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Davis Coffer Lyons

Development & London Estates Leasing / Pop Ups

Whilst the true nature of pop-ups may be subject to ongoing debate – is it a one-off event? A month long residency? An 18 month lease? –there is no denying the huge impact that the trend has had on the way we eat and drink, largely in the capital, but with its influence reaching ever further.

The notion of “guerilla dining” came to prominence in 2011 with growing awareness of supperclubs and a handful of trail-blazing street food operators. What started as a grass roots, underground movement, for food, at least, has become a format adopted by everyone from new entrants and street traders to corporate giants, albeit those largely in disguise, such as Lidl’s “Dill” restaurant pop-up in Sweden and Morrison’s unbranded “The Kitchen”. Hand in hand with the exponential growth of pop-up retailing, driven both actively, by marketing trends, and reactively, in response to high street vacancies, pop-ups, mobile units and markets have become an increasingly important element of many of the portfolios we work on, and we are in touch with an increasing number of operators seeking short term space. Innovation and an overwhelming desire for newness are driving and shaping our eating, drinking and shopping experience like never before; so much so that a number of landlords are now starting to set aside dedicated spaces for pop-up use.

From short events with a focus on brand awareness, to concept trialling, residencies and short term leases, we have worked with our landlord clients and operators, traders and food retailers on a range of situations, securing the first bricks & mortar homes for a number of exciting operators. There are benefits for both sides- for landlords, in terms of driving footfall, creating interest and atmosphere, harnessing the power of social media and delivering pr value, and for operators, the ability to take space on flexible terms that don’t demand too high an investment or too onerous a commitment. However, with an ever-increasing interest in the format, demand is significantly outstripping supply, and the reality is that suitable pop-up opportunities for restaurant and bar operators in sought after locations are extremely few and far between. Due to the strength of the market, units with suitable planning, licensing and infrastructure (e.g, kitchen extract duct) are rarely left unoccupied.

Against the backdrop of the drive to reinvigorate the high street, there has been much talk of the new D Class Use (permitting a 2 year change of Use from A1 to A3 without planning permission), but few parties are willing to invest the necessary capex to deliver a trading restaurant in a former retail unit for a term certain of just two years; pop-up restaurants are not a panacea for retail vacancies nationwide.

Whatever the situation, it is of paramount importance to select the right partner to meet the aims of both sides and deliver mutual benefit. We are delighted to have been involved in some of the following situations, as well as a number of pipeline projects.

Bricks & Mortar
Carnaby secured two “firsts” in providing a permanent home for BBQ concept Pitt Cue Co, following the huge success of its South Bank street truck, which went on to pick up Zagat’s Best Newcomer restaurant award for 2013 and steak concept Flat Iron, from its humble beginnings above the Owl & Pussycat Pub in Shoreditch. Hot on the heels of the Meatwagon team’s first “permanent” unit, Meatliquor, we put Meatmarket into Covent Garden’s Jubilee Market, Patty & Bun into James Street and Homeslice wood fired pizza into Neal’s Yard; their first home after two nomadic years on the road with a home built mobile wood fired oven.

Food Trucks
Mark Jankel and Jun Tanaka’s Street Kitchen is at the forefront of a new generation of mobile catering, bringing Londoners gourmet food to eat on the go, with restaurant-quality food served from a vintage airstream trailer. In 2011, we introduced the truck to Broadgate Circle on behalf of British Land as part of a strategy to broaden and enhance the estate’s catering offer; such was its success, in 2015 it opened its first permanent site there.

We’ve introduced Borough Market’s Bread Ahead - and their highly acclaimed doughnuts - to the Great Eastern Market at Westfield Stratford City, popping up for the remainder of 2015.

In Neal’s Yard, we’ve introduced “London’s finest porridge pop-up” 26 Grains and Free Range People - showcasing artisan baking produce as well as other Farmers Market style goods – to trade for a period of 12 months.

In Charlotte Street, we put Eastern Mediterranean concept Ceru into Charlotte Place for 6 months prior to development.

During the transformation of Carnaby’s Kingly Court as a new food destination, we introduced relevant pop-ups, including a collaboration between independent patisserie brand Poppy and Sebastian and lifestyle brand Mar Mar Co for a one-off concept, showcasing the beautiful patisseries of Poppy Smadja, winner of the 2013 Young British Foodie Award for Baking.

The Development & London Estates Leasing Team:

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Tracey Mills

Executive Director
020 7299 0744
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Lottie Newman

Associate Director
020 7299 0743
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