Cranks expands as women favour healthier fast-food

London-based health food restaurant Cranks has launched an expansion programme aiming for 25 takeaway cafés by 2001, and an eventual launch programme in the US.

Cranks is in the process of relaunching its seven London outlets with a new “Vitality and Health” concept and revamped menu. More emphasis will be put on takeaway food, with boxed hot meals, salads and sandwiches. Expansion to surrounding areas, such as Bromley and Kingston, will begin in mid-1999.

By the end of next year, the company plans to open sites in other UK cities and is expected to hit the US within five years.

The repositioning aims to fill a gap for “healthy fast-food” targeting young working women. Although Cranks offers only vegetarian food, the company says 80 per cent of its customers are not vegetarian.

Cranks managing director Gavin Heys says: “Customers don’t come because they are vegetarian but because they want a quick, healthy lunch.”

Heys is part of a new management team at Cranks, including former Häagen-Dazs UK stores general manager Martina Flynn as operations director and former Café Flo finance director Sean Fay.

Heys joined Cranks in 1996 from parent company Piper Trust. Piper and venture capitalist Capricorn have invested 2m in Cranks which Hays estimates will cover the costs of a dozen new sites.

Cranks marketing is handled by Gabrielle Shaw Communications. The company currently has no plans to create a marketing department.

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