Happiness Forgets owner to push ahead with expansion following Petit Pois restaurant opening

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

Petit Pois has been the catalyst for quicker growth for founder Alistair Burgess
Petit Pois has been the catalyst for quicker growth for founder Alistair Burgess

Related tags: Fast food

Alastair Burgess, the owner of bars Happiness Forgets and Original Sin has ramped up plans to expand his business following the successful opening of his first restaurant Petit Pois bistro.

The 25-cover restaurant, located above Happiness Forgets in London’s Hoxton Square, has only been open six weeks, but its successful launch has served as a catalyst for further growth Burgess told BigHospitality.

“It took us five years to open Original Sin after we opened Happiness Forgets, then another year to open Petit Pois bistro, so growth has been slow so far, but it has been very self-contained and we haven’t had to borrow much to do it,” he said.

“I’m now hoping that in the next 12 months, we’ll have another two or three sites open.”

Gap in the market

Burgess, who has secured global recognition for Happiness Forgets, said Petit Pois, a ‘French-inspired’ bistro he launched with chef Chris Smith running the kitchen, was filling a gap in the dining market.

“Petit Pois, as a style and concept is something we’d like to open more of. Currently you have either fine-dining restaurants or gourmet fast food outlets, there’s this big gap in the market for something cute and homely,” he said.

Dual purpose

While downstairs bar Happiness Forgets will remain a one-off, Burgess said sites which could serve as both a bar and a restaurant would be his preference for the next move.

“The small, cosy atmosphere of Petit Pois would suit neighbourhoods well, but we are on the lookout for ground floor and basement sites like we have here (Hoxton Square). We do bars very well, so it would be silly not to capitalise on the two together."

Areas Burgess is targeting include Soho, Clapham and Farringdon.

“Soho would be amazing, both bar or restaurant-wise. It’s really lacking on good bars at the moment and we’d love to be there. We’ve also looked at Clapham and I like East London. With Crossrail, Farringdon and Clerkenwell are going to be big business.

“However, nothing’s really off the cards if there’s a good level of supporting business there.”

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