Le Bistrot Pierre reveals five target cities as it prepares to open 10th restaurant in Plymouth

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Le bistrot pierre, Types of restaurants, Plymouth

Le Bistrot Pierre is set to open its tenth restaurant in the New Cooperage building in Plymouth
Le Bistrot Pierre is set to open its tenth restaurant in the New Cooperage building in Plymouth
French restaurant chain Le Bistrot Pierre is set to open its first in the south when it opens a venue in Plymouth next year and has revealed a list of target cities with three openings planned next year.

The Nottingham-based group, which was founded by Robert Beacham and John Whitehead in 1994, will operate ten restaurants across the UK when the doors open to the first Plymouth outpost for the chain in February next year.

City-focused

The 120-cover venue in the New Cooperage building within the the Royal William Yard development in the Devon city marks a significant change for the brand which has, until now, focused on sites in the Midlands and the North.

However speaking to BigHospitality, Beacham said the quality of the location had been too good an opportunity to miss although existing expansion plans remain in place.

"We had five principal cities which we wanted to focus on over the next year - namely Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff - but Plymouth was brought to my attention on a couple of occasions and once we visited it, out of curiosity rather than from a strategic point of view, it sold itself."

The group of military buildings in the South-West city has recently been developed to include retail and hospitality businesses including a Prezzo restaurant and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's newest restaurant, River Cottage Canteen, which was this week awarded the highest rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

Le Bistrot Pierre

Beacham and Whitehead will be dispatching one of their 'rising star' general managers to Plymouth to lead operations there and are hoping a presence in the South West region will open doors to hoped-for openings in Cardiff and Bristol soon.

"We are looking to open three sites next year. We are in relatively advanced discussions in Birmingham. Over the next year or 18 months we want to focus on standalone bistros in the major cities and nice central locations. Historically you could say we have been in marginal/secondary locations because of our size and cost of opening," he said.

The last new site for the brand was in the small Yorkshire market town of Ilkley which opened in June last year. The delay between that and Plymouth was not self-imposed but due to a costly and lengthy process in Yorkshire, where the restaurant is joined with a pub and accommodation, and delays in Devon.

Speaking to BigHospitality's sister publication Restaurant magazine last year, Beacham and Whitehead admitted the majority of its lunchtime trade came from the grey pound' which was '70 per cent to 80 per cent female'​.

Beacham admitted he hoped the move into larger cities would help with the growth and recognition of the brand.

"At the moment we are still very much privately owned and growth is going to be slower than a private equity-backed group such as Côte. There isn't the cash behind us to be self-perpetuating but now we are at a nice size that self-perpetuation is a little bit more advanced," he concluded.

Related topics: Business, People, Restaurants, Venues

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