Last month, Egg Soldiers' Head of Trends, Kateline Porritt, spoke to William Reed's MCA Insight about the news that Japan's Toridoll is finalising a deal to buy Fulham Shore
, which owns pizza chain Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants, for £93.4m, with plans to expand in the UK and internationally.
She pointed out that such restaurants offer comfort, nostalgia
, and often affordability – making it a win across demographics, including families.
“Franco Manca and The Real Greek both do what they do very well and consistently,” she said. “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.”
Toridoll's plans to expand both brands across the UK and internationally comes straight from the multinational restaurant chain handbook, with many big names - from Tim Hortons to Popeyes - noticeably enacting bold expansion plans in the last few years, both consolidating in existing channels and emerging into new markets.
Big investment is the link here, and with The Financial Times this week publishing a feature on the plight of UK mid-market dining chains
, with many said to be "struggling to recover from the lows of the pandemic"; Toridoll's move, depending on success, could be just the start as investors look to capitalise even further on the cost-of-living chaos, beyond simply snapping up prime bricks-and-mortar locations as operations sadly exit, but by blurring the lines between mid-market and big chain restaurant expansion strategy with accessible, reliable casual-dining brands.