Antipodea, the Australian-style all-day brasserie concept from Jason Wells, is launching a collaboration with Jigsaw, with the debut café to open at the retailer’s Notting Hill shop in Westbourne Grove, MCA has learnt.
The Wells Group will then go on to open cafes at Jigsaw’s Chelsea shop, on Duke of York Square, followed be a possible larger café at the Covent Garden flagship.
The Notting Hill site will have 12 covers outside at the front, 10 inside, and the potential for 15 at the back over the summer.
It will have an A1 offer, with a scaled-down menu including all-day breakfast and brunch, and fresh bread and cakes from the in-house bakers.
The collaboration follows a recent pop-up with Selfridges, which could have gone permanent, but Wells said the marketplace was “a bit cannibalised”.
Wells told MCA: “There needs to be a synergy there, and Jigsaw are looking to reinvigorate their brand. They have some sites in Sydney, and have obviously got a taste for that Antipodean way of life. What we’re going to do is blend jigsaw products into the café.”
Wells said the collaboration did not detract from the core standalone brands: “We are still looking for sites – though we are being quite selective. We opened two last year and this partnership hasn’t taken out focus away from that.
“This is by no means taking us off into a new direction. It’s a JV with Jigsaw.”
Jigsaw’s UK headquarters in Kew are a stone’s throw from the original Antipodea site in Kew Gardens. The retailer has 80 stores in the UK and Ireland, with concessions in 36 department stores.
On the trend for collaborations, Wells said: “Probably what’s going to happen in the high street is there’s going to be collaborative situations where younger up and coming F&B operators are going to have opportunities to do these sort of things.
“It is fraught with danger though because either party can damage the other’s reputations. From our point of view, the exposure is minimised. Jigsaw is looking for footfall in the sites, to be more interactive.
“The idea is if you go in and feel more relaxed about the environment, you get that halo effect of feeling happy, and I can imagine their retail spend will rise.”
Wells’ construction business Iron Bark is working on the builds of the new Jigsaw sites, and has also started doing commercial restaurant projects, including Bao & Bing, the concept from former Wells Group chief executive Paul Sarlas.
Meanwhile Wells said supplier price rises were forcing him to rise prices, and he suggested variable pricing as an option.
He added: “When you’re a chain, you go in at the same price all over your estate - even though some rents are much higher. The industry should start to reflect prices relative to build costs and occupancy costs. We are looking at it and I’m sure others will too.
“We do all our own butchery and baking in-house - but you can’t sustain that same USP without passing on some of the prices to the consumer.”