'We want to be the best': Red Dog Saloon sets its sights on expansion

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

'We want to be the best': Red Dog Saloon sets its sights on expansion

Related tags: Red dog saloon, Smoking

Red Dog Saloon founder Tom Brooke has confirmed that the brand has its eye on expansion with a series of regional sites set to open next year.

Brooke told BigHospitality that the barbecue restaurant - famous for its gutbusting eating challenges​ – had secured ‘quite a big’ site in Nottingham and would be opening in Southampton in 2016.

The group is also set to launch its third and, at 40-covers, smallest site to date in Soho later this month.

“I personally think [Red Dog Saloon] could work anywhere because it’s not pretentious or stuffy, and it’s not UK driven," said Brooke.

"It’s very much down to earth and focused on the average guy.”

Brooke explained that the group was looking ‘all over the country’ for suitable locations.

Though the brand is ‘not ruling out’ further growth in London, expansion is proving difficult with sites increasingly hard to come by.

“We would like to open in west London in Notting Hill, Portobello kind of areas,” he said.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision to have Soho be our smallest restaurant. It’s very difficult to find locations because it’s such a competitive environment at the moment and the market is incredibly expensive.”

Firing up the competition

Barbecue concepts have boomed since Red Dog first opened its doors in Hoxton in 2011, with Blues Smokehouse, Red's True Barbecue and Meat & Shake all expanding in the capital.

But Brooke explained that the added competition only served to push the restaurant to ‘raise its game’.

“It is a really competitive environment, and we want to be the best," he said.

“When we started our competition was really Pitt Cue Co. and MeatLiquor on the burger side, and now [smokehouses] are everywhere.

“So we do feel the pressure, but I think what’s to our advantage is that we’re not just speciality barbecue or burgers, we’re like a night out.

“We’ve got a great atmosphere and a fun vibe and I think that sets us apart.”

Despite confidence in the restaurant’s potential, Brooke emphasised that expansion would be driven on a site-by-site basis.

He said: “We’re a family run business, we’re not backed by private equity, so we’re not going to say we’ll have this many restaurants a year regardless of costs – that’s not really our style.”

Red Dog Saloon will open in Soho for a soft launch on 11 November, before officially launching on 19 November.

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants

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