Lebanese grill house chain Kababji is to open its first restaurant in the UK, in Wimbledon. The group currently operates 26 restaurants across the Middle East.
The restaurant, which will have both a sit-in and takeaway option, will feature a centre grill and use technology such as kiosks that will allow customers to order and track the progress of their food via screens.
An app will also allow consumers to order food directly to their table in a bid to streamline the restaurant dining experience.
Launched in Lebanon over 25 years ago, Kababji is billed as a healthier kebab restaurant, serving wraps, grilled skewered meat, dips and salads. The Wimbledon menu will be 40% vegetarian and feature dishes such as aubergine grill; falafel; halloumi; and hummus as well as tahini shipped over from Lebanon.
The business is being backed by Ziad Joumblat, managing director at Joël Robuchon International and chairman of Big Fernand Restaurant Group; and Douglas Smillie, a former director of Busaba Eathai and Tapas Revolution, with the UK operations team headed up by Hylton Patterson, formerly of Tortilla.
The company has invested over £500,000 in its first UK premises and says it plans to move into more central London areas in the future as it expands.
“Wimbledon is our first urban village opening, before we expand into central London and throughout the rest of the UK,” says Patterson.
“With several different formats and approaches in place, we have a number of new store openings set for 2019.”
Wimbledon is often used as a launch area for successful restaurant brands. The first Cote bistro opened in Wimbledon in 2007 and Danish chain Sticks ‘n’ Sushi also chose Wimbledon to open its first UK restaurant, in 2012.