Japanese restaurant group Bincho Yakitori has insisted that its expansion plans are still on track, despite deciding to shut its flagship restaurant at the Oxo Tower.
The London-based group, which specialises in yakitori, a Japanese style of cooking involving skewered meat and vegetables cooked on a grill, was founded by partners Dominic Ford, David Miney and Ronnie Truss in 2007. The concept launched at the Oxo Tower on the site of Richard Neat's former eponymous restaurant.
A second, smaller site opened in Soho last summer, marking the beginning of a planned expansion, and the group is also planning a third concept, based on smaller outlets set around a central island with between 20 and 30 seats. These form part of plans to roll out Bincho Yakitori as an informal restaurant brand similar to Wagamama or Ping Pong.
But the group has now shut the 200-seat Oxo Tower restaurant because it is too formal to fit in with this model, according to Truss, who took on the managing director's role after Ford resigned last year.
"It's both a great and a difficult site as it's always busy but it's not easy to make money," he told Caterer. "The restaurant will be closed for the next two months and we may or may not reopen it in March under a different guise."
The group is in discussions over three to four potential new sites and has appointed property agent Christie & Co to find further outlets, Truss added.
By Kerstin Kühn
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