Yet another U.S. burger chain is making its move on the UK market; it has been announced that Wahlburgers is set to open its first site in Covent Garden in September.
The chain, founded in 2011 by chef Paul Wahlberg and actor brothers Donnie and Mark, has stores in 22 US cities (and its own reality TV show), and is poised for an aggressive entry into the UK, with plans for 50 stores in the next five years.
Working with local agents Restaurant Property, Wahlburgers has secured a massive 180-cover site for its debut, of which
Marky Mark (who is expected to be in attendance at the grand opening) said: “I am delighted to announce that Wahlburgers is coming to the UK, and we have the best possible location, one of the most visited areas in all of the world.” By which he means Covent Garden as one of the most visited parts of the London — by tourists.
The company, though, has not had the best of times over the past 12 months: in September last year, the company was reported to be “flatlining” after a closure in Coney Island was followed the very next day with its being locked out of its property on Times Square in New York City. It has also been the target of a pair of lawsuits from business partners and staff alleging underhanded management practices and wage theft.
The move from Wahlburgers, however, does cast light on an interesting local phenomenon: as British chains like Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen struggle, the U.S. imports — Shake Shack, Five Guys, and now Wahlburgers — continue to expand unchecked.