AlixPartners Growth Company Index 2018, announced earlier this month, highlights the fastest growing operators in the sector but there are still a number of the brightest talents in the industry who did not make the list. Here we profile a few to watch for next year’s index.

The index tracks profit growth over three consecutive years of accounts to paint a consistent picture of who has grown at the most rapid pace over that period. There are a number of famous names that narrowly missed out on a place in the AlexPartners Growth Company Index top 50 this year. Similarly, there are some companies who have had a very busy year but who have also narrowly failed to make the index list.

Brewhouse & Kitchen

Background: Pub sector veterans Simon Bunn and Kris Gumbrell were behind one of just seven breweries registered in London when they launched their brewpub in 2012. A sign of how on-trend they were can be seen by the fact that just two years later there were 70. Now up to 18 sites, there is still no-one doing brewpubs on the scale of this business, which recently opened its first site in Wales and is eyeing a further flagship site in London. The business secured £7.7m of funding for further growth at the start of this year and appointed Andy Spencer, formerly of Greene King, as its group operations director.

What they say: Simon Bunn: “There are plenty of brewpubs around now, but a lot of that is about having a talking point rather than being serious about brewing good beer. We invest in brewers and we invest in training our staff to be knowledgeable about beer.”

Honest Burgers

Background: The Active Partners-backed business was founded in 2011 by Philip Eeles and Tom Barton, who were soon joined by Dorian Waite. The group has since grown to 25 sites and has its sights set on doubling that number by 2020. Along the journey it has strengthened its head office with the likes of former Côte MD Harald Samuelsson, and Gary Mann, ex-finance director at Gaucho and CAU. The group recently secured £17m of funding from Santander, to support the next stage of its growth.

What they say: Philip Eeles: “When the burger craze goes, if it does, those left will be the ones that focused on product. Our burgers are a bit cleaner, a bit easier to eat. We attract a larger demographic because of that.”


Background: Crowdfunding may not always be an accurate barometer of how successful a business is likely to be, but any brand that can raise £2m in less than a week deserves to be taken seriously. This is exactly what artisan café, restaurant and bar group, Grind, did last year, as well as signing a deal with SSP to open sites in transport hubs. The company was founded in 2011 by David Abrahamovitch and Kaz James in Shoreditch. It hopes to open two restaurant sites a year alongside an initial two sites with SSP, before ramping up the café/bar format side of the expansion strategy.

What they say: David Abrahamovitch: “We love the café-bar model and the chaos of it, doing 1,000 coffees a day. But finding sites that can do that level of volume in London is difficult. With that model in a train station or airport, however, you will do that all day, every day, seven days a week. So, therefore, we will have two revenue streams. We are going to take our time to find exceptional 3,000sq ft sites for the restaurant format.”

Filmore & Union

Background: The Adele Ashley-led healthy eating group has been busy, securing £3.5m investment from the Business Growth Fund, while developing its production kitchen and its evening offer. The company, which hopes to add six sites to its portfolio this year, will open a site in the John Lewis in Nottingham, following on from opening sites in the retailer’s stores in Newcastle and York.

What they say: Adele Ashley: “We are raising the bar with our food. It’s very eclectic food, with a lot of unusual ingredients, but with nice Yorkshire portions. We are using our health-influenced products, things like charcoal cod, cacao fillet steak. It’s quite different to what’s out there, even in London.”

Ivy Collection

Background: Describing the Ivy brand, or its colourful owner Richard Caring, as a “one to watch” might seem like an odd choice but there are few restaurant concepts growing at quite the pace of this business. The Ivy Market Grill opened in 2014 and the wider Ivy Collection, which also incorporates the Ivy Café format, has since grown to 20 sites, with a further nine in the immediate pipeline. These include Brighton, Winchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Dublin. The day-to-day running of the collection falls to executive operations director Yishay Malkov, former restaurant director of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s and general manager at Roka Restaurants.

What they say: Yishay Makov: “Unlike his (Caring’s) other projects, this is Richard’s. The Ivy name is associated with him more than anything else and is very dear to his heart. The level he works at here is at a chairman level, he’s not on the ground level hiring and firing, but it is his vision. It wouldn’t happen if he wasn’t saying I need this done and this done at a certain time.”