Lussmanns, the sustainable fish and grill restaurant group, will look to continue its steady growth trajectory, adding two or three sites a year with the support of backer Luke Johnson, MCA has learnt.
Founder Andrei Lussmann said the forthcoming opening in Tring, which he described as a secondary town with strong potential, opened up opportunities in places like Thame and Amersham, due to their geographical proximity.
From there he would like to “join the dots” and could look to open in places such as Marlowe and Beaconsfield, before creeping towards the M4 corridor and into Surrey, where he believes the concept would do well.
Lussmann said Johnson’s investment had funded the last two sites, and the serial sector investor would help review financing with a view to opening two or three sites next year.
Describing his approach to site selection, Lussmann said: “It’s really important we join up the dots - it’s quite provincial approach, there’s nothing unique in it - but it’s clear if they’re not close to one another we can’t support the restaurants as well as we ought to.
“I’m interested in being a bit more pioneering, because you get a better return on your investment and people will come to you. We’re not a destination restaurant, but people do come to us.
“As we grow I’m looking at areas which aren’t as obvious, such as Tring, which is a secondary town, which will hopefully pull people out of Birkenstead.”
Lussmann said the group’s growth since it opened its first site in St Albans in 2002, which is starting to pick up under Johnson’s private backing, put the business in a stronger position over younger brands.
He said: “The view is we will take a measured approach to growth, I don’t have the appetite for any growth more than three a year.
“Going from two to four is still a massive growth spurt in terms of infrastructure, senior management and back office.
“It’s important not to lose sight of our offer or homogenise what we’re doing, as we’re very personality driven. Each one is very different to the others, albeit from a similar menu.”
“I’ve got no interest in growing too fast, and Luke was aware of that when he invested, which makes it all the more interesting as he can be quite impatient and likes to see things happen in my experience.
He added: “It’s obvious our past as a small company, and developing a strong knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, is essential to our success. We’re quite mature as businesses go.
“We’ve made lots of mistakes, but because we haven’t diluted the competence and values of our staff, we’ve kept the business going and numbers coming in.
“It’s a huge advantage that we’ve grown slowly and grown organically.”