The Iguanas story began in 1991…
When we started this business back in 1991, we wanted to create something special, a restaurant brand that made people feel good about themselves and feel good about life in general. Las Iguanas was born! Still to this day our Head Office is based in Bristol where it all began, and the family feel remains.
We have always strived to hire the best, and that’s where you come in! Encouraging and supporting each member of our team to be the best they can be, recognising them for each of their achievements and rewarding them for each of their successes is how we believe we’ve accomplished so much – we won’t be changing this winning formula anytime soon.
Our relentless enthusiasm to continuously improve everything we do has helped us to achieve our original goal – To be the definitive Latin American Restaurant experience! Now, we’re lucky enough to have nearly 60 beautiful restaurants which allow us to spread our love for Living the Latin Life up and down the country, but we aren’t stopping there…
“You are what you make… and here at Las Iguanas we make from scratch! Over 30 different spicy and sweet sauces and salsas are prepared daily in our restaurants and we are proud to say that over 80% of our Menu is made from scratch.
When it comes to crafting our sensual and delicious dishes, we start from the very beginning with the finest ingredients. Our talented chefs then work their magic to produce our fantastic and diverse menu, brimming with dishes inspired from Brazil and beyond. Such a varied menu that features traditional and authentic Brazilian dishes is rare in this industry; however, our chefs get the chance to cook them every single day.
We also use our very own Cachaça, sourced from the mountains near Rio to create our most famous Brazilian Cocktail – the Caipirinha! Our Magnifica Cachaça is harvested from our sugar cane crops in Rio de Janeiro by our Master Cachaça maker Joao Luiz. It is then distilled, bottled and shipped here to the UK.
We are proud to say that every single one of our restaurants are rated 4-stars or above on Trip Advisor! An achievement that we know is down to the fantastic food, drink and exceptional service we provide all of our guests.”
Here’s a word from Glenn, our Head of Food Development:
“If you’re passionate about authentic food and fresh ingredients, working for Las Iguanas is a fantastic way to develop your experience and skills in these areas, regardless of what level of chef you are. Experienced chefs will appreciate the quality of food we use, as well as the kitchen itself. As a first kitchen job, Las Iguanas is the perfect springboard for a successful career in the kitchen. The standard and variety of dishes on offer means that you’ll have the opportunity to develop your abilities in all areas, from creating sauces from scratch to creating and serving your own dishes by competing in our Back of House Challenge!”
Aged 13, I wanted to be a chef and was lucky to get a place at Birmingham College of Food when I left school. My career then took me around the world, first with Disney in the States and then with Cunard, working on the QEII as Captain’s Waiter. I came back to the UK and worked for several well-known brands before being lured to join Las Iguanas in 2004 as Operations Director. Las Iguanas is a really unique business and that’s what attracted me. It’s a vibrant concept full of exceptional people and as a team we are all protective of the company values; fresh food, fun times and real hospitality. I’ve seen the business grow from 6 restaurants to the national chain it is today without losing those ideals and am proud to now be in the hot seat having become MD in 2014.
Las Iguanas continues to thrive and grow with new openings planned over the next couple of years, both at home and abroad, taking our own twist on South American culture far and wide and offering exciting opportunities for everyone in the business to develop and grow as we do. People are at the heart of everything we do and are what makes Las Iguanas the special brand it is today.
“I originally heard about Las Iguanas from going to the VIP opening night at Cheshire Oaks, I’d worked in hospitality before but I’d never experienced a restaurant so vibrant or so attentive to their guests and employees. When I was at university 2 years later I joined as a host and was quickly promoted to supervisor, then new site trainer. Plus, I’ve always wanted to work on the bar so I told my manager and now I’m training to be a bartender too! Management at Las Iguanas are open to ideas from all of the team, and have always encouraged me to get involved with new opportunities and challenges which has helped me both professionally and personally. On top of that, I’ve also won a load of incentives and competitions since I joined, including the Social Media Christmas Coordinator competition with a £500 prize and an invite to the yearly awards ceremony!”
“I started with Las Iguanas Leeds as a bartender when I was at university, then stayed on full time on the floor after I graduated. Shortly after that I became a floor supervisor before starting my management training. It was around this time that I had some good mystery diner scores and won a trip to Rio! Since then I’ve progressed through the company to General Manager and this year I’ve opened two new restaurants. Las Iguanas offer you lots of opportunities, particularly if you want to move around and progress. As well as all the room for development there are loads of reasons I’ve stayed with the company for so long but mostly the team. Every single Las Iguanas I’ve worked in has had the same fun family culture. On top of that, I always loved all of the rewards and prizes when I was a team member and now I’m a manager it’s great to be able to incentivise my team with the same thing!”
“Well, what have I not done?! I started with Las Iguanas as a host and social media coordinator in 2013. Even though I was new I was given the opportunity to come up with my own ideas for events and promotions, before too long I was recommended to head office for a similar role there. Whatever you do here though it’s always loads of fun, and the company are really accommodating of your work preferences. For me, Las Iguanas is a home from home and I’ve got the team to thank for that. The people really make the culture of Las Iguanas, we work hard and play harder! My favourite things about working here (other than the people, obviously) are the food and restaurant discount, and the variety of incentives available – I’ve won a few things since I joined Las Iguanas but the most valuable thing has been the development and progression I’ve achieved in three years!”
“I joined Las Iguanas as a Junior Sous chef in 2008 and by 2010, after lots of opportunities and rewarding challenges, I was a Head Chef! I’ve worked in almost every site in London including opening Wembley and working Stratford during the 2012 Olympics. I’m now a chef buddy so I help to train and develop other chefs in my area, as a result I’ve been lucky enough to meet lots of amazing members of the Las Iguanas family and I’m proud to work for the company. I can’t name my favourite thing about working for Las Iguanas but of course the food is amazing, it’s different to other brands in that it’s almost all fresh and there’s so much variety. Also, the people – I feel huge pride in my team and I wouldn’t change them at all! Finally, the rewards and incentives available are amazing – I’ve won numerous weekend sales incentives, length of service rewards and been runner up in the Back of House challenge twice.”
“I joined Las Iguanas in 2013 when I was a student, then stayed on as a Bartender after I graduated. I’ve found that you get as much out of the company as you put in so I worked hard and progressed quickly to bar supervisor, then to master bartender, then bar trainer and now I’m about to move sites as an Assistant Manager. In that time, I’ve participated in some of the competitions Las Iguanas hold, had a couple of drinks on the menu and won a trip to Ibiza! I’ve worked in a few different sites since I’ve been here and one thing that all sites have in common is the amazing atmosphere and team spirit. Everyone gets on well and communicates with each other, including with head office – it really feels like an independent company!”
Recognising our Achievements
We strive to be the very best in everything we do, whether that’s our food, our drinks or our service. We have had some great accomplishments over the last 25 years and are proud to have received some amazing awards. One award that is close to our hearts is our Investors in People Champion status, this is a testament to our focus on our people and what makes us a great place to work.
Don’t just take our word for it, see below some of the extracts from our Investors in People Champion report: