EXCLUSIVE: Giraffe adamant expansion won’t be a tall order as it plans new UK projects

Giraffe World Kitchen is refusing to be put off by the carnage that has enveloped the casual dining sector this year as it looks to actively grow its footprint at home and abroad.

The chain is now owned Boparan Restaurant Group, which also controls the Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip brand, after it brought the business from supermarket giant Tesco two years ago.

While the likes of Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian and Carluccio’s closing stores this year, Giraffe is seeking to expand the number of sites that it operates.

Brand director Sam Wignell said plans are in motion for a slew of new projects in the coming months.

“We have 37 company-owned restaurants in the UK, and 17 franchise outlets, which includes our Giraffe Stop format. We are currently seeking new restaurant sites for the brand across the UK and have a team actively working on this. We’re also working on a number of international expansion opportunities for the brand,” he revealed.

Mr Wignell said the chain has a “very healthy and successful” franchise estate, and this would form a key part of the strategy moving forward.

“We see many opportunities for new Giraffe and Giraffe Stop outlets and we have a number of new franchise openings scheduled over the next 12 months, in the UK and overseas. We are also aiming to increase the number of company-owned sites and expect to be opening in new locations during 2019.”

Giraffe believes there are innovation opportunities around nutritionally balanced dishes, great tasting favourites as well as more eclectic dishes and drinks, while its Giraffe Stop grab-and-go format also offers significant potential.

Mr Wignell acknowledged that back-of-house infrastructure is an important element of the overall offering and without it the company would stand little chance of staying ahead of high street trends.

“You can create any dish you desire, but without the right people supported by the correct equipment you are simply not set up for success, for example the business has recently invested to deliver innovation aspirations at peak trading time slots. We have a best practice kitchen design template to slot into every new upgrade driven by a strategy to deliver faster, better food. Each business has on/off guides to minimise footprint and optimise labour and energy.”

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