Long live the independent business
McDonald’s first opened its door in the UK in 1974 in Woolwich. Hamburgers were priced at 15p and cheeseburgers were 21p. There are now approximately 1,249 MacDonalds trading in the UK and over 1 million worldwide. However, it would seem that there is a real appetite within the marketplace and in particular in the fiercely competitive cities of Bristol and Bath for independent premium fast food businesses.
Recent openings in Bristol include the successful Atomic Diner in Union street. Josh Egleton’s Chicken Shed at Cargo Wharf has also been successful, suggesting that this trend could be here to stay.
Large American brands are targeting London with a scramble for suitable sites and brands. Examples include Five Guys, Smashburger, MOD Pizza and Shake Shack between them they have opened 116 stores. Others looking for their first restaurant include Margaritaville (beach themed), The Cheesecake Factory and Sushisamba.
It would seem, that there is a great opportunity for local independent operators to steal a march on the large corporates before they begin to target Bristol and Bath. The home grown food and beverage offer within the South West of England is so exciting and moving so quickly that it would be hard for the larger brands to establish themselves.
It is likely that before committing financially to opening large units they will trial their offer in pop-ups or food markets to establish the market before scaling up. To make it financially viable for the larger brands they look for units of 3,500 sq ft and over within high footfall locations. This gives the smaller local operators a huge opportunity to open in smaller niche locations.
Burgers never really went out of fashion, but they’re back with a passion and more popular than ever. There’s now a huge appetite for products with real provenance and authentic heritage. Burgers, especially handmade gourmet burgers prepared fresh on the premises, are bang on for this trend.
Location and lease terms can make or break a business, we recommend you seek professional advice.