HP Foods-owned Amoy, which makes Chinese noodles and sauces, is moving into retail for the first time with plans to open a restaurant in London’s The Strand.
The Amoy Noodle Restaurant, due to open in August, is the latest in a line of new eating places run by food manufacturers. These companies are keen to boost customer loyalty for their brands through the “out-of-home” market.
Nestlé has launched a franchised chain of coffee houses, called Café Nescafé, while Tetley has unveiled its own tea shop in Manchester called Gaffers. Meanwhile, Unilever’s Van den Bergh foods launched a tea shop called ch’a in Brighton earlier this year (MW May 27), with a second to follow in Bristol.
Analysts believe that the out-of- home market accounts for 29 per cent of food consumption by value in the UK and this could rise to US levels of more than 50 per cent.
Amoy recently launched a raft of new stir-fry sauces in different flavours, such as black bean, lemon, plum, sweet & sour and yellow bean. The range was supported by TV advertising.
Andy Taylor, human resources director at HP Foods, says: “Food manufacturers are looking at a presence in the high street. It’s part of our brand-building strategy.”
It is unclear whether the restaurant is likely to be rolled out nationally or whether this will be a stand- alone venue.
Peter Antenen, assistant director for Deloitte & Touche, strategic leisure consulting, says: “It will have a lot of competition, from brands such as Wok Wok and Wagamamas, but it may be a way for Amoy to broaden its youth appeal.”