A group of entrepreneurs, including key members of the team behind the Seattle Coffee Company, is launching a chain of restaurants in the UK, specialising in South-western American cuisine.
Scott Svenson, European president of Starbucks, has invested in the new business, called Santa Fe. He is a non-executive director.
Starbucks bought the Seattle Coffee Company, which Svenson co-founded, for &£49m in March 1998.
Santa Fe is backed by a number of investors who have been brought together through Andrew Taee, chairman of Dial House Consultants, which also raised finance for Seattle.
Marc Ward, development director of Santa Fe, left his role as commercial director of Tricon Restaurants – working on Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut brands – in the UK in November 1998 to manage the new venture.
Ward, a shareholder himself, says: “The idea for Santa Fe came about from a number of people.
“Having opened one restaurant in London last week we are looking to open another by the end of the year. We would like to open 30 within the next three to five years, if everything goes according to plan.”
Executive chef Rocky Durham has been recruited from the Santa Fe School of Cooking in New Mexico, which has also made an investment in the business.
The restaurant is styled to reflect the architecture of New Mexico and also sells cookery books, spices and peppers from the Santa Fe School of Cooking.