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Steers to launch UK venue

21 | 06 | 13

South African restaurant chain Steers is set to open its first UK venue.

The company, which is owned by Famous Brands, will launch the outlet in Clapham, London in July. 

Steers is a burger-based chain and currently has more than 500 outlets in South Africa, with a further 43 in other parts of the continent, Caterer and Hotelkeeper reports.

Kevin Hedderwick, Famous Brands chief executive, commented: “We’ve always considered exporting Steers to the UK, fuelled by the constant requests from many expatriates living in London craving a taste of home.  

"Having looked at the market we believe that the quality, freshness and taste of our flame-grilled products will create as much excitement and recognition in the UK as in South Africa.”

Famous Brands also runs the Wimpy chain, which has been a regular feature in UK towns and cities for many years, and Mr Hedderwick played down suggestions that the introduction of Steers is intended to replace the brand. 

He said the company is happy with the Wimpy business and has a solid base from which the chain can progress. The Famous Brands chief pointed to the recent opening of two new Wimpy venues as proof the business is starting to "gain traction".

However, he did admit converting Wimpy sites to the Steers brand would be considered if the firm's franchise partners believed there was a case for such action. 

Steers is not the only international restaurant chain to make the move to the UK in recent months. Earlier this week, Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at accountancy firm Baker Tilly, said a number of foreign companies are looking to enter Britain's food and drink industry. 

He pointed to US burger restaurants Five Guys and Shake Shack as examples of brands that have opened up initial venues in London, with a view towards further expansion. This is likely to be welcomed by catering equipment suppliers who can provide appliance for these new outlets.

Mr Newman was speaking in response to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which showed like-for-like restaurant sales were up by 1.2 per cent last month when compared to May 2012. ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801602672-ADNFCR

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