While a well-loved cuisine among consumers, with the Mediterranean country a favourite among holidaymakers every year; Greek food is still yet to really make its mark on the UK restaurant sector.
Over the past decade, independent family-run eateries, The Real Greek restaurant chain (and a couple of other smaller operations), a flock of street food operators
, and a smattering of modern Greek approaches have enjoyed moderate successes while Italian, Asian and American chains dominate city streets.
There was something of a push towards a greater Greek footprint in London around 2015
, driven by the arrival of casual dining brands such as The Hungry Donkey, Greek Larder and Suvlaki. It proved to be a false dawn, however, with Greek cuisine remaining far from being a noteworthy food trend.
Fast-forward to today, and there's a growing pile of evidence to suggest Greek cuisine is far from finished in terms of attempting to establish itself as a key part of the UK's restaurant scene, with new openings once again on the rise across London
Then there's The Real Greek, which is set for expansion across both the UK and internationally as part of Japanese food conglomerate Toridoll's purchase of Fulham Shore
(the group that also manages pizza chain Franco Manca).
“Franco Manca and The Real Greek both do what they do very well and consistently,” our Head of Trends, Kateline Porritt, told William Reed's MCA Insight last month
“They are reliable brands that are authentic enough to their respective cuisines to be exported; that is, they are not too niche or Anglicised. The best thing about the two restaurants is they are not trendy in a faddy way, which means they have staying power. The trend they are riding is that of simplicity and accessibility.”
Egg Soldiers' Insights Lab is now hard at work analysing the potential growth of Greek cuisine in the UK as new restaurant entries continue to emerge, with a focus on the key menu offerings
, current consumer drivers and priorities when eating out, and what broader opportunities there might be for innovation teams in 2024.
Here, we highlight five of those entries, with traditional rustic, modern takes, and fusion among the routes being explored by this new wave of Greek restaurateurs.