The Orchard Restaurant and Bar eyes expansion

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Orchard features a large gluten-free menu
The Orchard features a large gluten-free menu

Related tags: Coeliac disease, Gluten-free diet

Former Claridge's chef Steven Mitchell has revealed plans to expand his Orchard Restaurant and Bar brand in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire area.

Mitchell told BigHospitality he is planning to open a larger second venue - and hopes to expand to three sites within five years.

Sales at the brands’ initial restaurant, which serves British and Continental dishes, have risen quarterly since opening two and a half years ago.

While future restaurants will likely operate under the Orchard name, Mitchell said he was keen for each venue to remain unique.

“Any sites we may have in the future will be run as individual ventures and not as part of a chain. We have carefully developed our offering to meet the needs of the local demographic and the result has been brilliant,” he said.

The chef said he was hoping to train up existing kitchen staff to take on more senior positions, allowing him to take on an executive role across the restaurants.

Menu

Despite his Michelin-starred background, Mitchell was keen to stress that The Orchard offered ‘good quality food at affordable prices’ rather than fine dining.

The restaurant features a large gluten-free offering, and is listed by the Coeliac Society on its website.

“We have seen a dramatic uplift in requests for gluten-free options, it’s something that we are constantly developing. We’ve recently installed a gluten free fryer and we try to keep the menu as similar to our main offering, which changes seasonally, as we can,” said Mitchell.

The Stotfold site is situated next door to Bannatynes Spa, which provides a large proportion of footfall. However, Mitchell denied that any future sites would specifically target this market.

“Being situated close to a spa means we have to tailor our offering to the customers we have on our doorstep, but the menu would change to cater to different customer demand in a separate location,” he said.

Related topics: Restaurants, Venues

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