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Thu 10th Jun 2021 - Exclusive – Itsu partners with Pizza Hut Restaurants team for first franchise as it embarks on ambitious expansion programme
Exclusive – Itsu partners with Pizza Hut Restaurants team for first franchise as it embarks on ambitious expansion programme: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Julian Metcalfe, has partnered with the team behind Pizza Hut Restaurants to launch its first franchise, Propel has learned. It comes as Itsu embarks on an ambitious programme to expand throughout the UK in out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres. Metcalfe said: “We are a dynamic brand with a refreshing and unique long-term vision. After decades refining our system and ‘eat beautiful’ menu, we are in a wonderful position to grow our loyal customer base across the UK. Very robust sales in our regional sites during the covid pandemic has given us renewed confidence. We are the healthy future of affordable, contemporary food, served fast.” To support its country-wide growth plans, Itsu has partnered with the team behind the almost 200-strong Pizza Hut restaurant franchise, led by chief executive Jens Hofma. Pizza Hut Restaurants is the UK dine-in franchise business of the global Pizza Hut brand. Hofma said: “We are delighted to turbocharge our brand portfolio by supporting Itsu’s expansion with our combined drive and expertise. We can’t wait to get building, in partnership with itsu, this tremendous opportunity to bring their unique positive customer experience across the UK.” As part of the partnership, Itsu will open a 160-seater restaurant in the former Pizza Hut premises in the Reading Gate retail park, just off the M4 motorway, in early August. Itsu’s “zen” design complements an extended evening menu featuring new brown rice and noodle bowls as well as more plant-based dishes, sharing and family platters as well as its zero-fat frozen yoghurt desserts. Metcalfe said: “Our ground-breaking, recently invigorated, healthy and moreish Asian-inspired menu will all be freshly made in Itsu Reading, offering more whole grains, copious greens, fresh herbs and aromatics with an absolute embargo on deep-fat frying.” Metcalfe said all but 18 of its circa 70 sites have reopened, with a further seven new sites being built in the UK this year, as well as one in Belgium. Openings in France and Switzerland are also planned for 2022. Itsu believes there is potential to add another 150 sites in the UK.


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