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Palace Chemicals get Spanish seal of approval in restaurant expansion

A rapidly expanding restaurant chain has more than its paying diners to thank for its success. It’s also been getting plenty of assistance from a Spanish tiler and one of the UK’s largest manufacturer of tile adhesive and grouts.

Restaurant chain Estábulo Rodizio Bar & Grill is becoming an increasingly familiar name, particularly in towns and cities across the north of England.

The eatery, which honours the traditional cooking methods of Brazilian gauchos, has restaurants in Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, Beverley, Harrogate, Barnsley, Darlington, Norwich, and York, and has been expanding further this year with venues in Newcastle, Bradford, and Manchester.

The wider business also owns three other restaurant chains – Caffé Noor, Fleur Café, and Sakku, a Japanese style restaurant and grill.

A common element to most of these establishments is the involvement of a Spanish-born tiling expert whose family has owned tile factories in the Valencia region of Spain since 1949.

Now largely based in Leeds, Jorge Ballester Gimeno’s UK company Ceramica Tiles & Bathrooms Ltd, was commissioned to fit out one of the first Estábulo restaurants a few years ago. And his craftsmanship and productivity was so highly regarded, that he has handled every new restaurant launch since then.

In two months alone, he completed work on the wall and floor tiling in the new Newcastle, Bradford, and Manchester venues – the first two are 800sq m premises, while the plush new Manchester establishment, near to The Ivy restaurant in the city centre’s trendy Spinningfields area is an impressive 1,000sq m.

All the tiles are manufactured and supplied by the Gimeno family factories in Spain, which have also supplied major customers in the UK for many years. In fact, the firm supplies more than €7m of tiles annually to the UK alone.

The other common element in Jorge’s multiple Estábulo projects is that he uses products from the same supplier – Palace Chemicals – every time, which is partly down to the exceptional relationship Jorge has with James Broadhead, national business development manager for Palace Chemicals.

‘It’s mostly about quality and price,’ says Jorge. ‘We always get a good base and a good finish with everything we use from Palace. The price is always very good, and so is the quality. And if I have a specific problem or need something delivered on a specific day of the week, James will always sort it out. Nothing is ever an issue in terms of supply and service. He really is the number one!

‘While I still run other companies in Spain, I made my base in England seven or eight years ago and have always worked with Palace throughout that time.’

On each of the new Estábulo projects, Jorge’s team has used LATICRETE UK’s 335 SUPERFLEX, a high-performance polymer fortified cementitious adhesive, which Palace are the exclusive manufacturers for in the UK. It is suitable for all types of wall and floor tile including low absorption porcelain, vitrified tiles and natural stone and perfect for use with underfloor heating or where the tiles are to be fully immersed.

For grouting, Jorge has returned to his first-choice product, Palace Colour-Lock Grout, which is suitable for wall and floor tile joints up to 20mm. Available in 12 different trend setting colours, Jorge used Raven on the three latest restaurant jobs.

Colour-Lock Grout is a fast-setting, polymer fortified, and mould resistant grout based that ensures the finished shade is consistently achieved without being affected by efflorescence or shade variation. The product, manufactured at Palace Chemicals’ plant in Speke, Liverpool, dries to a hard, durable, water-repellent, shrink resistant finish and is especially good for sanitary areas in kitchens, showers, toilets, and bathrooms, where inhibition of fungal growth is essential. This obviously makes it ideal for a restaurant environment.

‘The Palace/Laticrete products have never let me down’, adds Jorge. ‘If you can get this kind of quality at this kind of price, why would I need to look elsewhere?’

Steve Ball, commercial director of Palace Chemicals, says: “We’re delighted to be associated with such a successful and growing chain of restaurants like Estábulo and its sister brands. Palace Chemicals has always strived to manufacture the best and most sustainable range of products possible, at the best value price.

‘Receiving such a glowing testimonial from Jorge, suggests we are getting it right. Added to that, we endeavour to treat our customers as we would like to be treated ourselves and James has done a wonderful job in ensuring Jorge is never left waiting for product. In fact, even in these difficult times, we are extremely proud to say that Palace has not defaulted once. Which is key to building the kind of special relationship we have with Ceramica Tiles & Bathrooms along with many other clients.’

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