Sticks’n’Sushi expansion: ‘We’re not a copy and paste concept’

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sticks'n'Sushi opened its first UK site in Wimbledon in 2012
Sticks'n'Sushi opened its first UK site in Wimbledon in 2012

Related tags: 2016

For the past four years Sticks'n'Sushi has been gradually expanding its London empire, but now the Danish-Japanese restaurant group is set to take its 'affordable luxury' offering across the UK. 

The brand opened its first London site in Wimbledon in 2012​, followed by Covent Garden in 2013 and Greenwich and Canary Wharf last year.

Now the group has announced plans to open its first restaurants outside the capital in Cambridge’s GuildHall in May 2016 and Oxford's Westgate shopping centre in 2017.

It will also join Jason Atherton and Bone Daddies​ at the Nova development in London Victoria later this year.

Though the openings will almost double the Copenhagen-based brand's presence in the UK, Sticks’n’Sushi’s UK managing director Andreas Karlsson told BigHospitality the plans were just the beginning.

He said: "We will continue looking at locations further afield towards Manchester, Leeds and going West probably Bath and Bristol. It’s a natural progression if and when locations come our way."

Keeping creative

But unlike a number of expanding chain concepts, Sticks'n'Sushi are keen for each restaurant to remain unique with its own 'look and feel'.

“We are quite selective of the spaces we’re going in to and they need to sit well in the local area,” said Karlsson.

“We’re not a roll-out copy and paste concept, we take great care of the spaces we take and where we design and build our restaurants.

“The offering itself is going to be exactly the same, but [the new restaurants] will be individually designed and built so they won’t look anything like what we have in London."

But when pressed on the extent of the restaurant's expansion plans, Karlsson said future growth would depend on finding the right locations in an increasingly competitive market.

He said: “It’s driven by opportunities in terms of real estate as we are not the only successful group born in London seeking to expand further in to the UK, so we can’t sit back and say we’ll open in X number of cities by 2018.”

Sushi for me, yakitori for you

Sticks’n’Sushi was founded 20 years ago by brothers Jens and Kim Rahbek after the duo were inspired by their half-Danish half-Japanese parentage.

The Copenhagen-based group serves a blend of both culinary traditions, mixing sushi with meat or vegetable yakitori grilled to order.

It will open its first German restaurant in Berlin this winter, meaning that by 2017 Sticks’n’Sushi will operate 19 restaurants in three countries.

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