Black & Blue, the London-based steak restaurant chain, has consolidated its London estate with the disposal of sites to two concepts making their UK debuts.
MCA understands that the now four-strong Black & Blue has disposed of its Berners Street site to Mudman, the operator of a number of international restaurant brands in Thailand, which aims to open its first Greyhound Café in the UK on the site.
At the same time, Black & Blue has sold its Wigmore Street unit to a new Russian-backed concept called Fancy Crab, the launch of which is being overseen by former Jamie Oliver Restaurants Group business development director Ellie Frost.
Mudman, the master franchise operator of Au Bon Pain, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand, announced earlier this year that it planned to bring its Greyhound Cafe concept to the UK.
The company said it hoped to open a flagship store in London in the fourth quarter of this year as part of international expansion plans.
The London opening, with a budget reported to be between £1.8m and £2.4m, would pave the way for Mudman to sell Greyhound Cafe franchise rights in Europe.
The company currently operates 14 Greyhound sites in Thailand.
It also operates 307 Dunkin’ Donuts, 72 Au Bon Pain and 34 Baskin-Robbins sites internationally.
Mudman chief executive Nadim Xavier Salhani said: “After England, we will target opening Greyhound Cafes in one to two more European countries a year. We believe in the cafe brand image and uniqueness.”
MCA understands that Fancy Crab will open next month and showcase red king crab in its debut 150-cover site. It is thought that the company backing the new concept will look to add further sites in the capital going forward.
The disposals leave Black & Blue, which was founded 17 years ago in Kensington by Alan Bacon and Nick Hill, with restaurants in Borough, Waterloo, Notting Hill Gate and on the Southbank.
Kiren Dhesi & Emma Cousins of CDG Leisure acted on the Black & Blue disposals.