Clean Kitchen Club will open two locations near London’s Oxford Street within the year, while aiming to make its international launch in the UAE early next year, co-founder Mikey Pearce tells MCA.

The plant-based concept currently has two locations in Battersea Power Station (BPS) and Camden, along with a catering kitchen in Soho. It recently closed its Notting Hill location as a result of plans to focus on “big, bold” launches rather than sites with a smaller footprint.

The new sites will be c4,000 sq ft each and aim to open by the summer.

“Our goal was always to push boundaries and grow into a site like BPS,” Pearce says. “What Notting Hill does in a week, we do at BPS in a weekend. There are more opportunities to scale nationally and grow quicker rather than spending money to redo the Notting Hill site.

“We want there to be excitement when we open a store rather than have lots of stores on every high street.”

The recently opened BPS site trades well through day parts, with a new breakfast offering consisting of pastries as well as a lunch and dinner offer including wraps, burgers, and bowls.

The move to similar sites in central London was part of the natural brand evolution, with the Camden site also being renovated.

“We have a tunnel vision to ensure all Clean Kitchens look the same,” Pearce adds. “We want bigger footprint sites that really grow the brand.

“We’ve pivoted from trying to be the fastest to reach 1,000 sites…we’re taking bold choices instead of a cookie cutter approach.”

CLEAN KITCHEN DEC @lateef.photography-36

The brand is also in talks with a franchise partner in the UAE, with hopes to launch internationally early next year. Pearce sees the UAE as a focus for expansion due to stronger trading conditions and an emerging market for sustainable dining.

The vision is similar to the Shake Shack model, with a company-owned estate in the UK and franchisees in other countries.

Clean Kitchen also looks to expand beyond London, to cities like Brighton and Manchester by 2024 or 2025.

“We don’t have private equity or a big firm backing us; we’re very much a startup, so things have to go in our favour. It’s a tough economic market so we have to be very sharp in terms of what we take on.”

The strategy is to go with high-profile city centre locations that encourage footfall and make the brand better known, in an attempt to take market share from brands like Pret, McDonald’s, and Leon.

The brand has implemented only a minor price increase and looks to keep the offer as accessible as possible in a bid to ensure it sticks to its goal of bringing plant-based food to the mainstream. It has also introduced meal deals and free coffee refills, focusing on the latter to maximise all-day trade.

“Hiking prices up massively won’t be beneficial in the long run,” Pearce says.

The brand will also test out its retail range in a limited in-store launch this summer, while in talks with three retail partners.

“We’re not a hospitality business, we always said Clean Kitchen is a plant-based brand…we’ll probably go into retail with smoothie-based drinks, then plant-based ready meals.

“We want our retail expansion to be parallel with store expansion, but not deter from our mission of building exciting sites.”