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A shared passion

A PAIR of former used car salesmen who tried their luck in the restaurant game has been responsible for some of Perth’s best-known venues.

JoJo’s, Jessica’s, Coco’s and The Surf Club Café were the result of a partnership between Ian Love and Warren Mead in the early 1980s.

The two parted ways in 1991, but not before developing a solid business relationship that relied heavily on mutual support and advice.

According to Mr Love, operator of Coco’s and The Bell House Café and owner of the Raffles Hotel, the relationship worked well.

“We knew each other from the car business days. He was keen to open a restaurant and he had targeted the Hyatt and I had targeted JoJo’s,” Mr Love said.

“We both had our own separate used car businesses and we both decided we’d open these restaurants, that was in the late ’80s.”

While the pair couldn’t be more different in personal mannerisms and style, they utilised each other’s strengths in the early days, according to founder of The Oyster Bar, Warren Mead. 

“He was organised and I was disorganised. He wore the $400 suits and I wore t-shirts and no socks. And it’s still like that but it worked really well,” Mr Mead said. 

“My expertise was service and food and he was good at knowing how much a prawn cost and all of those other things. 

“Ian is a businessman and he always has been. My passion is food.”

The pair returned briefly to their former occupation in the 1980s to capitalise on a good deal, according to Mr Love.

“We bought the Chellingworth dealership, which was the Mercedes dealership and Warren ran that,” said Mr Love, who managed the restaurants.

“Then we sold the restaurants (Jessica’s and JoJo’s) to Victoria Company; they had an interest in Burswood.”

Mr Love said the restaurants were not actively on the market but the pair received an offer too good to knock back.

“The broker told me to dream up a price. So I did, and they bought it,” he said.

When the pair split in 1991 Mr Mead retained The Surf Club and Mr Love kept Coco’s.

 

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