Business Irish

Thursday 8 December 2016

Oliver Peyton

ROISIN BURKE

Published 27/11/2011 | 05:00

FUNDED by an early career as a nightclub impresario, restaurateur and TV personality Oliver Peyton went on to build a food empire.

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He was born in 1961 in Swinford, Co Mayo, and educated at Summerhill College in Sligo where he got just one honour in his Leaving Cert, which hindered him not one bit. The Eighties found him in Britain, running a Brighton nightclub. He then opened a club called Raw on the edge of Soho in London, making his first serious money.

He also got in on the ground floor on the trend for fancy imported booze, bringing in the Kirin and Sapporo brands from Japan and snatching the first contract to import Absolut vodka from under the noses of big competitors.

The nightclub was a means to an end, he has said, and he went on to open the famous Atlantic Bar and Grill restaurant in Piccadilly in 1994. Then came Mash, an early pioneer of the posh canteen food genre, and Isola, an upmarket Italian place in Kensington. Within three years turnover across his businesses reached almost £20m.

He started Peyton and Byrne with his three sisters and won restaurant contracts in London cultural centres like the National Gallery and the Royal Academy opening tasteful high concept eateries and branching into catering.

The events-catering side, Gruppo, was sold in 2006 for £3.6m. Rapid expansion of the core business continued, with more restaurants, then cafes and high-end bakeries, and some 700 people employed.

He is chairman of Peyton and Byrne, which his sisters manage. He is a judge on the long running BBC series Great British Menu. He's married to Charlotte Polizzi, a member of the Forte hotel dynasty, with whom he has three children.

Sunday Indo Business

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