Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett has said the group is not focussing on the growth of its sister brand Foxlow, acknowledging mistakes her made in trying to establish a more mid-market concept.
Beckett, speaking at Restaurant magazine’s R200 conference, said the group underestimated how challenging it would be to create a more accessible concept, and admitted the price point of around £35 per head was not perceived as value-oriented as anticipated relative to Hawksmoor.
Hawksmoor has opened five Foxlow restaurants, which he said share a similar approach to sourcing, cooking and people, but in smaller, more accessible, neighbourhood sites at a lower pricepoint, thought two have closed, in Chiswick and Stoke Newington.
Beckett said the group was humbled by the bigger brand approach to casual dining, which he recognised they had initially dismissed as Hawksmoor established itself.
Describing the intention of Foxlow, he told R200: “The idea with Foxlow was to take some of the things that we most cared about, and put it into a setting that solved the problem of the problems of Hawksmoor, which are big, not inexpensive, and only in certain areas.
“We thought if we could do that at £35 a head, in smaller restaurants, more broadly, with the same attitude to sourcing and cooking and how we trade staff, and make a menu that is more accessible, a more flexible.”
On the challenges they faced with the brand, he continued: “We have learned a lot about the things we didn’t know.
“In the past, when we had two or three sites, when were indie, upstarty wankers, we thought the big guys don’t know the stuff we know.
“But oh my gosh, they are so good at some of the stuff that we are not amazingly good at.
“We also learned it was completely ridiculous to think that if £65 a head was expensive than £35 would be super cheap. That’s not where most people are growing restaurants. That’s still expensive to most people
“At the moment we aren’t going to open any more Foxlows - we will focus on Hawksmoor, and trying to get this New York project off the ground.”
Beckett was speaking about the group’s long held ambition to open in New York, due to open in mid-2019 after five years of delays.