Strada - More London

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Sunday 15 January 2006 10.37pm
I visited the new branch of Strada at More London after work on Thursday and had a fantastic meal there. The views are INCREDIBLE and far better than ANY of the Conran restaurants at Butlers Wharf. You'll also end up spending a hell of a lot less here too. Get down there quick and check it out! (No connection at all..obviously!)
Monday 16 January 2006 3.18pm
Knowing that Pizza Express , Ask and Zizzi (the latter of which is, in my opinion, a truly awful addition to Shad Thames) are all owned by the same company, it's nice to have a real alternative, with generously sized pizzas. It's owned by Luke Johnson, who used to own Pizza Express ...

- and the views are awesome!

- go after 3pm on weekends, it's really quite relaxed, and the staff were v attentive.

- I have no connection either!
Monday 16 January 2006 5.16pm
I thought that can't be right - but it's true. Gondola Holdings do own Pizza Express , Ask and Zizzi.

Looks like Conran and Gondola have Shad Thames stitched-up.

Different trading names masquerading as choice and variety...
Monday 16 January 2006 7.25pm
I don't understand - you're saying that if it wasn't owned by Gondola, there would be choice and variety, but because it is, there isn't?

Surely either way the restaurant would be the same?


Monday 16 January 2006 8.05pm
I think (and do please correct me if I'm wrong Jonathan) the point is that there isn't necessarily the same kind of effective competition between restaurants which are owned by the same group. By effective competition, I mean the kind that benefits you and me.

If two restaurants are properly competing with each other for the biggest share of customers it can get in the local area - you tend to see lower prices, more innovative offers / menus, more variety - assuming that is what the consumer wants, of course.

If a majority of restaurants in a small area are owned by the same group, there may be less incentive for them to compete properly against each other and less resulting benefit to those of us who want to eat there.
Monday 16 January 2006 9.49pm
Yes Loafer, I do mean that. Siduhe's explanation of how the consumer loses out when there is lack of competition sums it up well.

I doubt if they were owned by different people/organisations there would even be three large pizza places cheek by jowl in that location. Gondola may well have a strategic reason to do this in Shad Thames. It wouldn't be beyond reason if they realised that they couldn't open another Ask or Pizza Express when the Zizzi premises became availble as that would look stupid, so they put another of their brands in to protect their exisitng business interest in the area.
Tuesday 17 January 2006 8.58am
I get the theory, but it is slightly undermined by the enthusiastic reviews which started the thread.

(tongue slightly in cheek):

I'm a great fan of Tas, but I guess they are in danger of becoming a chain too - at what point should I be getting worried?


Tuesday 17 January 2006 9.08am
I think that even 2 neighbouring places under common ownership would be competing. To the avge person running/working in a restaurant, they don't really care which holding co. owns them.

From the holding co's point of view, there is only a limited amount of time that you can have 2 restaurants side by side and not have them performing to the same level as the rest of your sites.

From the manager/waiter's point of view, they don't care who owns the co. They are much more likely to be focused on their own wages, which, in these industries, are significantly influenced by volume-related bonuses.

I dislike the "selection" of places to eat by Shad Thames. But my main reason is because they are all identical chain places. It doesn't really matter to me that they're all part of the same group. If they were all owned by the same group and were lovely, then that would be great by me.

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 17 January 2006 11.36pm
I ate at Strada about a week ago.

Food was great, but the service was terrible. After assorted arm waving I managed to get a desert menu, but they didn't bother coming back to see if I wanted anything. More (failed) arm waving to try and get the bill. Got that eventually but noone wanted to collect my cash. So next step was to put my coat on - no hint received then. So I ended up having to get up and go and find someone to pay. They looked surprised (rather than embarrassed) that I was having to do this.

A group sat next to me, who arrived at about the same time, were equally ignored - waited over 30 minutes for their starters - and commented about the service. By the time I managed to pay and leave they hadn't got their main courses.

During all of this one couple who were obviously friends with the staff were having attention lavished on them, bantering between each other and having things brought to and from their table every five minutes.

It was this that made it clear that the staff weren't so much incompetent, more that they were choosy about who they'd spend their time on - at least on the night I went. It was about 80% empty by the way.
Wednesday 18 January 2006 12.12am
"arm waving", in the style of the late Her Majesty the Queen Mother often brings the desired effect ... so I'm told.
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