Leadership Team

Robert Ancill – CEO & Managing Partner

Robert Ancill is Joint CEO of Heritage Restaurant Consultants and The Next Idea Group. Widely considered a restaurant authority regarding new concepts and trends, franchising, and restaurant / Food and beverage architectural design.

Based in Los Angeles, Robert has overseen the launch of over 89 new brands and 800 restaurant or café openings or remodels. He has worked or consulted with clients in over 24 countries, including but not limited to: USA, UK, Kuwait, Dubai/Abu Dhabi (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Malaysia, France, Qatar, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Pakistan.

In 2002 Robert founded The Next Idea, a high energy, innovative international restaurant consulting agency that simply provides – The Next Idea. The agency specialized in new restaurant concept development, re-positioning, cost efficiency/turnarounds, restaurant franchising, strategy and international growth. In 2024 The Next Idea became Heritage Restaurant Consultants.

Never wavering from The Next Idea’s core values of Creativity, Excellence, Client Service, and Integrity, Robert built The Next Idea from a one-client agency to an acclaimed international boutique consulting group with a broad range of small, medium, and large clients, and an enviable project portfolio. In 2015, as a result of its broad success with interior design and architecture, The Next Idea launched its design and architecture agency, TNI Group. Robert is CEO of TNI Group, and remains joint CEO of Heritage Restaurant Consultants.

Robert is also active in the Non Profit world, supporting many good causes including, anti-slavery, cure and support for autism and child education in underdeveloped countries.

In his spare time Robert is an amateur photographer, whose work has been featured in a number of magazines and websites, and can be found at:

Robert authored a book called Post COVID-19 Reboot (launched April 2020). The book was a forecast and guide to opening restaurants, bars and hospitality businesses after the Quarantine period was lifted.

Agostino DiGiacomo Joint CEO

Agostino DiGiacomo is an authority in brand development, explicitly developing brand equity by implementing a measured and disciplined procedural structure that he has developed over 30+ years. His expertise includes operations, concept and menu development, marketing, purchasing, human resources, training, accounting, extensive venue management, concessions, catering, responsible alcohol service, forensic cost analysis, and large-scale food production.

He was recognized as an exemplary " industry worker" "by his peers, and he left a legacy in the Salt Lake market for over a decade-plus before moving on to consulting. He has worked with Billboard's hottest artists and Olympic Stars and has catered high-profile events, including a private celebration for The Walt Disney Company. Augie's culinary ventures have run the gamut, building and laboring over countless endeavors, from startup fast casuals and high-volume bars to small, intimate venues for select VIPs. He also managed food service at some of Utah's more prominent venues, including Ogden's Ben Lomond Hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to servicing VIP clients, Augie has extensive customer service and management experience. He has developed concessions concepts for large-volume arenas and amphitheaters, overseeing a staff of 400 that can accommodate up to twenty thousand customers per night. Recently, Augie has been consulting for Five Star Foodservice in Chattanooga, TN. He has successfully navigated a turn-around of their food production facility to a $3M profit center.

His protégés have gone on to become General Managers, Food and Beverage Directors, and owners of their own successful outlets. Their success and the support of his wonderful family, have empowered Augie to take on the role he was meant to play: advising families and entrepreneurs who find themselves navigating treacherous culinary waters. He provides his clients with resources and support to compete with any player in the market.

Additionally, Augie has served on the Utah DABC's advisory board. He is currently a member of the National Restaurant Association, National Association of Concessionaires, National Association for Catering and Events, International Association of Venue Managers, Association of Luxury Suite Directors, and the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management.

Mercedes Chiprut – Partner & Chief Operating Officer

Mercedes career spans over 18 years in the Restaurant, Retail & Leisure Industries, with a focus in restaurant/cafe operations and training.

Mercedes has managed over 60 restaurant/café openings in the UK & the US.

Mercedes is responsible for all The Next Idea operations and training activities, and has consulted with a range of food service operators; including Virgin Trains, Panera Bread, and Albert Roux Cafes.