Chicago Rib Shack, the Rockpool Investment-backed restaurant group, is looking to open its second restaurant under the new neighbourhood format in Twickenham this November, M&C Report has learnt.
The group led by Christian Arden opened its first site under the new format in Clapham last month. Arden said the group is looking at neighbourhood locations as well as high streets and shopping centres for future openings.
Arden told M&C: “Shopping centres have become very competitive and there are a lot of good operators chasing the same footfall, consequently it has been harder to compete for the sites against the big boys. I’m reluctant to pay the current sky high premiums for high street sites that are often failed operations. Consequently we have had to be canny and tested our first restaurant site in Clapham that serves the neighbourhood.”
“It is a full-format restaurant with a bar and a broader menu than the shopping centres and an emphasis on good old-fashioned service,” Arden said. “Footfall is not guaranteed but we are looking to become a destination restaurant with lower overheads.”
As well as the Twickenham site, which the group is in talks with, Arden said there will be at least another three next openings year, which will include two more neighbourhood restaurant concept sites and one shopping centre format.
He described the new format as “easy going” and at a marginally higher price point than the shopping centre format at £10 - £15 a head. “Each will look and feel very different and be tailored to the local neighbourhood rather than rolling out the same format.”
Arden said the group will continue to look at both high street and shopping centre locations as well as neighbourhood sites going forward and hopes to reach 10 sites by 2017 keeping an emphasis on the south.
He added that many staff have come from the surrounding areas, which he said” “It is really rewarding to train young people in their first job in the restaurant sector. We hope to to staff the new site and add to the neighbourhood feel.
As well as the restaurant in Clapham, the brand also operates three shopping centre format sites in Westfield Stratford, WestQuay Southampton and Trinity Leeds.