Clockjack co-founder Jerry Goldberg has told MCA the group has disposed of its Soho site to Dirty Bones and is focussing on expanding its delivery radius and developing hybrid sites.
The rotisserie chicken concept is also introducing external brands to bolster its menu, starting with Surrey-based dessert producer, The Ripe Banana Co.
Goldberg said the group had been facing a “fairly shocking rent increase” at the Denman Street site and that Dirty Bones was now developing the site.
It leaves the group with a delivery kitchen in Monument and a restaurant in Woolwich.
Goldberg said the kitchen provided ample capacity for the group to continue extending its radius in London – where it already delivers as far West as Soho and East to Canary Wharf. He said this would remain the focus before considering expansion to other cities.
He said the intention was to further develop the Woolwich site into a hybrid delivery hub/restaurant, with the possibility of rolling this model out to other outlying areas of the capital.
He said the delivery business, which launched in June last year, continued to go from strength to strength with double-digit growth each month.
He added: “London is such a huge market that for the moment that gives us plenty of opportunities. A lot of our business at the moment is corporate so you have to look at how that would work in other cities. Also, Deliveroo are currently the only partner that has nationwide coverage. We currently work with various providers in London, who cover different networks.
“We have done a lot of work to the menu. It’s important when you’re moving into delivery that you’re not just replicating the restaurant menu because it’ an entirely different business. We’re keen to add in other brands. The kind of things the Ripe Banana can provide would have been a stretch for the Clockjack brand to extend to on its own. It has also given them the chance to plug into our network and on the back of it they have been listed on Uber separately.”
On its remaining restaurant, he said: “The Woolwich site is low costs and an up and coming area. There are still places like that. We would like to evolve into a hybrid delivery/restaurant operation. The conventional delivery businesses don’t tend to operate there because there isn’t the base of restaurants to pool.
“If we can get that hybrid model to work then there’s a lot of growth potential there. The two businesses are so far apart so the hybrid requires a lot of different skills. We want to experiment with that.”
On the impact of the growth in delivery on the eating out market, Goldberg said: “We know that the growth of delivery has been driven by customer demand but how much it is substituting domestic meals and how much would have translated to trips to restaurants is very difficult to calculate.
“My judgement is that it’s going to come from two – from restaurants in some circumstances inevitably. But probably a far larger element is the ready meal industry. That’s where the real impact will be felt because there is no way delivery can replicate the experience of eating out but it can above and beyond a dine for £10.”