Christian Rose, Searcys managing director - retail, spoke to Janie Manzoori-Stamford about the company's latest opening, a Pavilion pop-up at Bicester Village
Tell us about the Pavilion
Cricket legend Darren Gough officially opened the Pavilion at Bicester Village for us on 1 June. The "pop-up" is modelled on the traditional English cricket pavilion, while the menu combines afternoon tea, sandwiches and English sparkling wines. It includes fresh and locally sourced ingredients from the nearby Blenheim Palace estate, where we also run the catering, conference and banqueting business.
How does it fit with Searcys' long-term retail strategy?
As well as making good business sense, Bicester is a great location for us, helping to expose the brand to a large number of consumers. Our intention is for Searcys to become well known with consumers as a retail brand, not just an upmarket catering business, and this site will significantly help our progress down this route.
How do you meet the needs of Bicester's international clientele?
Many of the international visitors to Bicester combine their visit with excursions to the likes of Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds, so the Pavilion's quintessentially English design and menu complements this experience.
If a success, might there be a permanent Pavilion at Bicester?
Never say never. The Pavilion has been developed as a pop-up presence over the summer months, and the site occupied is very much a temporary one. But we're open minded, and if the venture proves successful for both us and Bicester, I'm sure we'll look at how we can create a more permanent presence.
What's next for Searcys?
We have fabulously exciting plans for Searcys' retail arm and have two concepts currently under development. One takes our Champagne bar and restaurant concept to the next stage while the second is something totally different and has real scalability. That's all I can say for now, so it's a case of watch this space.
With the existing estate, we are revamping the Champagne Bar at St Pancras, developing our private member's club at the Gherkin and finalising a refurbishment at 30 Pavilion Road, Knightsbridge.