In a MCA exclusive, David Page, executive chairman of Fulham Shore, announces a new operating format called ‘light kitchens’. Two Franco Manca light kitchen sites, which have limited dine-in and additional delivery capacity will be opened in London to cater for the company’s continued strong growth in delivery.

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Franco Manca executive chairman David Page has unveiled a new restaurant format, the light kitchen, which aims to take advantage of the continued strong growth in delivery and takeaway, without any of the potential negative aspects of dark kitchens.

Dark kitchens have previously been trialled by the group, but Page said they were the “antithesis of what we’re about”. 

Two sites in secondary locations in London have already been identified. They are described by Page as being situated in “densely populated” areas, with good catchments, but with the promise of “cheap rent” due, in part, to the smaller than average footprint. One location is west of Kilburn, the other is in south London. The south London location will serve both areas north and south of the River Thames.

“We are about creating restaurants where people meet, come out of their houses and eat together,” Page said. 

“We have tried dark kitchens. You lock somebody in a box for eight hours, and expect them to perform and it’s not really fair on them. And we don’t like doing it.”

Page described the light kitchen as taking a hybrid approach.

Whereas the typical Franco Manca site seats approximately 70 people inside, the light kitchen concept would include seating but for smaller numbers of people, around 20 to 25.

Light kitchens will feature two ovens, with one oven catering solely for delivery and takeaway orders, the other oven will likely to be more of a mix, suggests Page, catering in part for delivery and takeaway, while also serving customers seated in the restaurant. It is likely this approach will flex depending on the time of day, or day of the week.