Hotel Chocolat is to enter the UK restaurant business with a flagship eatery in London later this year.
The chocolatier is searching for a central London location for the restaurant which will be branded Boucan London and source products from its plantation and its stores.
Chief executive Angus Thirlwell told Retail Week the success of the company’s first restaurant which opened up in St Lucia on its plantation last year had inspired the move.
He said: “The menu is creative, original, shows real flair and our guests are really liking it. We have got a shortlist of London locations we are looking at and will open before the end of the year.”
Michelin-starred executive chef Jon Bentham, who has worked with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, will lead the staff at the London restaurant.
Hotel Chocolat has around 30 staff at its St Lucia eatery and will look to employ a similar number in London.
Thirlwell said there would be “lots of interaction” between the restaurant and its retail store business. Boucan is a sub-brand which the retailer uses on its products.
Thirlwell said the retailer will analyse the impact of the restaurant before taking the decision to roll out the format. He said: “We think the concept will work in a big city environment and if it can work in London then we will look at other opportunities.”
Retail Week revealed last week that the retailer intends to roll out its Roast+Conch format to half to its stores while evolving the layout in the process.