Rockfish, the seafood restaurant group founded by Mitch Tonks, has appointed the former managing director of London-based Burger & Lobster to oversee an expansion plan which will grow the business to 16 sites on the south coast of England.
Dave Strauss will join the company as restaurant director next month and work with operations director Mat Prowse to open Exeter in March, the first of three new units in 2019. He will also oversee the openings that follow, beginning with Poole later this year.
Rockfish currently operates five well-established coastal sites in the South West plus the Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth. As well as the 2019 openings, a number of suitable locations have already been identified along the south coast that will see the business move towards its target of opening 16 units over the next four years.
Dave comments: “Rockfish is a rare thing – something that is expanding while maintaining standards and ethics and with an excellent reputation among the foodie community across the country. I’m excited to get started and start to help build a business on the south coast, where I grew up and where I now live again.”
Mitch Tonks, whose aim is to change the way people experience seafood in the UK, adds: “I’m thrilled that Dave is joining. Rockfish has been a great employer for the people on the south coast since we first opened, and from time to time has also attracted some fantastic people from the London restaurant scene who wanted to be part of something special and have a different way of life. To have someone of Dave’s calibre really reinforces what a special business it is and how much scope we believe it has.”
The expansion is being fuelled in part by a recent investment from asset management firm Gresham House Ventures. The amount invested has not been disclosed, however, in the past it has been known to put forward equity of up to £5m in growth businesses.