Tapas Revolution, the Spanish casual dining brand, has lined up a new flagship London site, at Westfield Stratford, MCA has learnt.
The 2,600 sq ft restaurant in Chestnut Plaza will have 108 covers and is set for a June opening.
Founder and culinary director Omar Allibhoy told MCA the brand had pulled out of planned sites at Oxford Westgate and Manchester Arndale after a close study of the demographics, with Manchester already having eight Spanish restaurants within a half mile radius.
Allibhoy said the Mobeus Private Equity-backed brand was looking to add further London sites, in high footfall locations like Kings Cross, Waterloo and Liverpool Street, as well as looking at regional openings in Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and Brighton.
He said after opening in Windsor, the first outside a shopping centre, the brand would look to do further high street stores.
The brand is focussing on Spanish fiesta atmosphere, with the launch of sharing paellas, flamenco dancing and classes, cocktail making lessons and churros & chocolate fondue.
On the next site in Stratford, he told MCA: “The numbers back it up. Westfield are very keen for us to be there. There’s not that much competition in the Spanish restaurant market in the UK, it’s quite a small. As we’re not competing against Italian or burgers, we have quite a lot of air to breathe.
“It will take us to eight, making us the largest chain of Spanish restaurants in the UK – which was always the dream. It’s taken us time, we’re doing it slowly, and doing it well.
“We’ve seen what’s happened to the brands that have grown too fast, but we’re not afraid to keep growing. We have a very differentiated product. Though a lot have tried to get on the tapas train, it’s a Spanish tradition that we do better than anyone else.”
On Windsor, the brand’s seventh store, he told MCA: “Until now we’ve always been part of shopping centres in one shape or another.
“This is our first high street site, an old Grade II building. It’s very early, but we’re very happy with it at the minute. Now we’re hoping for a busy season to start hopefully after Easter.
On pulling out of Westgate and the Arndale, he said: “We were at the point where we were learning a lot about our demographics, and research said we shouldn’t do it. We went with the numbers and getting more scientific about where we open.
“Manchester is oversaturated with Spanish restaurants - there are eight within half a mile. We didn’t feel we would add enough with a ninth, and thought it better to invest in places with less risk.”