Me Love Sushi has opened its third restaurant in London, with plans to expand the brand with another two sites by the end of next year.
The new restaurant at Imperial Wharf is almost 6,000 sq ft in size and will also be used as a central location to prepare food for all of the Japanese restaurant group’s sites.
“This gives us the opportunity to become more efficient and keep costs down. We’ll be preparing everything we can in advance at this site, and that will reduce labour time elsewhere and also ensure high levels of consistency,” said operations director Julian Bartlett.
Specifically, most of the fish cutting will now take place at the Imperial Wharf restaurant, which means that the other sites will not need to employ skilled fish cutters. Labour time of other kitchen staff will also be reduced as preparation time will be cut.
Bartlett said this streamlining will help the business prepare for further expansion next year. By spring 2011, the group aims to have opened a fourth restaurant in central or south west London, with a fifth expected in autumn.
“If all goes well, we’ll then be looking at doubling our site openings the following year. But we’ll take each quarter as it comes.”
Business plan promotes growth
Me Love Sushi started as a takeaway sushi bar. The first casual dining restaurant opened in 2008 in Swiss Cottage, London.
According to Bartlett, the group’s approach and business plan over the past few years have ensured its success in a climate that has proved difficult for many other establishments.
“As well as our restaurant offering, we also have a takeaway and delivery service, which makes up approximately 40 per cent of our revenue. So this can offset any quiet times we have in the restaurants.”
“We’ve also benefited because we offer good value for money, we’re consistent and we offer the health aspect to food. These are our key drivers, and they are what have helped us achieve around 20 per cent year-on-year growth,” he told BigHospitatlity.
The new restaurant at Imperial Wharf gives the group access to the Chelsea and Fulham area, he said.
Other operators at Imperial Wharf include Benham & Reeves, In:Style Direct, JAB, Jury’s Inn Hotel, The Waterside bar and restaurant, Memories of India on The River, Saran Rom, Wimbledon Wine Cellar, Karen Hardy Dance Studio, Gambado and Bright Horizons.