Craft burger brand Black Tap the latest US chain to enter the UK despite cost of living crisis

Despite skyrocketing operational costs and projected decreases in dining out, US fast casual and QSR brands continue to enter and expand in the UK, with Black Tap the next to enter the fray in 2023

New York-based casual dining group Black Tap, which offers ‘craft’ burgers, beer and milkshakes, is planning its UK market entry despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, with the brand aiming to open its first London restaurant by summer 2023.

Pegged as a 'new take on a classic NYC burger joint', Black Tap's main offerings include The Old Fashioned (prime burger, cremini mushrooms, swiss, caramelised onion and horseradish sauce); The Greg Norman (½ pound wagyu beef burger, house buttermilk-dill sauce, blue cheese and rocket); and the Crispy Chicken burger with buttermilk coleslaw, coriander, fresh lime, spicy mayo and Korean BBQ.

Black Tap is the latest in a growing line of American casual dining and QSR brands to enter the UK market of late, despite uncertainties and challenges brought about by the cost-of-living crisis.

Indeed, fast food chain Wendy's, which launched in London earlier this year, recently told WRBM's Big Hospitality that it believes the UK remains “the big opportunity in Europe" despite skyrocketing costs and lower sales than expected, with the term 'bullish' a common descriptor for US brands in the UK as expansion plans continue to be revealed.

Over the past five years, Texan chicken wing brand Wingstop, Canadian coffee and pastries chain Tim Hortons and, more recently, Louisiana fried-chicken concept Popeyes have been accelerating their UK expansion plans, with the successes of Five Guys and Shake Shack over the past decade spurring on strategies.

Affordable dining experiences will be high on the consumer agenda as we head into 2023, with US fast casual and QSR brands positioned to take advantage.

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