Ibérica reveals UK expansion plans

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Zig zag building, Great portland street

Sales at Ibérica’s existing two restaurant's are growing at about 25 per cent year-on-year
Sales at Ibérica’s existing two restaurant's are growing at about 25 per cent year-on-year
Ibérica Restaurants, the three-strong Spanish group led by two-Michelin-starred chef Nacho Manzano, is actively looking to expand outside of London with plans for up to 10 UK sites in the next five years.

The group, which recently secured its fourth site in the capital at the upcoming Zig Zag Building in Victoria, is looking primarily at Manchester for its next opening, with Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow also cited as target locations.

“We’re all set to grow,” Ibérica’s director Marcos Fernández Pardo told BigHospitality. “We’ve invested a lot in our head office and we’ve done that because we do want to expand. I would like to see Ibérica grow to between five to 10 sites within the next three to five years.”

Hospitable cities

Pardo, who grew up in Madrid and joined Ibérica Food & Culture in 2006, explained that the focus for the expansion would primarily be outside of London, with the growing hospitality scene of Manchester providing an appealing business opportunity.

“There’s only so many Ibéricas we can have in the capital,” he said. “It’s easy to become a bit London-centric, but there is actually a massive market out there.

“I love Manchester. It’s changed dramatically over the past few years, it’s a beautiful city. Living Ventures have done an amazing job changing the restaurant scene there and it’s somewhere that we’re looking at - hopefully we can find a site there.

“We’ve also been looking at Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow. But the first step will be Manchester. We’re actively looking and we’d like to open there next year.”

La Terraza

The group opened its debut UK site in Great Portland Street in 2007, which was followed by a site in Cabot Square in Canary Wharf in 2007. Carluccio’s chairman Stephen Gee has come on-board as an investor, with sales at both restaurants are growing year-on-year at about 25 per cent.

Ibérica La Terraza, an al fresco dining concept, opened opposite the Canary Wharf site last year, and Pardo believes it also has legs to expand.

He added: “The terrace concept has been received really well. The food is less formal and quicker, and we’ve developed our drinks menu to now offer cocktails that are very specific to Spain. It’s all about bringing the best out of every product and making it as authentic as possible. We would like to develop that concept a bit more in the UK.”

As reported by BigHospitality last month, Ibérica have taken a 5,340 sq.ft dining space spread over the ground and first floor of the Zig Zag Building in Victoria, which opens in May 2015.

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