‘I bought a restaurant by accident – then opened a dozen!’

editorial image
Promoted by Ernest Wilson

He goes by a single name, and is fairly single-minded when it comes to following his business passions. A Harrogate man – who is stepping back after running his own award-winning venues – offers his tips on how to make one of the most common entrepreneur dreams come true

An award-winning restaurateur is urging other people to join the ‘wonderful’ industry he has worked in for decades.

Ardi, the owner of Vivido, in Harrogate, and Divino, in Leeds, said he would ‘do it all again’ if given the chance.

“I am absolutely over the moon with the industry,” he said.

“It is a tough industry but there is nothing like the feeling when a night goes wonderfully and people are enjoying themselves and you can see them chatting, smiling and having a great time.

“I love to see our customers enjoying themselves and having a good time. That genuinely gives me an unbelievable satisfaction.”

Ardi originally got into the business ‘by accident’ after buying a large property which included a restaurant.

“I was thinking about buying a property and they had the whole thing for sale,” he said.

“That was many decades ago, when you are young you are passionate and you want to try things.

“I have always been passionate about anything to do with wining and dining but the actual industry was unknown to me.”

Ardi decided to ‘just go for it’ and has gone on to own close to a dozen restaurants.

“Since then I have had several restaurants and I am very pleased to say that they have all been award-winning, very successful restaurants,” he said.

For the last 10 years, Ardi has owned Vivido and Divino.
Between them the restaurants have won a host of awards, including Best Italian Restaurant in the Oliver Awards and Best Mediterranean Restaurant two years running.

“I am very proud of my achievements,” said Ardi.

“Strangely enough I have spent many years at university getting a degree, a masters, a PHD but I seem to be more proud of the awards I have received for the restaurants.”

However, ill health has led Ardi to put both Divino and Vivido on the market with premier business agent Ernest Wilson.

“I have enjoyed every bit of it but there comes a time when you have got to be sensible,” he said.

“Now is the time to pass it on to someone who can take the restaurants to new heights.”

He urged anyone who was thinking of buying a restaurant to take a leap of faith.

“I am not a born and bred restaurateur, I was more of an academic.

“I know this sounds like a cliché but it is so true, you can achieve anything you want if you are passionate.

“If you put hard work in and if you put your mind to it there absolutely nothing you can’t achieve.”

Despite his success, he said anyone could replicate his results.

“There’s no secret formula, it all comes from passion, hard work and imagination. All of that makes it achievable.

“I would recommend this industry to anybody because it is very satisfying, it is a wonderful industry to be in.

“You get to meet people from different backgrounds and it is great to see people enjoying themselves. It is very rewarding, not just emotionally and mentally but financially as well.”

Ardi says he could have easily carried on in the petro-chemical industry for which he trained but restaurants became his passion.

“Don’t get me wrong, it is not all wonderful, some nights it gets frustrating.

“Some days it is hard but you know what, the day after you start on a clean slate and it becomes a completely different, wonderful night where everyone is happy.

“I must say I am going to miss all that.”

Both Italian restaurants are established businesses, led by experienced managers, with high-quality service and stunning interiors.

Vivido is in Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, enjoying a central location, close to the Conference Centre.

Divino is in Otley Road in the desirable Leeds suburb of Adel.

Want to make your restaurant dream come true? Both properties are being marketed by Ernest Wilson, the leading agent for businesses for sale in the UK.

For more information visit www.ernest-wilson.co.uk or call 0113 238 2900.