Some people have a problem with the question that is so often asked upon entering a restaurant. It is regularly reserved for sites that sit at the high end of the scale, but “would you like to have a drink at the bar?” can cause a cautious reaction to what is potentially perceived as up-selling. Not me. I love it. If a restaurant operation can complement what it does with a bar area that can accommodate guests before or after a meal – or even for those without any intention to sit and eat at all – then that is my kind of place, and I will happily indulge in a beer, wine or cocktail before settling down for some food.
James Spragg has led some of the most renowned casual dining brands in the country. As Bella Italia goes from strength to strength, we chat to him about evolution, market conditions and much, much more.