Caravan, the all-day dining restaurant and coffee group, could open two more sites in London, before looking at regional and international sites.
Co-founder Laura Harper-Hinton told the European Coffee Expo the group was looking at sites outside London, but her preference was for sites abroad, hinting this could mean an opening in the founding trio’s homeland of New Zealand.
Harper-Hinton told delegates in-house drinks would be a major focus of innovation for the group at its new R&D space and roastery, in a 8,500 sq ft Victorian Warehouse, north of King’s Cross.
Caravan’s drinks department will develop and create ferments, sodas, kombuchas, juices, smoothies and cocktails on tap, such as pineapple rind tepache sparkling soda; fermented sake lees martini; and 24 carrot cocktail: a carrot top and turmeric shrub with tequila & house-infused falernum.
Harper-Hinton said the appointment of new finance director Greg Hinchliffe from Bill’s took the pressure off her and partners Miles Kirby and Chris Ammermann, who she admitted where not natural numbers people.
On future prospects, following a forthcoming opening in Fitzrovia, she said: “I think we’ve got another couple of sites in London in us. We’ve been looking outside London. But I think what’s more exciting is going aboard. Maybe that’s because I’m from New Zealand.”
On Hinchliffe’s appointment, she said: “None of us are natural numbers people. The finance side is not something we have been as up on as we should have been.”
She said the group’s ‘well travelled’ food and drink style meant it was not wedded to one particular type of cuisine, and enabled them to innovate and stay ahead of trends.
From a people perspective, she said Caravan has a mantra of “constant gentle pressure”, which encourages teams to get the best out of people, while working hard to high standards.
She said when Caravan first launched its all-day dining restaurant and coffee shop in Exmouth Market, some people thought they were trying to do too many things, and that the concept was muddled, but she said they had been vindicated by its success and subsequent adoption by other operators.