[Update] Bertrand Group expands and signs itsu master franchise for France

3 min reading time

Published on 14 February 2023

itsu F&B Groupe Bertrand

The Bertrand Group, founded in 1997 by Olivier Bertrand, has signed the exclusive master franchise agreement for France for the British Asian-inspired restaurant chain itsu, created by Julian Metcalfe, the founder of Prêt à Manger

itsu has been a success on the other side of the Channel and now has 75 of its own restaurants in Great Britain. Its promise: "Eat Beautiful". On the menu, "healthy" dishes: sushi, salads, gyosas, but also hot products such as soups, teriyaki chicken and udon noodles. In terms of communication, the chain's outlets offer sales every evening. As soon as the bell rings, half an hour before closing time, itsu boxes are sold at half price.

After the opening of the first itsu restaurant in continental Europe at Brussels airport in partnership with Autogrill at the end of 2021, the Asian chain intends to conquer the French market. This is now a reality with the opening of its first Parisian address, located in the 8th arrondissement of the capital, with more than 70 seats spread over more than 180m on two levels.

As part of its CSR approach, this first French restaurant is offering a 50% solidarity discount on all remaining cold dishes, available half an hour before closing time. This zero-waste initiative also targets small budgets. 

The brand is expected to expand rapidly throughout the rest of France between now and 2024, with two new test openings in Paris (Quartier des Halles and Opéra) before moving on to the franchise model and reaching other major cities such as Lille, Lyon and Marseille. The brand will also be present on the Delivroo delivery platform to reach more target groups.

The Bertrand Group, the 2nd largest restaurant group in France with 1,100 restaurants, has forecast sales of €2.2 billion in 2022 (source: snacking). It is now developing its activity in the "street-food" and "QSR" or "Quick Service Restaurant" segments. The group also wants to create two virtual brands this year.

Multi-positioning, multi-location, multi-segment, the group now occupies the entire spectrum of the restaurant industry: fast food (Burger King), commercial restaurants (Parisian brasseries), concession catering, luxury (Angelina) and themed brands developed in branches and franchises such as Hippopotamus, Léon, Volfoni and Au Bureau.

The restaurant market, strongly impacted by the health crisis, is changing. And while some F&B segments have underperformed during this period, others, such as fast food, have grown enormously. According to Olivier Bertrand: "A defensive segment, it has shown itself to be particularly resilient and agile by activating all sales channels quite easily through digital, click & collect and delivery. This has enabled us to absorb a large part of the postponements of sales when the restaurants were brutally closed. Since then, certain balances have been restored in favour of table service, but delivery flows have remained strong. This will motivate new ambitions in the street food segment.

Olivier Bertrand continues: "periods of crisis accelerate the major trends. And among those that are becoming the market standard, we can mention street food, where we need to be more present. While we are well positioned to cover the burger segment with Burger King, as well as to invest in the delivery of meat and fish products from our traditional Hippo and Léon restaurants, we also want to play a greater role in the themes that are on the rise, including Asian cuisine.

The Bertrand Group is also committed to an ethical and responsible approach. Indeed, the Group has invested in an organic farm in Seine-et-Marne (Ile-de-France), in order to integrate the short circuit into its properties and to promote the local area.

In the same spirit, the Group's ambition is to create a bakery with a farmer baker. The aim is to plant its own wheat, invest in a mill and produce and deliver organic bread so as to cover the entire chain, from the ground to the plate.

DEPUR Expériences

DEPUR Expériences

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