Rockpool Dining Group has been split in two with Neil Perry set to reacquire his restaurants in less than 60 days if all goes to plan.

The group released a statement today confirming the empire will be split in two: Rockpool Group and Pacific Concepts.

A spokesperson confirmed Perry is currently raising funds to buy Rockpool Group which will operate Rockpool Bar and Grill, Rosetta, Spice Temple and R Bar in Crown Melbourne along with the 11 Bridge Street site in Sydney.

Pacific Concepts will be operated by Rockpool Dining Group’s leadership team once the separation is final, with Saké Restaurant & Bar, The Cut, Bar Patrón, Fratelli Fresh, El Camino Cantina, The Bavarian, Munich Brauhaus, Beerhaüs, WingHAÜS by Bavarian and The Argyle all falling in the group’s portfolio.

The future of Burger Project is currently unknown.

Perry commented on the news to The Australian: “It’s been a little bit difficult not being my own boss,” he said. “I went down one path and now I’m lucky enough to be able to go down another. It’s time to reboot and start again.”

Rockpool Dining Group Chairman Jonathon Pearce says the separation “will enable both entities to fully focus on their own strategic and ambitious growth plans, unrestricted by the larger group”.

The relationship between Quadrant Private Equity-backed Urban Purveyor Group (UPG) and Perry lasted just over three years, with Quadrant purchasing the chef’s restaurants for a reported $65 million in late-2016.

Perry remained on board, with his title on Rockpool Dining Group’s website listed as ‘brand ambassador’, however there were alleged tensions between the chef and Rockpool Dining Group CEO Thomas Pash.

In 2018, Quadrant Chairman Chris Hadley told The Sydney Morning Herald there were “some initial creative differences” between Perry and Pash at the beginning.

While Perry said they “work together really well” in response, a former employee said the split was inevitable.

“It makes total sense – I don’t think Neil aligned with Urban Purveyor Group, and it seemed like a strange merger to begin with,” the source told Gourmet Traveller.

Rockpool Group and Pacific Concepts will operate as separate companies, but there’s no denying it’s been a big few years for the soon-to-be-defunct Rockpool Dining Group.

The group rapidly expanded to more than 70 venues under UPG and employed 3000 workers, however was hit with wage theft accusations in 2018. While Pash initially denied the group had underpaid workers, Rockpool Dining Group back paid $1.6 million to employees in the same year.

In October 2019, underpayments at Rockpool Dining Group again surfaced when Hospo Voice and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers accused the group of underpaying staff $10 million.

The group denied the allegations and said payments had been made to “current and former employees in relation to the five financial years from June 2013 to June 2017 inclusive” with the company remaining engaged with the Fair Work Ombudsman.













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