The 150-cover, two-tier Norwich restaurant has just finished its first full week of trading in the city centre as operations manager Spillings and head chef Mott will continue the brands ethos of offering a simple, value-for-money grill menu in a comfortable family-friendly environment.
“The first week’s been really good,” Spillings told BigHospitality. “There’ve been lots of nice things said about us which is always a good starting point.
“We wanted to test Middletons Steakhouse and Grill on the high street. Going from a rural environment to a big city is a really big move, so it all just depends on how successful it is over the next six to eight months.
“A success is not necessarily about thousands of people coming through the doors, it’s about quality of product, quality of service and quality of the style of the restaurant. If that happens in Norwich then we’re certainly ambitious enough to want to expand throughout the rest of the country.”
On the menu
Middletons Norwich will replicate the style and food offerings of the original site in King’s Lynn, with the menu offering a range of light bites and sharing platters, burgers, and specialty steaks priced between £10 and £25. Situated on the site of an old Baptist chapel, the Norwich venue will also offer seafood dishes, Sunday roasts and a simple drinks selections of wines, spirits and soft drinks.
Spillings, 36, and Mott, 24, were both educated at City College in Norwich before meeting while working at the local Loch Fyne restaurant. The pair went on to work at Loch Fyne restaurants in Ipswich and Cambridge, before Spillings approached Mott with the prospect of working together at Middletons.
“When I knew that we were going to be opening the restaurant in Norwich there was only one person I wanted to work with from a kitchen point of view and that was Adam, so I approached him earlier this year and he jumped at the chance.”
'Recipe for disaster'
Speaking of the group’s potential to expand into other major cities in the UK, Spillings revealed that Middletons will take a cautious approach, not making the same mistakes that other businesses have made, adding ‘slow and steady wins the race’.
“We don’t have a huge blueprint because I think that’s a recipe for disaster,” he said. “I’ve been involved in big brands enough to know that the most well laid plans can change overnight due to change in customer opinions and eating fashions.
“The concentration for us is building a solid foundation in Norwich. So many businesses in the past have gone into somewhere, piled it full of customers over the next two or three months, ruined their reputation and ultimately failed.
“We want to slowly and steadily build it, and take a view of things in early summer of next year. Clearly, cities and places around the country that are akin to Norwich are places we would potentially look at expanding into in the future.”