According to one of BigHospitality's sister titles, M&C Report, the group launched its first site outside of the capital, in Oxford, in November and with trade there 'better than forecasted', it is now searching for further locations in the south for at least two more openings this year.
“It was a big risk and a big learning curve going outside of London, but it went off very well and it’s given us the confidence to do more in other major cities outside London," Loughran told M&C Report.
“We’ve been to many cities and are currently negotiating with landlords to get the right locations. We have a shortlist of cities where we’d like to be and we’ll open over the coming years throughout the UK.”
The group, which secured a £14m finance deal through HSBC last year, isn’t abandoning London openings, having just opened at the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury and in King William Street in the City, with further sites due to open in Ludgate Hill, Aldgate and Mayfair in about six-to-eight weeks’ time.
“Usually the pipeline is pretty weak in the first half of the year but we have a very well stocked first half – we should open seven sites, which will be part of a minimum of ten sites we expect to open this year,” added Loughran.
Meanwhile, Itsu is continuing to upgrade its older sites, whilst revising its hot food menu and expanding the range of salads that it launched last summer.
Loughran said: “The salad range has been really successful. It’s a much bigger category than it was before – 25-30% of what we do now is salads – and we’re going to build on that this summer.
“Very much people are coming to us as the ‘go to’ place for healthy eating now.”
This story was first published by M&C Report. To subscribe, contact Emily Croft on 01293 846578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.