Alan Yau, the founder of Wagamama, Busaba Eathai and Hakkasan, has told MCA that he is close to securing a first site for a mono-product version of his fledgling Turkish pizza concept Babaji Pide.
Yau is believed to be in talks on a site near Exmouth Market for the format, which will be more focused and give the concept greater scope for expansion.
He told MCA that the Turkish pizza concept, which will launch in Dubai later this year, has the better rollout potential at present than his other fledgling pub concept Duck & Rice.
He launched the first Babaji Pide site in Shaftesbury Avenue at the end of 2014, with a further full version of the format site set to open at the Bishop’s Quarter scheme in Bayswater.
Yau told MCA: “We are looking to make the Babaji proposition more focused, and my ambition is to push Pide as a mono-product, with a similar roll-out model to what Pizza Express did with pizza.”
Yau has also previously talked about linking up with SSP to take the concept, which is backed by Meir Abutbul, one of the investors behind the Blakes Hotel in London and co-founder of the Apostrophe chain, into airports.
He also touched on his next project – a new food social platform called Disrupting Taste.
He told Business Reporter: “On the demand side, there will be people who are seeking taste and people who have the taste, and on the supply side there will be the food providers – not just the restaurants but anything and everything you can put in your mouth.”
The idea came about ten to 12 years ago, when Yau started to get enquiries from friends and customers about places he would recommend to eat at in different cities.
He said: “It really led me to think I could develop the idea further into a technology platform. In those days it was very hard for me to do that because I have no training in that sector. About six or eight months ago something clicked and I was able to process the idea the same way I am able to incubate an idea for the restaurant business.”