Neil Perry's Rockpool Group has sold to Urban Purveyor Group (UPG) to create a new hospitality company: The Rockpool Dining Company.
The sale includes Perry's three Rockpool Bar & Grills, two Spice Temples, Rosetta and fast-food chain Burger Project. The restaurants will join a stable with UPG's existing restaurants such as Fratelli Fresh, Sake Restaurant and Bar and Bavarian Bier Cafe.
The merger does not include Perry's newest fine-diner, Eleven Bridge in Sydney.
Perry's new role with Rockpool Dining Company will be Head of Culinary and he will also take equity. UPG's CEO Thomas Pash will continue in that role as head of the new group. Together the pair will oversee 47 venues and 15 dining brands, which altogether employ close to 3000 workers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth.
Perry's business partner Trish Richards is also joining the group’s finance team.
"We're working very much as a team," Perry tells Broadsheet of how he and Pash will work together. "Trish and I have shared the creative and financial roles at Rockpool, and I see Tom and I sharing that as well.
"I think Tom will be driving the business as he always has. He has incredible smarts about the restaurant industry and business in general and hopefully I'll be a very trusted advisor and a very important part of the team on all things culinary and conceptual and particularly building a story with our staff."
There are already numerous projects in the pipeline that will take the group's total number of venues to 80 over the next year, which Pash and Perry hope will include new fine-dining restaurants in Europe and America.
Pash says the group has already enlisted a consulting firm to look into opening its first venues overseas, with London and Los Angeles tapped as the likely locations. Perry says he's wanted to open a restaurant in London for a long time.
As for Australia, there are plans for a new Rosetta at Grosvenor Place in Sydney, more than 20 new Burger Projects and a Rockpool in Brisbane.
"We've got an amazing site selected for Rockpool in Brisbane," Pash says, which will open late next year.
There are also plans for a smaller-format Spice Temple and a Rockpool Bar Series to rollout over the next 12 months.
"It's been very long and protracted," Perry says during a joint interview with Pash. "It's more relief, Tom, than anything, isn't it?" he says, laughing. "It's been long, but really worth it. We've got to the end result and we're excited. We've got Christmas coming, we're doing lots of really interesting things next year.
"You won't see either he or I sitting still for very long."