The entrepeneur who founded Pret A Manger has told why he is bringing his Asian food venture to Brighton.
Julian Metcalfe is behind itsu, an innovative chain of Asian-inspired, healthy fast food, which is launching a new shop in the city centre next week. The Brighton shop will be only the second branch outside of London – and came about after friends told Julian how receptive the city would be to itsu.
Julian said: “We’ve had a lot of support from peers in the industry, not to mention friends and family in Brighton who have all been urging us to come down south “We’re thrilled to have a presence in Brighton which is known to be a great trend leader in arts, culture and lifestyle, making it a strong fit with our brand.
“There’s also a huge amount of interest in healthy living and eating in Brighton but there’s nothing like itsu available in the city.
“Our aim is to genuinely revolutionise the way Brighton eats.”
Unlike other big chains, everything is freshly made on site, with everyone served within 60 seconds.
Carb-heavy and fat-laden fillings are left at the door of itsu with a menu ranging from snacks and sides from 99p to full boxed meals for up to £10.
Highlights include miso marinated salmon salad, chicken teriyaki potsu with wild rice, Thai chicken with rice, fresh greens and ginger and no mayo tangy tuna salad with Khoebz bread.
Brighton will host a number of exclusive in-store firsts, including an autumn menu, frozen yoghurt, a juice bar and a tea station.
It will have an alcohol licence to sell Asahi beer and will be open until 10pm every evening and weekend with take-away options.
The 112-seat eatery will be opposite the Clocktower on the corner of West Street and North Road.
Julian was inspired to create itsu by a desire to lead a healthier lifestyle – and is convinced it will be a hit.
He said: “The growth in healthy food options is a direct response to consumer demand to eat better and be more health conscious, which motivates us as a business and gets the momentum going “It’s important to let people try out ‘good-for-you’ food. Once they see it, try it, and notice the beautiful flavours of freshly and honestly made food, they’ll convince themselves that healthy can be flavoursome.
“People like to treat themselves but unfortunately most treats as we know them are bad for you.
“But it’s about perception and it doesn’t have to be that way.
“If you offer people fast food that tastes great but isn’t laden with fat and sugar, they’ll slowly stop going to fast food chains and the like. “At itsu, we limit our salt and seasoning but not to the point our food becomes bland.”
A second store in the area has not been ruled out either.
Julian added: “We’ve got great plans for the future and there’s no reason why we couldn’t open another branch in Sussex.”