The Vurger Co, whose founders were awarded Restaurant Entrepreneurs of the Year at this year’s Food & Drink Heroes Awards, reveals exclusively to vegconomist that it is to open a fourth restaurant, venturing for the first time into the north of England with a new location set to be the biggest to date.
As the much-loved vegan QSR chain celebrates five years of exponential success, founders Rachel Hugh and Neil Potts enthuse today: “We are incredibly excited to announce that our next restaurant will be opening in Manchester! Manchester has been a huge goal for us right from the start, and after spending a year sourcing the right site, we couldn’t be more excited to be launching our biggest restaurant site to date later this year.
“We’re opening right in the heart of the Northern Quarter, and it will be our most ambitious project to date. We’re putting everything into making this an incredible space and we can’t wait to welcome our amazing customers from Manchester really soon!”
Backed by Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni and Miray Zaki of Dismatrix Group, The Vurger presently operates two London stores – the first debuting in Shoreditch in March 2018 followed by a Canary Wharf location eight months later – and the most recent Brighton location was born in July of last year which the founders say has seen incredible success despite a lockdown launch.
“We received over 30 five star reviews in just the last month alone”
“Brighton has been by far the most amazing store of ours. In spite of opening during a pandemic, with people taking more holidays here in the UK we have seen how popular the seaside location has been for our customers. We received over 30 five star reviews in just the last month alone, it is our most successful site launch to date and continues to grow every month. It’s shown us the value of picking amazing sites in great cities, and then continuing to invest heavily in innovation and menu development.”
Rachel and Neil say that the success in Brighton demonstrated clearly that there is huge potential for growth outside of London. “When we reached out to our customers on Instagram in a poll, their immediate feedback was ‘Open up north please!’ So, drilling down further into our data, we realised that Manchester was where our name was most searched outside of our current locations. Manchester also represented the city that our meal kits were bought the most through the pandemic!”
“When we reached out to our customers on Instagram in a poll, their immediate feedback was ‘Open up north please!’
The retail products, a range of flavoured vegan mayonnaise and two cheese sauces perfect for mac and cheese style home cooking, have been tracking well since their launch in June 2020, and are shipping across the UK, the US, and even to the Middle East. The sauces can be found in Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, and The Vegan Kind Supermarket.
Regarding the exciting new Manchester location, which represents the brand’s very first foray out of London and the South; Rachel and Neil say that since the business began, they have had “thousands of our wonderful customers asking us about opening in Manchester. It’s one of our favourite cities as it’s always buzzing with energy and it’s bursting with creativity, so we are over the moon to be able to make this happen. It’s been a long and challenging 18 months but we’re looking forward to bringing the best of what we do to this amazing city.
“Our business has grown internationally in such a short space of time,” says Rachel, who was named in the Top 35 Women Under 35 as well as Top 10 Women in Food Tech 2020.
“We’re starting the recruitment process soon, and so we’d love to hear from great people who want to be part of something really special!”