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Mon 15th Aug 2022 - Exclusive: Itsu partners with McDonald’s former largest UK franchisee, Wembley lined up for first site
Exclusive – Itsu partners with McDonald’s former largest UK franchisee, Wembley lined up for first site: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain, has signed a new development partnership with Atul Pathak, formerly the UK’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, Propel can exclusively reveal. Pathak’s first Itsu restaurant, set to open in Wembley later this Autumn, will be the “first of many” sites he expects to open over the next 12 months. Pathak said he is looking forward to “exploring new opportunities that reflect the changes we are seeing amongst Generation Z and Millennial consumers”. He added: “Itsu is a natural choice to partner with given their healthy convenient offering puts them in the sweet spot of what customers are looking for. We are excited to join forces given our complementary models, shared values, and we both have ambitious expansion plans over the next 24 months.” Itsu chief executive Ganan Kanagathurai said: “The venue located next to Wembley Stadium is a fantastic next location for us to bring the Itsu experience to local residents and fans attending events who are looking for nutritious, affordable food.” Julian Metcalfe, founder of Itsu, added: “Atul Pathak has an incredible wealth of experience opening restaurants for the largest fast-food chains in the world. His high standards and commitment to quality, accessible food at an affordable price cements Mr Pathak as a perfect partner to help make Itsu available to more people in more places.” The move is part of Itsu’s expansion of its franchise model, which saw its first franchise site open at Berkshire’s Reading Gate retail park, in partnership with Heart With Smart, in August 2021. Since then, it has opened five new franchise sites, bringing its total estate to 72 franchised and owned restaurants in the UK, and Brussels airport. Pathak also signed a development partnership in June with German Doner Kebab (GDK), owned by Hero brands, with plans for up to 30 sites, ten of which are set to be delivered by 2023 across the south of England. Propel revealed in April that McDonald’s had taken control of its largest UK franchisee, the Appt Corporation, after completing a deal to buy out founder Pathak’s shares. The Appt Corporation was founded in 2003 by Pathak and grew to 43 sites, which stretched from north to west London as well as into Berkshire. The business, which opened its first McDonald’s restaurant in Southall, employed more than 3,500 staff and served more than 30 million customers per year across its estate. Itsu is included in the latest Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which was sent out to Premium subscribers on Friday (12 August). The Blue Book provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock; the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.


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