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‘It’s about trying to maximise whatever equipment we already have’ – Wahlburgers refocuses UK strategy without kitchen surgery

Paul Wahlberg, co-founder and executive chef

US chain Wahlburgers insists it has been able to dramatically change the strategy of its first UK site without having to rip out a kitchen that was installed less than a year ago.

Wahlburgers opened its first UK burger restaurant in Covent Garden last year, but it has now introduced a full-service offer with a revamped menu and new opening time of 9am following an internal review of the business and “feedback” from customers.

With a range of new starters, sides and main courses added to the existing menu, as well as a dedicated breakfast offer, the UK kitchen team has had to refocus operationally.

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But co-founder and executive chef Paul Wahlberg – who owns the business with TV star brothers Paul and Donnie – told FEJ it has been able to implement the new approach without significantly altering the infrastructure.

“For us, it’s about trying to maximise whatever equipment we already have. And to really figure out new ways of doing things. There are certain pieces of equipment that we’ve been able to do different things with that maybe it wasn’t really designed for. And just a lot of equipment that we’re using is pretty universal, in the sense of it being able to manage many jobs.

“One of the only other exceptions, obviously, is the Winston CVaps [cook and hold technology to maintain precise temperature and also moisture levels] – those we absolutely love.”

Mr Wahlberg said that it endeavours to create consistency in its kitchen, whether it’s internationally or across the more than 30 stores it runs in the US.

“We try to use the same equipment in all of our kitchens, here or back in the US, but obviously some things travel better than others. Trying to get things like the CVaps as a consistent item throughout the whole franchise would be amazing but is difficult.

“Something we really want to start learning about is your really solid English brands of equipment, and European brands of equipment, because obviously they’re more readily available here. But, like I said, if we can get our CVaps, the rest of it we can work out.”

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Andrew Seymour

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