According to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Report, The group is currently looking at a number of locations for more acquisitions and after raising more than £1m through crowdfunding in July last year to expand its estate.
Robert Grecaen, managing director of River Cottage, said: “We are looking at a number of locations that look very interesting for progressive expansion. Our restaurants are not typical so we want sites with a bit of edge.
“Opening one or two sites this year is the best we would expect to achieve. We’ve never set ourselves out to have a fast roll-out.”
He added that the group is now focused on making acquisitions and finding the next outlet and is not planning to raise funds this year.
As part of its growth plans the company recruited a development chef to improve the offering across the group and keep standards consistently high while working with local head chefs on recipes and dishes.
“As we get bigger we have to be more organised about how we do things but we try to keep local levels of creativity and want to keep that which is certainly a challenge,” Grecaen said.
In October the group brought its estate to four with the addition of a restaurant in Winchester, which Grecean said has exceeded expectations.
Since the Canteen opened Rick Stein has also opened a restaurant in the town to add to the branded operators, which Grecean said has added to the “great buzz” in the town.
“There seems to be a good level of demand and high level of interest in food in Winchester at the moment so the whole town is benefitting from the increased interest as it has more to offer.”
He added the restaurants performed well over Christmas and was up on last year: “It was a smooth Christmas for us and has built up nicely.”
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