The Flat Chicken will open in late November, comprising a 60-cover casual café-style restaurant serving a choice of chicken or steak, along with a downstairs bar and upstairs roof terrace with space for an additional 40 diners.
The concept is the brainchild of Charles Harris, operations director of CD Pub Co – which manages The Stag at Off church and The Moorings at Myton in Leamington Spa. Harris admits the recent spate of poultry-led openings prompted him to plough ahead with an idea he had in the pipeline for a while.
“The surge of chicken restaurants in London is a good thing for us,” he told BigHospitality. “It’s given us a lot more confidence for it because on the face of it the concept seems a bit risky - and it’s great to see what everyone else is doing.
“I came up with this idea just over a year ago and we were going to introduce it into a pub we’d taken over. Over the past six months we’ve spotted everything going on in London and we’ve just been a bit slow with it.”
Having agreed a five-year lease on the former Bernadette’s restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon’s Guild Street, Harris revealed plans to roll the business out as a chain, claiming ‘the sky’s the limit’.
“We’re definitely looking to roll it out,” he said. “We’d love to eventually hit London but I want to conquer the midlands first - there’s so much going on in the capital at the moment and we’re probably one of the first outsiders to run with this chicken-led concept, so we’re going to primarily be focusing on the rest of the country.
“It will be a case of waiting and slowly growing – we’re in a good financial position but it’s not like we can open 10 sites overnight.”
The Flat Chicken will offer a simple menu with a selection of nibbles for starters and chicken offered on a rotisserie in quarter, half and whole varieties, priced at £4.50, £8 and £16 respectively and available to take away. Sirloin steak will also be offered, supplied by Aubrey Allen.
Restaurateur Mark Hix recently told BigHospitality that he believed the desire to understand poultry provenancewas likely to be the next big development or trend in restaurant sustainability – and The Flat Chicken is placing an extra emphasis on this area.
“The provenience and sourcing of the chicken is incredibly important to us,” added Harris. “We’ve had a look at all the different options because there are some good barn-reared options at the moment but we have stuck with a free-range chicken.
“The hardest thing for us has actually been being really brave with the menu - I’ve rewritten it so many times and put loads of different stuff on there. But I think it is just about simplicity, so we’ll just have the chicken and steak options.
“We’ve got the two pubs as well and we really struggle to find good quality chefs, so having a quality product that requires slightly less skill in the kitchen, will allow us to open more sites more often, so it’s a much better business idea.”
The recent outbreak of chicken-led concepts in London includes Soho House’s rotisserie-style Chicken Shop in Kentish Town; The Tramshed in Shoreditch, which serves a limited menu of roast chickens and steak; and Rita’s Bar & Dining in Stoke Newington, where chicken wings and a fried chicken sandwich feature.
And it shows no sign of abating - Wishbone opened late last month in Brixton Market, while soon-to-open concepts include Canteen chef and co-founder Cass Titcombe’s Roost, Chooks in Muswell Hill, and Clockjack Oven in central London.