Kieran Sherlock, long-time property director at YO! Sushi, has joined Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria concept, as a non-executive director, MCA understands.
Sherlock, who remains at YO! Sushi, will aid the five-strong group’s continued expansion in the capital and its eventual move into the regions. He has spent 11 years overseeing property at YO!.
Pizza Pilgrims co-founder Thom Elliot told MCA: “Kieran sees the property world like Neo sees the Matrix. He understands its dark arts better than anyone we have met - and it is a pleasure having him on the board to help us make the correct decisions on where we plant our flags. He also loves limoncello - so it felt like a perfect match.”
The group’s next venture will open in West India Quay. At 5,500sq ft, the pair want to turn the site into a ‘pizza playground’.
With space for 250 covers, the intention is to create a 150-cover pizzeria and use the remainder of the space for entertainment, with the inclusion of the UK’s longest fussball table and an area with sofas where customers can sit and play computer games. They even intend to install a bocci ball court, where customers can try they hand at the Italian version of the game boules.
“On any business plan this would raise eyebrows, but it is really fun and different,” said Elliot. “We haven’t gone ‘this is what a Pizza Pilgrims looks like so let’s do 50 of them’, but rather thought ‘that looks fun and might work, let’s do it’.
Growth has so far been through cashflow, except for Garrick Street, for which a bank loan was taken out. “Every decision is ours. No one says we need to do this or that. We wouldn’t give that up that in order to hit growth targets.”
As for growth beyond West India Quay, an opening date for which hasn’t been set, the company is looking outside of central London. “The classic street food approach would be to find a deserted warehouse that attracts hipsters, but I don’t buy that anymore,” said Thom’s brother James. “The Rib Man opening in Euston station is what street food should be doing; bringing people great food at the right price. We want to go wherever people will by our pizzas.”
Places earmarked include Peckham and Brixton and also east London.
“We want to be able to fit into small awkward spaces and not pay massive premiums for big glass boxes. The whole world is looking for 3,000sq ft, ground floor sites with three-phase electric but that dream is so ludicrously expensive you can’t make it stack up,” said James.