A look into how we are supporting restaurateurs, Andrey Datsenko & Taiji Maruyama, with their restaurant expansion plans
Andrey Datsenko is a restaurateur with highly lofted ambition and seems quite comfortable with plans for culinary world domination. Since he was a young man, Andrey Datsenko always wanted to be a chef, with a dream to one day run his own chain of restaurants. However, there was a problem, and that was that Andrey was a lawyer working in investment banking, following the career path of his father. As a lawyer, he was always seeking solutions to problems, so he used this skill to turn his passion into a reality and only two years after graduating law school, he escaped corporate life, enrolling at the award winning ‘Institute of Culinary Education’ in New York and followed his dream spending the next seven years studying and working in hospitality.
In 2015 Andrey returned to London, following another dream. He grew up in Japan and had an extraordinary appreciation for the country, its culture and its cuisine and it was always an ambition that he would one day open a Japanese restaurant that was true to tradition. Having found a site, Andrey also found a new business partner, the incredibly talented Executive Chef Taiji Maruyama, ex Nobu, and the pair set about launching the new restaurant, MARU, in Mayfair, London.
The needs of the business
In the early days of the business Andrey was not happy with his accountancy support, and was overseeing the bookkeeping himself, but remembered seeing the reporting software that was in use at Zuma, which was provided by hospitality accounting specialists, Paperchase. He was very impressed with the level of detail, how far one could drill down into the management accounts, and how granular the reporting was.
With ambitions to build a restaurant group, Andrey was mindful to get his controls and reporting in place as early as possible, to set the standard for growth, so he instructed Paperchase, to handle all the accounting for the new venture, the Taka Group.
One of the deciding factors in engaging Paperchase, was the fact that the founder, Aku Patel, had decided in his early years in business to specialise only in the hospitality sector, fully immersing the business in the restaurant trade. Today the business is the primary hospitality accountancy firm in the UK, as well as globally.
From day one, for Maru, Paperchase were creating management accounts that on a weekly and monthly basis gave the owners an immediate snapshot of what is happening within the business. With an appetite to grow the business, and to develop a chain in the UK, as well as overseas development, understanding the numbers was crucial to Andrey and Taiji. With confidence high and knowing exactly where the business was in terms of its numbers, the business quickly opened restaurant number two, another Japanese concept called Taka, in Marylebone, London.
Andrey comments, “The decision to open the second site was based on the financial reporting from our first restaurant, and projections for #2 which were provided by Paperchase. This gave us the confidence we required to take that next step, as well an element of control that is crucial when scaling up. We particularly like the way Paperchase reconciles payments to suppliers, without who we would not be able to operate. We also like the way that our account managers explain every line of data in such a way that we were not only more informed, but we were able to put the data to good use in the business.”
“When COVID and ‘lockdown’ hit the hospitality industry, the team had no idea what to expect. Being a young business, the first instinct was to ensure the two existing restaurants survived. We furloughed the staff and continued to find a way to stay in business. Marylebone is a very unique area of London, and our customers are very loyal and continued to support us through the pandemic, which we were very grateful for and helped us to survive. The support we received from Paperchase during COVID, and their financial reporting gave us great insights to our financial position and allowed us to remain informed whilst making decisions that ultimately enabled us to stay in business during those troubled times. Lockdown taught me lesson operationally, and that was how to work in tough and unprecedented times.”
The business is now expanding again, and soon to join Taka and MARU, will be HACHI, a Japanese bakery concept. The location will be Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, a great location and again Paperchase have been instrumental in supporting the business with planning and financial projections.
What Paperchase is delivering
Tushar Patel, Paperchase Account Manager to Maru, Taka Marylebone and Hachi comments, “Andrey and his team are exceptional clients as they really understand the work that we do. Whilst the Taka Group initially engaged Paperchase to manage their monthly bookkeeping and reporting, now the business utilises all our integrated service offerings. When we took control of Maru, making the transition from the old accounting firm, there was a little tidying up to do, naturally. We also set up the payroll in addition to analytical support which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the costs and Tronc composition. As the business started its post-Covid restructuring Paperchase was there to help it to get back into shape and move the business forward in the new trading environment. Paperchase Business Services Ltd were also engaged to provide company secretariat support, they prepared the statutory accounts for the companies and provided tax compliance and advice on distribution mechanisms, and for the new bakery concept, Hachi, we provided the structuring advice and a business plan for the new Co.”
Now with solid financial reporting, advice, and support for his business, what ambitions does Andrey have for the business? “Growth, expansion, and diversification will be the next three phases of the plan for the business. For Taka and Hachi, the plan will be to take the business international, with New York and the Middle East being the two most likely destinations for each of the concepts. Hachi is a great concept and for that part of the business my ambition would be to sell premium Japanese bakery products through a major UK supermarket chain. By way of diversification, Andrey has ambitions to create new hospitality concepts, with perhaps an Italian or Greek theme and where choosing the very best local and seasonal produce is key to the menu, as he has done with MARU and Taka. The final act, would be to take MARU, Hachi or Taka brand and concept to Japan, where it all started.”
“With such strong international aspirations, for the business, I was recently asked ‘where would I set up my next restaurant’ Anywhere Paperchase has an office was my reply.”