Waitrose managing director Mark Price has said he plans to open standalone cafes on the high street.

Speaking at the BRC conference on Wednesday, Price said by the end of 2012 a third of its estate will have Waitrose cafes. He said: “We have to weigh up returns from cafes versus using the space for food, but cafes have become very important.”

He said he is “hoping to make them so good that we can break them out of Waitrose and put them on the high street”. He added: “We think with what we are developing at the moment we’ll be able to do that at some point in the future.”

Waitrose opened a new-look cafe in September last year at its Meanwood store in Leeds. The cafe uses homewares and crockery shoppers can buy in the store and gives recipes for the items on its menus. The new-look has since been rolled out to other stores.

The move ties in with Price’s development plans for the Waitrose business with store roll outs, online development, and tie ups with other companies such as Boots and Welcome Break.