Fresh salad concept Urban Greens is looking to cement its presence in London, with an eye on opening more sites in the city centre, co-founders Rushil Ramjee and Houman Ashrafzadeh tell MCA.

Currently operating two sites in Canary Wharf and St James’ Park, the concept – which launched in 2019 – is about to open its third store in St Paul’s One New Change this month and is on the lookout for more sites in the capital this year.

While aiming to cater to office workers and the lunch day part, opportunities in residential areas would also be welcome, according to Ramjee and Ashrafzadeh.

“We’re really busy in the evening as well, our delivery channel kicks off like crazy,” Ramjee says. “We built the brand for London and for the lunchtime trade, but we’re seeing a growing demand despite work from home.

“Fridays are quieter than they used to be, but we still see queues at the door all the time.”

“We know the London market very well; we think we can have an Urban Greens on every high street,” Ashrafzadeh adds.

“There’s massive room for growth. Right now we’re focused on London.”

Urban Greens will look to other cities once it solidifies its presence in the capital. It also has a B2B offer, while “the vision from the beginning was to get into retail,” Ashrafzadeh adds.

Urban Greens 1

Each venue serves 12 salads, based on chef-developed recipes, with the goal of innovating the high street lunchtime offer. While recipes are flexible, they have been designed to ensure ingredients and flavours go together rather than leaving it up to the customer.

“We wanted something healthy and fast to fuel your day, but with a bit of premiumness,” Ramjee says. “We felt that was missing in the lunchtime takeaway scene.

“We have a menu, and while you can change a few things, our staff is trained to make sure you don’t make a mistake.

“We have a Scandi feel, an open, transparent vibe with no gimmicks, and we do one thing really well.”

While it doesn’t currently serve hot food, the brand is open to adding hot elements to broaden the variety of its offer. It nevertheless sees strong evening trade.

“We were lucky we took our time building a brand to fit into different revenue sources, so we survived everything over the last couple years,” Ashrafzadeh states. “I’d say we’ve never been busier than we are now.”

While price rises have been implemented, the concept hasn’t seen much impact on volumes.

“People are willing to spend a couple more pounds to eat healthy and have quality.

“A lot of people realised London is lacking in innovation and are on the same mission as we are. There are a whole new wave of concepts coming and, to be honest, it’s about time.”