Salt ‘n’ Sauce, the fish and chip spin-off from Bonnie Gull, has ambitions to open 10 takeaway sites in the next three years, MCA has learnt.

Co-founder Alex Hunter, whose first site of the brand is to open at Oxford’s Westgate Social next week, said they would look target regional, towns and cities with tourist and students, such as Brighton, Cambridge, Exeter and St Andrews.

Their unit at Westgate Social is a kiosk with communal dining space, and he said they would continue to look at grab and go sites, in high streets as well as shopping centres.

Hunter said this focus on small sites outside of London was part of a business model to minimise rents, rates and capex, and would help the business grow quickly.

He added while Salt ‘n’ Sauce’s contemporary foodie take on fish and chips contrasted with previous attempts to rollout a premiumised or romanticised version of the British classic.

Hunter said: “We have more sites on the horizon. We’re not going to try and flip it out to 50 sites in five minutes but we certainly want expand the brand, we don’t want to hang about.

“We’ve tried and tested the brand [on Pergola on the Roof] and have a good idea what we’re doing with it.

“Our focus at Oxford will be establishing quality, level of service and making sure people like it - and if they do in the next few months I see no reason why we can’t move onto another in the next few months.

“We are ambitious. If we can get it right early, there’s no reason why we can’t open 10 sites in three years.”

Hunter said Salt ‘n’ Sauce, which is part of Bonnie Gull Holdings, but is overseen by him rather than business partner Danny Clancy, would not be looking to open in London in the short to medium term.

He said: “London is pretty saturated, the rents and rates are extortionate.

“I think we can be a bit smarter in the short term and go to regional, touristy market and university towns like, where we can capture the market faster and make a bigger splash - though I imagine at some point we will come back to London.”

Hunter said the format would remain grab and go, rather than casual dining.

He said: “That’s the model we’re going for – it’s a grab and go concept. We are not looking for big sites with lots of covers, we want small sites, with no more than 15 covers. It’s all part of our model to be smart with rent, rates and capex. We are trying to keep or costs low so we can grow quite fast.”

On the potential for a quality fish and chip shop, where others have failed, he added: “We are not trying to do posh fish and chips – I think that’s tried and failed, I don’t think it’s exciting.

“Others have tried to do the dated, retro brand thing, a throwback to the 50s and 60s, which is fine on a local level, but if you want to get beyond that, you need to do something more exciting and sexy.

“It’s a modern foodie take on fish and chips. We are trying to bring quality to it. Very few fish and chip groups use fresh British fish, which is a challenges price-wise, but I think we can overcome that, as sourcing is the key to our brand with Bonnie Gull.”

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