Vapiano looks past London

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Franchising, Great portland street

Vapiano's UK and US managing director Phil Sermon says now is the right time to expand outside of London
Vapiano's UK and US managing director Phil Sermon says now is the right time to expand outside of London
Fast-casual Italian restaurant chain Vapiano has announced it is looking for ‘entrepreneurial partners’ to support its UK expansion outside of London.

The Venture Capital-backed group, which currently has two restaurants in the capital and a third opening in Soho in June,​ claims it’s already ‘in advanced negotiations on a number of sites in the capital’, with plans to franchise its restaurants in major cities across the UK.

“Vapiano operates 141 restaurants worldwide, of which approximately two-thirds are franchised,” said the company’s UK and US managing director, Phil Sermon. “The model has worked extremely well and we believe now is the time to replicate it across the UK.

“Our aim is to open many new restaurants in the UK in the coming years and while we aim to concentrate on London, we believe that there are superb franchise opportunities in the rest of the UK.

“We are looking for hands-on operators who have an excellent knowledge of their local market and the willingness and ability to build up a successful business there.”

Global success

Vapiano's franchising international chief executive Mario C. Bauer added: “Our existing franchisees across the world have enjoyed outstanding success with their individual restaurants. A good example is Sweden, where two franchise partners have made a great success of their eight restaurants.

“We have worldwide success stories from Sweden to Taiwan and from Switzerland to Australia. We are confident that entrepreneurs in the UK will view a franchise with Vapiano as an excellent opportunity to be part of a successful and growing restaurant group with a worldwide presence.”

Vapiano, which was founded in Hamburg in 2002,​ currently operates the two London sites on Great Portland Street and in Bankside. The concept is focused on pasta, pizza and salads which are freshly prepared by chefs who interact with the diners and modify the recipes accordingly.

Sermon, who was appointed Vapiano's UK managing director by Mayfair - the company’s backers - last year, told BigHospitality that the upcoming £2.1m, 7,000 sq.ft restaurant in Wardour Street​ is just the begininng of the group's expansion, and they have been looking for sites of a similar size or larger.

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