Tampopo co-founder Nick Jeffrey has revealed to BigHospitality that he hopes to expand to 25-30 sites across the country over the next few years, with a majority of those in the South East of England.
“London was always in our long-term plans”, said Jeffrey. “The new site is just the beginning. We are aiming to get to 25-30 units over the next few years - within five years will be manageable.
“During 2012 we are looking for resourced funding for more accelerated growth, but right now we just want to continue to focus on driving forward our other locations.”
The new restaurant
The new site under the East Street brand is the seventh in Jeffrey and fellow co-founder David Fox’s portfolio. It is located in Rathbone Place near Oxford Street and will open on the week commencing 5 December.
Offering 100 covers, the 3,500 sq.ft site will have the same food and pricing as Tampopo restaurants. While full-service eating will be at the core of the restaurant, it will also introduce a grab-and-go concept similar to that of Pret a Manger and Yo Sushi.
“Design-wise, it’s a major departure from Tampopo,” explained Jeffrey. “It doesn’t really look or feel anything like our other restaurants. There’s more of a ‘raw’ feel to it, more colourful, reflecting the East Asian street market feel.
“We hope that the new grab-and-go offering will allow us to potentially create a sub-branded operation, so we could create outlets that only offer takeaway food.”
Head chef at the new restaurant will be current Tampopo employee Tam Tadesse, while the general manager and seven other members of staff will also come directly from other restaurants under the brand.
Tampopo currently has sites in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Reading. As for venturing into central London, Jeffrey believes it is an essential location for any growing restaurant brand.
“London seems to have its own economic projector which is different to the rest of the country. Any operator that is not capitalising on that right now is probably losing out. From an operational point of view, clustering in the North West has been very helpful to us, but London allows us to open a lot of sites and then get the benefit of brand equity.”
Whether or not future sites under the portfolio will fall under the Tampopo, East Street, or perhaps new brands, only time will tell. For Jeffery, it will be a case of 'weighing up which of the brand packages feels more suitable.'