Jones the Grocer 1

Jones the Grocer (JTG) is keen to grow the business in the UK market as it launches its first site in Europe in partnership with TRG Concessions.

The Australia-founded all-day dining brand operates 37 sites across the Middle East, Africa, and India. The UK venue, which opened yesterday (12 June) at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2, has been two years in the making, with a view to expanding to high streets and other formats in the next 18 months, JTG CEO Yunib Siddiqui and TRG Concessions CEO Jon Knight tell MCA.

MCA reported in November 2022 that the artisan café, bakery, and deli concept had announced a strategic development partnership with TRG Concessions. The new site helps cement JTG’s status as an internationally recognisable brand, now present in six countries worldwide, and providing franchise opportunities that will facilitate its expansion across the UK.

“We’ve got a healthy future ahead of us,” Knight says. “There’s not many offers in that all-day space that move nicely between day parts.

“You can get so many eyes on the brand in airports – that’s where we build brand equity.”

The new venue at Heathrow includes a full-serve restaurant as well as Jones the Grocer Express, a grab-and-go offering. The restaurant offers a seasonally led menu with a range of cuisines, alongside a live grill, pizza and pasta section, and charcuterie, cheese & wine bar.

It features burgers and pizza plus dishes with Antipodean, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences, such as chilli yuzu ponzu soba noodles and chargrilled harissa chicken, while the drinks offer includes craft beer and cocktails as well as JTG’s own brand wine.

The grab-and-go offer, meanwhile, spotlights Melbourne-style roast coffee, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and pastries. While JTG traditionally features a gourmet grocery offering, the airport site will offer gifting options such as artisan chocolate and cheese.

Jones the Grocer

A Heathrow venue is an effective way to introduce the brand to the UK market, Siddiqui acknowledges – but only 12 out of 37 JTG sites are in travel hubs.

“TRG are great partners and this is a strategic way to get eyeballs on the brand,” he tells MCA. “It depends on the rollout opportunities, but I’d like to see the brand [go beyond travel hubs] within the next 18 months.”

Siddiqui, who acquired JTG in 2018, adds that aside from some tweaks in the menu, the offer has stayed true to the brand. Differentiation is key, with highlights including dishes like poached eggs on sweet potato and the Jones burger with wagyu trimmings.

While JTG sits in the premium casual space, it offers a variety of cuisines as well as healthy and more indulgent options. From families to business travellers, the ‘melting pot’ menu has something for everyone, Siddiqui says.

“We thought it was a brand that would resonate well with the British public,” Knight explains. “We’ve got vibrancy around our breakfast menu, along with Asian and Middle Eastern influences plus lots of fresh fruit and veg in our core menu. It lends itself well to an all-day concept.”

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The idea is avoid clear demarcation between day parts, with ingredients and dishes that transition seamlessly from day to night. While travel hub sites emphasise the dine-in element over the grocery element, the format is flexible between its full-serve and ‘Express’ iterations.

“We know where our strengths sit,” Knight continues. “Many travel hub operators are active in [Terminal 2], but TRG Concessions is known for full-serve dining.

“Heathrow saw an opportunity to move this space on after the former lease ended, and we ticked all the boxes.”

With consistent traveller numbers throughout the year, Heathrow was also a tactical decision to host the brand’s debut, he adds – albeit TRG Concessions sees further opportunity in airports across the UK.

The opening reaffirms TRG Concessions’ focus to identify innovative, emerging food concepts and bring them to life, with JTG sure to be a success, says Knight: “We’ve got a healthy future ahead of us.”