Australian hospitality group Seagrass is planning to launch three restaurant brands in the UK over the next two years.
The group, which has 28 sites in Australia across five brands, will begin by rolling out its Ribs & Burgers chain in Teddington, South West London, on 15 September, as reported by MCA last week.
It is then aiming to bring its Italian Street Kitchen concept to the UK in 2017, followed by skewered meat and craft beer brand Hunter & Barrel in 2018.
George Stathakopoulos, managing director of Seagrass, told MCA’s sister title BigHospitality he was planning a ‘community-based rollout’ of Ribs & Burgers in areas such as Twickenham, Richmond, Clapham Junction and the South East.
Though Stathakopoulos described the chain as the ‘Nando’s of meat’, he said the group was unlikely to expand to more than 50 stores in five years.
Rather than trying to dent the UK’s saturated burger market, the Australian group is aiming to position Ribs & Burgers as a high quality rib restaurant.
Stathakopoulos said: “No matter what I say about our burgers, everyone in the UK has done it and thought of it. There’s a gap in the market for a good rib casual dining restaurant, some of our competitors haven’t covered that market so it’s a good opportunity.”
Ribs & Burgers will offer beef, lamb and pork ribs, with plans to serve a lesser-seen chicken rib in future.
Rather than ‘trying to take on the GBK’s of the world’ it will offer seven burgers ranging from a basic £5.50 bun to a pure wagyu burger at £16.50.
Stathakopoulos said the UK would be ‘one of the biggest growth areas’ for Seagrass, which is also planning expansion in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and the United States.
All Seagrass restaurants are company-owned rather than operated under franchise.
The 18-strong Ribs & Burgers chain launched in Australia in 2011 and has since opened its first overseas store in Las Vegas.
It will launch in South Africa a week after its UK debut on 21 September.