London’s burger boom continues as new Tommi’s restaurant reports ‘crazy’ week of sales

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hamburger

The permanent site benefits from an alcohol licence, allowing it to serve a range of beer along with white and red wine
The permanent site benefits from an alcohol licence, allowing it to serve a range of beer along with white and red wine
Tommi’s Burger Joint, the pop-up-to-permanent Icelandic burger restaurant which has just re-opened in Marylebone, reported 'fantastic’ sales in its first week, with director Robert Aron Magnusson claiming simplicity and quality are the key to success in an increasingly crowded market.

The temporary site in Marylebone Street​ closed back in May and, despite a number of big burger brands opening in London during the three-month interlude, the new 30-cover restaurant on Thayer Street has seen queues out the door.

“It’s been absolutely crazy,” Magnusson told BigHospitality. “Since we opened, the response has been amazing, we’re getting a lot of new customers and, of course, we’re getting all the regulars from Marylebone - they definitely missed us.

As with the pop-up, Tommi’s will is keeping things simple, with a menu offering a selection of burgers including a vegetarian option. Produce is sourced from within the UK, with meat from HG Walter butchers in Barons Court and bread from Millers Bakery. Milkshakes are a new addition to the menu, in keeping with the American diner-style vibe.

Burger business

In the past year, the London burger scene has evolved from simple grab-and-go snacks offered by street food pop-ups into somewhat of an icon among international foodies, with dressed-up variations and toppings galore served up in ‘posh’ bricks and mortar operations across the capital.

The phenomenon took yet another turn last month when two of America’s most popular burger chains - Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack​and Barack Obama’s allegedly beloved Five Guys​- caused huge queues for their first London openings. 

Add to that Patty & Bun,Dirty Burger,Flesh & Buns​and Steers​(to name just a few) - all opening stores in the past 12 months - and you have a crowded marketplace. 

Tommi's burgers will be cooked on an American gas grill to enhance the charcoal flavour

But, Magnusson remains confident that the Tommi’s brand is strong enough to stand out from the crowd. “It’s good to have competition. Just around this area we have Patty & Bun and Meatliquor, but it actually brings in more business for us, so we love this area.

“Our concept is so different from any of the others, it’s very simple but it’s all about quality. Some people don’t want all the fuss and thrills with their burger, they just want it plain and simple with quality beef and quality products. I think that’s what differentiates us.”

Expansion plans

The intimate American-style diner, which currently has six sites across Iceland, is the creation of Icelandic entrepreneur Tomas Tómasson, who has launched nearly 20 restaurants and hotels in his native Iceland, including the Hard Rock Cafe.

Burger flipping in Marylebone is led by Tommi’s head chef Siggi Gunnlaugsson, one of the group’s most senior chefs who relocated to the UK to launch the first site last year.

Magnusson concluded that expansion is definitely on the card for Tommi’s. “We’re always looking at options,” he said. “There are quite a few options we’re looking at now - some collaborations and one other site. We have the financial means to do so, it’s just a case of the right site becoming available.”

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