The Operator of the Year for Multi-Site Kitchen Projects reflects the fact that expansion is the name of the game for many multi-site foodservice operators and that managing the challenge in terms of implementing new kitchens is an art in itself.
This category recognises operators that have successfully managed significant site and kitchen roll-outs in the last 12 months.
We are delighted to announce that the 2018 shortlist includes the following operators:
Loungers has grown sales in excess of 30% following a period of intense expansion activity that has seen it successfully manage its way through 20 new restaurant and kitchen projects across the Lounges and Cosy Club brands. The roll-out of new infrastructure across multiple sites has been supported by a more systematic approach to menu development, driven by the philosophy that a quality and consistent food offering is the key to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty. Last year the group launched almost 30 menus across the business, with its food development team drawing inspiration from the distinct identities of the two brands to conceive original dishes that transcend current trends.
Miller & Carter
With 32 restaurant openings and conversions completed during the past year, Miller & Carter has been one of the most expansive brands in the market and its kitchens now serve up in excess of one million steaks a year. Parent group Mitchells & Butlers spotted an opportunity to increase the premium aspect of its business through investment in the steakhouse format and its plan has led to strong like-for-like sales and average EBITDA returns above 40% for conversion projects. Harnessing the right cooking applications has been key to meeting its pursuit of the perfect steak. Chef training includes attendance at a two-day ‘steak school’, starting at the farm and ending in the kitchen.
Pizza Express has one of the most established restaurant estates in the UK but it has still added to its portfolio this year, completing a number of projects that bring its premium pizza offering to new high street and retail locations. It also implemented its first ever kitchen install at a motorway service station following a tie-up with Welcome Break and that agreement that will see further sites launched in the future. A proven open kitchen model that places Sveba Dahlen pizza ovens at the heart of the operation has afforded it the capacity to produce 60 million pizzas and dough balls a year, as well as implement new menu innovations, such as its ‘Piattini’ sharing plates offer.
Pret A Manger
Pret has reached its milestone goal of 500 stores during the past year and achieving such growth and scale would be impossible were it not for an approach to food production and service that can be scaled to any location. An emphasis on equipment that is simple to operate and easy to clean has served the business well, while well-established relationships with a core group of supply partners have enabled it to call upon the mixture of modular and fabricated services and fittings it requires to make stores operational and functional. An added focus on menu innovation, as well as the launch of its first Veggie Pret shops, have seen its seen its kitchen teams rise to the challenge.
Star Pubs & Bars
A focus on giving licensees a clear platform to serve food has seen Star invest heavily in providing the training, equipment and menu skills that are required to compete in the modern pub market. More than 70% of the chain’s sites now serve food following the roll-out of a strategy to help partners design kitchen environments that suit their precise needs. Its F&F programme, meanwhile, ensures pubs have access to the right energy efficient equipment, with almost £2m a year spent on making sure that kitchens throughout its estate have access to robust and reliable good quality commercial kitchen equipment that can cater for volume.
The 2018 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Tuesday 5 June, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.