VQ, the extended hours restaurant concept, is looking to open 10 new sites in the next three years – though 24-hour opening hours will not be a crucial factor in future aquisitions.
Speaking after the group formerly known as Vingt-Quatre confirmed its fourth site at the Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate, co-founder Simon Prideaux told MCA that VQ would still try and maximise trading hours, but was flexible about staying open throughout the night.
Prideaux said he hoped VQ, which is chaired by Richard Northcott of Theo Fennell, could build on its new partnership with Dorsett City Hotels as it grows across the UK.
He said the group would look to open two or three sites a year, initially in London before looking to major UK cities, and was not wedded to opening in hotels, with high street and more traditional restaurant sites also under consideration, though this is dependent on licensing authorities.
Prideaux said: “We are dependent on local boroughs and licensing teams, and the City were much more forthcoming than some in granting us a late night drinks licence.
“We’re still keen on high street sites as well as hotels. We would like to always maximise trading hours in any site we take, but it is not crucial to our concept moving forward to be 24 hours.
”The sites perform extremely well in standard restaurant hours, and it’s an added bonus being able to trade overnight. We like to sweat the assets.
“Hotels are 24 hour businesses, and it’s easier to secure the necessary licences, which we will always try to do, but it’s not a key element of our growth strategy.”
Prideaux said VQ’s opening hours appealed to a broad range of customers, including late night revellers, hospitality and shift workers and international travellers looking for flexibility and convenience.
Since rebranding five years ago, Prideaux said the group had enjoyed double digit growth.
He said he was looking to bolster the senior management team as VQ looked to its next phase of growth.
He added: “Over the last few years we’ve definitely accelerated our growth, and we now feel we are ready. We understand our concept and brand, and who our clientele are, and where we want to head.
“It seems like the time is right. As it is for everyone, it’s a cautious time. It’s going to be tough for everyone. There will be some fallout, and maybe we can get some great sites as a result.”