The London-based street food operator, which currently operates a bricks and mortar restaurant in Tooting and food truck spots in Shoreditch and Hoxton Square, will open its first site under franchise later this year, with locations in Milton Keynes and St Albans both currently being considered.
Franchise advisor Whitney Myrus tells BigHospitality the chain could grow to 50 sites in the UK in the next five years, with talks also currently ongoing to establish global outposts in countries including the US, China, Gibraltar, Sweden, and Finland.
“This is a really exciting moment for The Orange Buffalo brand,” says Myrus.
“It’s a concept that has captured the imagination of so many people that we now have a pipeline of perspective franchise partners in the UK and around the world.”
Myrus says that while the growth will primarily focus on expanding The Orange Buffalo as a restaurant concept, there will also be scope to launch food truck and dark kitchen locations.
It is hoped that at least 10 franchise partners will be signed in the UK before the end of the year.
The acceleration of The Orange Buffalo’s franchise plans follows a successful pivot to retail during the pandemic.
Having initially had to close all three of its locations at the onset of the first national lockdown, founders Nick White and Mike So began selling their house-made sauces and spices nationwide online alongside a range of bespoke merchandise.
“The surge in retail sales, particularly of the sauces, has driven so much franchise interest,” explains Myrus.
“And that’s what has ultimately led to us signing our first franchisee in the UK.
“The last year has seen the sector absolutely decimated by the pandemic, but as we move out of this period of lockdown we’re going to see a huge resurgence.
“There are huge shifts happening in the commercial real estate market at the moment that will be really advantageous for smaller, nimble businesses like this.”
White and So founded The Orange Buffalo back in Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery back in 2012, and later expanded to Hoxton.
The pair went on to win the Double Award at London’s first Wingfest a year later, and in 2016 was named the Best Loved Restaurant prize at the Time Out Love London Awards.
They opened their first bricks and mortar restaurant in Tooting in the summer of 2019.