Nick Shapira is a CEO in Jamie Oliver International and is responsible for the chain’s development. Now he is one of the most demanding worldwide speakers. He has over 10-year experience from working in retail to restaurant management. Nick has told us how it all got started and also shared the group’s plans with us.
10 years ago Jamie Oliver realized that he wanted to open an Italian restaurant. His friend, Gennaro Contaldo, who was born in Sicily, has told him everything that he knew about Italian cuisine and taught him all the cooking techniques. Together they have opened their first restaurant Jamie’s Italian in Oxford.
Jamie wanted only daily-made fresh pasta served in his restaurant, quite a rare case in common restaurant practices. He also wanted to have meals cooked with only high quality products. However, most of all, he wanted his food to be sold for the accessible prices. After Jamie Italian opening in Oxford, four more restaurants were opened within the following months. Ten more restaurants were opened the next year so that during the past years Jamie has opened around thirty restaurants.
They knew ins and outs of the British market and decided to step into the different markets through the franchising. They have searched for the right partners for this cause and due to their expertise in local markets, they started to develop successfully.
They are planning to open 13-14 restaurants more. In total, in the end of the year the whole number of restaurants will count 65-70. And this concerns not only Jamie Italian brand, but also, Jamie’s Pizzeria, Jamie’s Deli and Jamie Oliver’s Dinner.
These conceptions differ from each other since Jamie Italian’s restaurants are situated in the premises around 400-600 square meters with 150-200 seat occupancy, and there pasta plays a key role in the menu. Jamie’s Pizza format is considerably smaller with a total square 100-200 m2 and is intended for 50-80 seats. What about Jamie Oliver’s Dinner restaurants, these establishments are designed for American market, and here guests can buy various burgers and hot-dogs. The overarching idea of Jamie’s Deli embraces healthy and useful foods sold in airports and railway stations.
Jamie is not only a cook, but also a person who fights for the healthy eating. He has a profound goal of decreasing children’s obesity till 2030 on 15-20%. He also has a mission to deliver people a choice of balanced healthy meals. Thus, he developed the objective of entering the office-centers’ niche with tasty and healthy foods. Currently, the vast majority of the restaurants is located outside of England.
Jamie wants every living human to have a balanced diet and a possibility of healthy food alternative. Hence, healthy food occupies 30% in each menu of his restaurants.
During the past seven years Nick Shapira searches for new partners, cuts deals with them and establishes international brand development. Throughout this time Nick has set up more than 20 contracts with the partners. Currently, there are 25 of them. Now they are planning less active search of partners since they are working on quality rather than quantity at the moment. They are going to pay more attention to already existing restaurants. For example, there are two Jamie’s restaurants in Russia: one in Moscow and another in Saint-Petersburg. They are also planning on culinary school opening.
It is of paramount importance to consider the specifics of foreign markets. For instance, there was a “glass turning” procedure implemented in certain restaurants that was a signal of readiness to order. In Russia, in fact, this gesture is inappropriate since customers would consider it as a dirty glass.
No dish can be included in the menu without Jamie’s approval: he personally tastes the dishes and only then makes a decision. Any restaurant’s interior is also carefully elaborated with him. Regarding the menu, it presents traditional Italian dishes with slight modifications by Jamie. The dough for the pizza crust was developed for 2 years so it would comply with cooking on fire, gas and so on.
One square meter of Jamie Italian restaurants in England has 2000-3000 pounds investment. The price itself for opening the restaurant under their brand’s name is bouncing between 50 000 – 400 000 pounds since everything depends on the country’s potential. Besides that it is essential if the partner who has bought the franchise can accomplish ROI during the next 3-4 years. Often times Jamie himself comes to franchise restaurant’s openings.
There are uniform quality standards for every restaurant that concern everything from the restaurant management: beginning with the menu and ending with the rules for staff and marketing nuances. Especially meat and fish procurement are under the careful attention. The check ups regarding these standards are held twice per year. These check ups can be planned or spontaneous based on the ‘secret customer’ principle. There is a special program ‘Focus’ that helps the partners in case of problems’ emergence.