February 26, 2021

Who is behind Dani García’s restaurants | Fortune


Dani García will open next spring his fourth restaurant in Madrid. It will be located in the renovated Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid, which will host the Leña Steakhouse, the concept that the Malaga chef developed in Marbella to replace the Dani García restaurant, with which he obtained three Michelin stars and which closed at 22 days to get the recognition of the French guide. In Madrid it has three other stores: Bibo, Lobito de Mar, and the brasserie Dani, at the Four Seasons Hotel, which opened last September.

But behind the famous chef and the Dani García Group, which employs 600 people and had a turnover of 22 million in 2019, there are two other partners, the Gutiérrez brothers, Laura and Javier. The latter, trained in Business Administration in Los Angeles, was the founder in 2008 of the Volapié tavern chain, which in 2015, and with 40 stores spread throughout Spain, sold to the investment fund Nazca capital. A year earlier, this 42-year-old businessman, of Valencian origin, but based in Marbella, had started his love affair with the famous chef

“I met Dani in Calima, one of his restaurants, and he wanted me to make some tapas for Volapié, but he told me that he was focused on moving the Melià Don Pepe restaurant to the Puente Romano hotel, and he told me if I wanted to participate in the project ”, recalls Javier Gutiérrez, in a telephone conversation with Five days. The moment was relevant across the board, as she was expecting her first child, and after a night of reflection agreed to partner with the cook. “We weren’t friends, we hardly knew each other, but he needed someone to help him run his business. There are managers who are not owners and do not know the business. It was not my case, that although I did something more casual, lower ticket, but I knew what this restaurant was about ”.

Javier Gutiérrez, CEO of the Dani García Group.
Javier Gutiérrez, CEO of the Dani García Group.

Once associated, Gutiérrez asked the chef the million dollar question: what was his dream? And it was none other than to achieve the third Michelin star and the next day to close the restaurant. He got it on a rainy night in Lisbon and it took a few days to announce the closure, which cost him, as a great disappointment, the withdrawal of his mother’s word. From that moment, he began to shoot a machinery It was already beginning to be greased, and in 2019 it opened Lobito de Mar in Madrid, a concept of seafood cuisine released in Marbella in 2017. De Bibo, in addition to the capital, has stores in Marbella, Tarifa and Doha.

The group has a catering service, which operates throughout the national and international territory, in addition to a startup, that he has set up with the venture capital fund KFund, to manage the food delivery brand, La Gran Familia Mediterránea. In 2021, the group plans to bill 40 million euros and continue its international expansion with openings in London, Paris, New York and Miami, among other cities, through a strategic alliance with SBE of the Accor group. “The goal is to grow and bring different kitchen concepts to many places. For now, we see that the Marbella openings are working well in Madrid and we are going to replicate them. We test it with clients who spend the summer in Marbella ”, explains Gutiérrez.

After the agreement with Four Seasons, “a relationship that will take us to other cities in the world”, the alliance with the Hesperia hotel group is now added to host the Steakhouse Firewood, via a rental contract, in the same space occupied by the Santceloni restaurant, with two Michelin stars, run by the chef Óscar Velasco. “With the successful relocation of this restaurant to another site in the hotel, this space was left free and we believe it is an opportunity for us,” adds the CEO of the group, in charge of coordinating the strategy and the relationship with investors, while his sister Laura deals with the development and opening of stores, and Dani García with the design of the letters of the different concepts, which are developed in a atelier in Marbella.

On the future of gastronomy, he points out that the “fine dining something worse than other kitchen models is going to happen ”, he assures that every day openings offers are rained on them,“ but we reject 95% ”, that the Covid has amortized it,“ we will end the year with positive ebidta ”, and that they have ambition to follow expanding the name of Dani García around the world. “We only accept what excites us, for this we have to like the city, as well as the operator, and above all that the location is new.”

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