The Operator of the Year for Best New Concept award, sponsored by Falcon Foodservice Equipment, acknowledges that the UK foodservice market is one of the most vibrant in the world, with new operators, cuisines and business models springing up all the time.
Given the costs and challenges involved with rolling out a new venture, anybody that has successfully managed this process deserves to be applauded. The winner will be the company judged by the industry to have developed the best new foodservice concept.
We are delighted to announce that the 2021 shortlist includes the following operators:
BaxterStorey / Bartlett Mitchell
Westbury Street Holdings launched Mosaic, a subscription-based contract catering model, as part of a move to offer clients flexible solutions in a post-Covid workplace. Driven by Bartlett Mitchell with the support of BaxterStorey, the model enables clients to sign up to a flexible monthly budgeted plan, where they only pay for the food and services consumed and used during that period. The subscription plan includes flexible access to catering services so that businesses can scale up or down as required. Clients are able to utilise the latest app technology to deliver a Covid-safe hospitality experience and a pre-order pay system, while all membership levels have access to range of benefits including a monthly chef’s masterclass and a customer recipe newsletter.
The new cafe concept from Carluccio’s is set to be rolled out to dozens of locations after being crafted during the pandemic by brand owner Boparan Restaurant Group. With an offer comprising two blends of the best quality Italian coffee, alongside an accessible all-day menu with sandwiches made fresh daily, the casual dining chain is aiming to elevate what a coffee shop in the UK should look like. The concept is supported by a dedicated app, allowing ordering, delivery, menu access and location finding for speed of service. The first site opened in partnership with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s but the kitchen template is geared up for travel hubs, city centres and neighbourhood locations.
Group Gourmet 4
Gourmet 4 is a modern multi-cuisine concept that showcases various off-the-radar food brands all in one convenient location. With a mission to transform outdated restaurants into vibrant marketplaces where multiple brands offer a variety of different cuisines, the business the company has been instrumental in bringing brands such as Smokey Joe’s, Fat Burgers and Saucy Chicks to the attention of UK consumers. As a tech-led company, customers are able to order via a simple-to-use EPOS self-service that communicates each dish to the appropriate brand, increasing efficiency and facilitating more custom. With 13 locations in the UK – and an additional 25 new venues set to open later this year – the company is a prime example of successful business diversification under challenging economic conditions.
Loaf and Coal
The brainchild of former EAT food director Arnaud Kaziewicz, Loaf and Coal is a chef-led QSR business serving sustainably sourced food at speed. By using a mixture of equipment, including a Panasonic high speed oven, water bath and Unox combi oven, it is able to serve chef standard food at an average of £8 per head under five minutes from order. With plans to expand the concept into multiple sites in the south of England, the company prides itself on operating in a sustainable manner using online ordering and local sourcing. A Victoria Arduino Eagle One coffee machine has been specified for its environmental credentials. Carbon emissions from power consumption are minimised through the use of new materials and the unique design of the machine.
TGI Fridays (63rd+1st )
Inspired by the original Fridays, which was founded in 1965 on the corner of 63rd Street and 1st Avenue in Manhatten, 63rd+1st is a visible departure from the iconic restaurant brand but harks back to the same principles of classic cocktails, quality food and legendary atmosphere. The kitchen has been designed to deliver a New York-influenced menu that includes a selection of sharing plates, salad bowls and entrees celebrating both surf and turf with a focus on quality and provenance. Brunch is served seven days a week. The concept is seeking to appeal to a broad audience, including those who are mindful of ingredients and accustomed to members club and boutique hotel-style environments where they can work, rest and socialise.
The 2021 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Thursday 23 September, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Canary Wharf.