Healthy eating restaurant chain Saffran makes UK debut in Manchester, plans 30 sites in five years

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Jay Jamchi, president of healthy eating restaurant group Saffran, has launched the chain's first UK restaurant in Manchester
Jay Jamchi, president of healthy eating restaurant group Saffran, has launched the chain's first UK restaurant in Manchester
Saffran, the healthy eating restaurant chain which features main meals of 650 calories or less, has made its UK debut with the launch of a restaurant in Manchester ahead of ambitious expansion plans.

The fast-casual restaurant group, which was originally formed in Iceland in 2009, opened a 150-cover eatery in the Trafford Centre last week. The company is now planning a second site in the centre of the north west city next year before further expansion plans.

Healthy

Saffran's menu specialises in world cuisine with burgers, Tandoori dishes and Safflats all on offer - however all of the meals are cooked using healthier processes. Mains in the restaurant cost less than £10 and diners order their food from a counter before waiters deliver it to their table.

"We have looked at all the conventional dishes and a lot of them have a perception that they are bad for you and in most cases that is true," Alan Brogan, who is heading up the UK launch of the brand, told BigHospitality.

"We have used all natural ingredients and cooked them in a healthy, natural way and we have actually turned what people perceive to be conventionally bad dishes into very nutritious and delicious dishes," he added.

A saffron chicken dish is, for example, marinated in spices before being baked as opposed to being fried in spices. 

30 in five

In the UK the restaurant's development plans will first focus on Manchester and the north west before a nationwide expansion.

Commercial property management firm GVA, which advised Saffran on its Manchester acquisition, revealed the firm was looking to open up to 30 sites in urban areas across the country in the next five years.

The original founders of the chain are a majority shareholder in a new firm overseeing the UK expansion.

Brogan revealed the team would be making London a key target and would be opening smaller, quick-service concepts as well as full restaurants.

"We were looking at London and Manchester as the two possible locations (for the first site). We chose Manchester mainly because we were looking for something with a reasonably good profile so that we could get a flagship store up and going and we felt that the Trafford Centre offered us that focal point.

"Our food is quite adventurous and unique and we felt that it would fit well into that kind of environment," he added.

"We are obviously going to give it a six-month bedding-in period to get the first one up and going and get the name out there. After that we are going to look in the second half of next year at opening another two to three.

"We will also be developing an express concept with a slightly simplified menu, smaller premises and more focus on taking out," Brogan concluded.

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants

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