Bernard’s Surf Acquired By Luke Johnson
By McCoy Freeman Group // June 6, 2012
ABOVE VIDEO: Luke Johnson outlines some of his business philosophy to members at leading business club One Alfred Place in London – and in particular why entrepreneurs aged over 50 have a natural advantage over their younger peers. (Smartavideo)
(Images For SpaceCoastDaily.com)
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Space Coast Daily.com can exclusively reveal that a British entrepreneur has acquired the signature Cocoa Beach restaurant property Bernard’s Surf – and has pledged to restore it to its glory days as one of the top “Go To” dining venues on the Space Coast.
The multi-millionaire behind this acquisition is British businessman Luke Johnson, who has a string of successes in the UK restaurant business.
His main achievement was building the Pizza Express chain – from a starting point of just 12 premises to more than 250 restaurants in the space of just six years.
Re/Max Elite McCoy-Freeman Group Brokers Deal
Johnson’s property agents were long-time area realtors Jennifer McCoy and Bobby Freeman of Re/Max Elite.
“Yes, Luke Johnson is the buyer,” said Freeman.
“Jennifer McCoy was Johnson’s buyer’s agent and we were very happy to negotiate the purchase on Mr. Johnson’s behalf.”
Space Coast Daily can also exclusively reveal the purchase price was around $600,000.
Bernard’s Surf on A1A close to Minutemen at Cocoa Beach fell from grace after several decades as a highly popular dining venue.
Its decline followed its sale to a European group by the long-time family owners, but business suffered badly in the recession and was eventually closed.
But news of its imminent resurgence is bound to raise hopes that the tide of recesison in these parts might be turning.
Bernard’s Surf new owner Luke Johnson is chairman of the UK’s highly prestigious Royal Society of Arts. He writes regular columns for UK newspaper The Financial Times and Management Today magazine.
Interestingly, Johnson calls himself a “projector,” in line with the 17th century term for a man involved in many different businesses.
He is currently the part owner and chairman of UK’s restaurant businesses Patisserie Valerie, Giraffe Restaurants, Gail’s Artisan Bakery and Feng Sushi and is the former owner of The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheeky restaurants.
In 1993 Johnson – with partner Hugh Osmond – took control of Pizza Express, with Johnson becoming chairman. They rapidly expanded the business and took the UK share price from 40p to over 900p.
After selling the business in 1999, Johnson started Signature Restaurants, a ‘crown jewels’ collection of London restaurants, which included The Ivy and Le Caprice, as well as the Belgo chain.
He also started Strada restaurants from scratch, taking the chain to 30 units. He sold both businesses in 2005 – the total proceeds from these two disposals were in excess of £90 million.
As a result of these activities, Johnson is best known for his investments in restaurants, though he has wide portfolio of investments in other industries.
Peter Harden (of the celebrated Harden restaurant guides) stated, when commenting on the history of London restaurants, said: “There are very few people who have had more impact than Luke Johnson.”