Fast-food chain Pod is planning to double in size within the next 18 months, its chief executive and founder has told Caterer.
Tim Hall said that the firm, which opened its ninth store in London's King William Street last month, hoped to reach about 20 outlets by 2012. Pod snapped up the King William Street site after Fresh Italy, the Italian restaurant and take-away chain formerly owned by Tom Allchurch, went into administration last month.
Meanwhile, Pod is also close to sealing a deal to open a 10th site before the end of the year.
The group's restaurants offer a range of health-conscious food in compostable packaging, such as wraps, salads and hot lunches, predominantly for the breakfast and lunch markets.
"We think the market is now ready for Pod in a way that when we opened in 2005-06 it wasn't, even though it doesn't seem like that long ago. People just weren't thinking about nutrition and health in the way that they are now and that trend is accelerating all the time," Hall said.
So far, all of Pod's stores are based in the centre of the Capital, although Hall indicated that he would not rule out expanding outside of London. "A lot of chains are very successful throughout the country so I don't see any reason why we would struggle. For us it is about finding a location where you have the right combination of people wanting fast food," he said.
Pod, which is backed by about 90 individual shareholders, has opened three stores so far this year and three in 2009. Hall indicated that it now started to target sites where competitors such as Pret and Eat operate in a bid to draw away an established clientele which is likely to like its offering.
THE TEAM BEHIND POD
TimHall, chief executive: serial entrepreneur who previously ran a Savile Row clothing company
Nick Payne, chairman: Former business development director for Grand Metropolitan, responsible for Burger King in Europe, Middle East and Asia
Kate Skerritt, head of operations: Former Pret A Manger partner and nutritionist
Chris Upton, chief financial officer: Former group finance director of Arcadian International, involved with start-up of Malmaison and redevelopment of Great Eastern Hotels
Alastair Eperon, non executive director: Ex-deputy chairman and director of British Retail Consortium and former director of Boots
<span class=""noindex"">By Neil Gerrard
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