Restaurant business Tampopo has welcomed news that pub chain Mitchells & Butlers is looking at setting up its own eastern dining venture, amid rumours that the pub firm abandoned its attempt to buy Asian-style chain.
Tampopo, which has six sites across Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Reading, declined to comment on reports that M&B approached it, but said it would not rule out growth funding in the future and was planning another site, in central London.
Commenting on news that M&B might now attempt to enter Tampopo's sector on its own, co-founder Nick Jeffrey said: "Within the industry M&B is perceived to be a highly effective operator, with a strong performance culture and well-defined operational systems. Nevertheless, we've seen other group operators, including Whitbread and The Restaurant Group, struggle to establish a brand in our ethnicity.
"It may be third time lucky for the big boys, but this will be a major departure from their traditional areas of expertise. We're pleased by the news, as anything that increases awareness of this wonderful cuisine and style of eating can only be a good thing. Recent TV programmes, including Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey and Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape, plus increased supermarket shelf-space are indicators of the growth in public tastes for pan-Asian cooking."
Jeffrey founded Tampopo alongside university friend David Fox in 1997 after various backpacking trips around Asia.
By Neil Gerrard
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