By Angela Green, Content Executive, H&C News: Gusto Italian announces fourteenth opening in Oxford.
Gusto Italian, the premium casual dining restaurant group, has announced its fourteenth site will open in Oxford on 1st December 2022, having delivered £1.8 million-pound of investment to transform the historic Mitre Hotel building on Oxford High Street.
To celebrate the launch of Gusto Italian Oxford, Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has partnered with the restaurant group executing a true ‘Italian Job’ in the city, with the BAFTA-winning Sicilian dancer delivering Gusto Italian favourites to locals from a fleet of classic Minis last Friday bringing excitement to a fever pitch ahead of the opening of the High Street restaurant.
The 10,000 square foot restaurant and bar is set to be a pillar in the Oxford casual dining sector with the site offering 150 covers on the ground floor serving both diners and drinks guests, a 60-cover function room on the first floor which has already been inundated with requests for Christmas parties, and new design concepts which have proven to be a huge hit with existing Gusto Italian customers. The Theatre Kitchen unites the kitchen and dining area to create a truly open kitchen, giving guests the opportunity to witness Gusto Italian’s skilled chefs first-hand, while the Pizza Experience, unique to Gusto Italian, provides two and a half hours of feasting and entertainment at the Chef’s Table.
Not only impressive for its size and dining innovation, but the restored Mitre Hotel is also visually stunning, uniting Gusto Italian’s iconic design with striking period features, preserved in the grade II listed building. The preservation of this renowned building has been paramount to Gusto Italian, who worked closely with historic contractors and local specialists throughout the redevelopment.
Matt Snell, CEO of Gusto Italian, further commented: “I’m over the moon to be opening this amazing restaurant. It has been a labour of love, and from the outset, we have taken our responsibility as custodians of this historic building seriously and placed significant weight on preserving the listed features, while introducing design elements that have made Gusto Italian so popular. The result, however, has exceeded my expectations. This stunning building combines tradition and modernity, testament to the incredible work that the design, construction and restoration teams have invested in this project. I’m very excited for the people of Oxford to visit the new restaurant and I hope Gusto Italian will be the go-to venue for special occasions in the city for years to come.”
The Oxford site opening represents a significant step in Gusto Italian’s two-year growth strategy, as the company looks to expand its footprint and make substantial upgrades to its core estate having already redeveloped Edinburgh and Alderley Edge locations this year, as part of a self-funded £2m CAPEX programme. Fresh from winning the Italian Restaurant Award at the PAPA Industry awards, forecast for further growth looks bright as recent customer feedback data illustrates the Gusto Italian model is hugely popular with consumers. Scores have reached record levels, the first-class experience reflected in an average Net Promoter Score in the high 80s, compared to an industry average of 55, and an average amongst the other leading casual dining operators in the high 60s.
In addition to investing in its restaurants, Gusto Italian has also been investing in the people who work there. In April, the company announced a new partnership with PayCaptain, which strengthened its employee proposition and pushed financial awareness and wellbeing up the agenda for its people, while it has also launched an apprenticeship scheme, which will enable Junior Managers to achieve a degree-level qualification, bridging the skills gap and improving pathways for progression within the business.
Founded in Cheshire in 2005, Gusto Italian has almost 600 employees, known as family members, across 14 restaurants.