Brexit will offer huge chances and opportunity to 'brave restaurateurs'

PUBLISHED: 16:55 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:29 18 December 2018

Greg Adjemian who owns the Ingham Swan with Dan Smith. Picture: Nick Butcher

Greg Adjemian who owns the Ingham Swan with Dan Smith. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Brexit uncertainty is dividing the culinary world with major players scaling back, and up-and-coming chains freezing expansion.

But restaurateurs aiming to make a name for themselves are being advised to make the most of competitor’s apprehension and establish themselves in a post-Brexit market.

One chain slowing growth is family-owned Thai restaurant Giggling Squid, which opened in Norwich in September 2016.

It’s owners have said that it will open sites as planned next year but past that, expansion will be frozen.

Andy Laurillard – who owns the firm with his wife Pranee – said: “It’s all very worrying, so we’ve reduced our investment plans over the next year and will refurbish more sites than opening new ones.”

However Norwich businessman Greg Adjemian, who co-owns the Warwick Street Social in Norwich, the Wildebeest in Stoke Holy Cross and the Ingham Swan in north Norfolk, said there are “huge” opportunities “for the next generation of restaurateurs”.

“Major chains expanded too fast and with no differentiating factor, and are also scaling back because of Brexit. So there are empty units, fully refurbished, in prime locations. There are deals to be done depending on how landlords react to Brexit,” Mr Adjemian added.

In Norwich, Italian chain Carluccio’s has announced it will close just before Christmas, with Prezzo similarly shutting its outlet on Thorpe Road.

Nationally the likes of Byron Burger and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which also have outlets in the city, have announced store closures.

“There’s no need for a refurbishment or expansion pay-off, you can do both. We’re being aggressive with our expansion plans; we want to open at least one site in 2019, as well as investing into our current sites.

“If you’ve got the differentiating factor and an optimistic outlook there’s no need for concern,” Mr Adjemian said.

Alongside chef patron Dan Smith, Mr Adjemian is currently refurbishing the Ingham Swan after it was devastated by a fire in September 2017.

“We’re not concerned about Brexit. Our strategy is to align with what consumers will want after the deal. It’s likely we’ll see more domestic tourism, so we will be catering to that.”

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