Food revolution

From its first shop in Chelsea in 1997, itsu has grown to become a lunchtime favourite among workers across the capital.

Today, the Asian-inspired food company – which is the brainchild of Julian Metcalfe, Co-founder of Prêt à Manger and the Metcalfe’s Food Company – has 52 shops and two dine-in restaurants, largely concentrated in London. In 2013, it opened its first regional shop in Oxford. Its stores serve a range of sushi, salads and snacks, alongside hot food offerings and desserts, and have an average spend of £6.10 per customer.

According to Julian, the company is dedicated to lower-fat, lower-calorie, restaurant-inspired food that tastes as good as it looks. “Our purpose is to help you eat beautiful,” he says. “itsu’s strong family trees, operational excellence and drive to provide nutritious, affordable food allow us to pay rents formerly only afforded to high-street junk food giants.”

  • £6.10 – The average spend per visit in itsu’s stores

He attributes the company’s success to its people and its dedication to serve top-quality, freshly prepared food. “Affordable, delicious, green and good for you – not for rabbits,” he says.

In 2015, itsu plans to open between 12 and 15 new stores in the UK, both in central London and regionally. Its five-year plan also includes international expansion. “The growth of itsu depends entirely on our people,” says Julian. “Slowly and steadily we hope to more than double our workforce over the next five years – wherever possible promoting from within.”