It would seem, from the plethora of choice, that British people have gained the confidence of their European cousins to eat out more. So, if you cannot get agreement to the regular mantra of “where shall we go to eat?” there is always Strada. Positioned as a contemporary Italian food restaurant the brand is now on the list of most of us who dine out in the South-east of England. It appears to have a winning formula of serving quality, mid-priced Italian food and wine, in a modern and relaxing environment. Its Italian provenance, a culture always embraced by the British, and the philosophy of introducing inexpensive fast, casual dining to the UK is fully embraced and its growing accessibility is welcomed.
The atmosphere is variable depending on restaurant configuration. It can be relaxing in smaller restaurants and very lively in larger restaurants, where there is a mix of shapes and sizes of tables, and the pizzas are made in open, wood-fired ovens. Overall, the restaurant interior mixes muted colours in fabrics and walls with geometric and linear design in lights, tables, fixtures and fittings. This is fashionable 1970s design, although the communal arrangement of tables does not make for intimacy, nor do the uncomfortable “pews”. However, to make up for this, the service is generally good.
There is a good choice of risottos, pasta dishes, pizzas, and grilled meat and fish dishes, which are very well presented and tasty. It is also a nice to see affordable regional Italian wines on offer.
Value Positioning ****
It is very good value money for the quality of food, and the free glass of wine with pasta at lunchtime is a good way of rewarding consumers while not undervaluing the brand.
With its aggressive expansion policy from 40 to 250 restaurants over the next three years, consistency of quality and service will be key
Keeping up-to-date with interior design trends will be crucial in order not to look out of touch
In a competitive, interchangeable, fast-casual dining market, holding onto value for money will be crucial while not becoming the brand who is first to promotional discount
Knowing when and what to refresh will be key to long-term success.