Following the successful launch of Giant Robot in May on the site of the group’s former Match EC1 Bar in Clerkenwell, Downey hopes to acquire ‘failed or existing’ businesses to expand the brand into a number of Tiny Robots, Giant Robots and Robot Cafes.
He told BigHospitality the group were already looking at sites in Spitalfields, London Fields, Westbourne Grove and Dalston.
“We think we can roll out very quickly with some cheap and dirty takeovers of failed or existing businesses,” he said. “While we’ll remain based in East London we’re going where ever there’s a great deal. We’re looking to take over existing businesses with a lot of stuff in there we can reuse. Part of Giant Robot’s brand value is that we reuse things - everything in the place is pretty much second hand.
“We spent £80k on refurbishing Match EC1 and I reckon we’ll make back our investment in four months,” he added.
“One of the reasons we’ve developed Giant Robot in the way we have is that it’s a low cost and rapid expansion. We’re now active on four sites, which we’re hoping to open by the end of the year.”
Giant Robot, which Downey says has quadrupled the sales of Match EC1 since its opening, serves an Italian-American menu with dishes such as Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salt Beef with Beetroot, Horseradish, Poached Egg and Pancetta, and Giant Prawns with Garlic, Chilli and Oregano.
Sosho and The East Room
The Match Bar Group also operates Milk & Honey, The Player, Trailer Happiness and Harlem and the two Match Bars in London. Its Shoreditch bar/restaurant and private members' club Sosho and the East Room have remained closed after the businesses were completely gutted by fire in March. A replacement East Room is set to open in Shoreditch in September although Downey admits it 'won't be quite the same.'