Prezzo taps in on burger and chicken restaurant trends with new brand

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

Cleaver offers variations of chicken, burgers and ribs, with an open kitchen showcasing a charcoal grill and rotisserie
Cleaver offers variations of chicken, burgers and ribs, with an open kitchen showcasing a charcoal grill and rotisserie
Restaurant group Prezzo, the operator of the eponymous Italian chain and Mexican concept Chimichanga, has launched a new brand specialising in chicken, burger and ribs, with a debut site having just opened in Cobham, Surrey.

The new brand, called Cleaver, is a big departure from Prezzo’s other concepts, with a more limited menu (see image below) and new design features such as an open kitchen to showcase a chicken rotisserie and charcoal grill.

“We are an innovative company and are always looking at new ideas for restaurants,” said Prezzo’s chief executive Jonathan Kaye. “We have placed a heavy emphasis on the provenance of the meat and poultry on offer at Cleaver as well as design and overall look of the restaurant.

“We will explore further opportunities to open more Cleaver restaurants in the future.”

Food trends

London has seen a spate of openings where poultry and burgers have taken leading roles. Chicken Shop, the Tramshed and wishbone were among the flurry of chicken-led concepts;​while Patty and Bun, BRGR.CO and Tommi’s formed part of the burger boom.

The 3,600 sq.ft, 130-cover Cleaver restaurant in Cobham is a template for future sites in terms of food and drink – it offers handmade Scottish beef burgers, chicken from Norfolk and ribs from locally-sourced pork.

Cleaver-restaurant-menu

Three salads and a selection of sides including slaw, corn on the cob and skin-on fries complete the food offering, while the drinks menu includes two craft ales - Camden pale ale and Camden Hells Lager – along with a selection of shakes, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

The Cobham venue’s design includes an interior clad in salvaged and reclaimed materials, with a gymnasium floor on the ceiling and 200-year-old French oak on some of the walls. Thirty-two of the covers are external, with an outside terrace area open during the summer months.

Prezzo profits

In its latest annual financial results, Prezzo Plc posted a strong set of results,​with year-on-year sales for the AIM-listed company up 17 per cent and pre-tax profits rising by 7 per cent to £17.3m.

Thirty-one new Prezzos and 13 Chimichangas were opened over the 52 weeks, and Kaye told BigHospitality that the property pipeline for 2013 is largely finalised.

“We’re looking at opening around 25 new restaurants by the end of this year,” he said. “It’s actually been a good start to the 2013; we’ve opened one restaurant so far but we’re on-site in eight - within two months that one will become nine. Crudely, these openings will be 60/40 in Prezzo’s favour, but we assess each opportunity on a site-by-site basis.”

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