Le Bab, the gourmet kebab restaurant based at Kingly Court, is exploring variations on its concept for its next London site
Co-founder Stephen Tozer said the next site would be a variation of the concept, with a different price point, though would still be an upmarket kebab restaurant focused on provenance and seasonality.
But he said high premiums and lack of available property options in the capital had forced the business to also consider alternative options for its next move.
Regional expansion to the likes of Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham is a possibility, though Tozer said they would need to be sure gourmet kebabs had gained enough traction to work outside London.
Tozer said the business was also looking at a number of options in foreign markets.
He predicted there would be opportunities as unsustainable rents affect occupancy levels, which would lead to a slackening of prices.
Tozer told MCA: “Property prices are getting so high they’re becoming unstainable for normal occupancy levels. People will start falling out of their leases, and when that happens after a critical mass of failure, the investment side falls away and you will see a drop in prices, because there’s no longer a queue for places.
“Right now opportunities are just so limited in London.
“With expansion we can’t be master of your own destiny. You can’t say this is the area we want to be in. You have to work backwards with what’s available.
“It can be disastrous if you compromise on location, especially at the current price levels, it can ruin everything you’ve worked towards.”
On regional expansion he said: “What works in London doesn’t necessarily work provincially. Some concepts are ripe for expansion, and have done so with success. Others have not gone so well. You have to be very sure something has gained enough traction. It’s got to be ready. If it is – Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham would be a dream come true. People spend as much as in London, rents are lower, and there isn’t a huge people shortage.
“I’d be a bit worried that kebabs are a bit out there. Even in London people take a bit of convincing to come and have a kebab because of their bad reputation.
“Certainly regional expansion is something we’d be keen to do when people are on board with the idea of a quality kebab.”