The Breakfast Club — an all-day cafe, which has a unique, indefatigable ability to draw queues, no matter the day or the weather — will open at a second location in Soho this year. Propel reports that the group, which opened on D’Arblay Street, also in Soho, exactly 14 years ago, has agreed to take over the Berwick Street site occupied by the Polpo Group’s Polpetto restaurant, which was forced onto the market earlier this year following a rescue and restructuring deal.
It will take The Breakfast Club’s London portfolio to 12; it also operates one cafe in Oxford and another in Brighton. In addition to Soho, sites in locations that have suffered major restaurant closures over the past two years — the likes of Hoxton Square in Shoreditch, London Bridge, and Spitalfields — have resisted trends and stood strong in the face of flux, at a time when increased costs, a shortage of staff, and increased competition have made the industry tougher .
Co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton told Propel that the company is rude health, despite a February report in the Telegraph to the contrary. 10 of its existing 11 sites are profitable, he said.
The brand, which despite securing few plaudits for the quality of its offering, was visionary in the early 2000s when it cleverly melded the components of an English greasy spoon, an American diner, and an Antipodean cafe. Early on, it attracted the “hipster” label and has enjoyed comparatively unchallenged success in the mid-market ever since, remaining especially popular among tourists and out-of-towners. The company describes its customer base as: “The hipster hangout, the tourist trap. But [also] the brains, the athletes, the basket cases, the princesses, and a criminals (yes the criminals)...”
Whether a second location less than five minutes walk from its first might cannibalise its trade remains to be seen; in all likelihood, and based on all available evidence, the non-challenging lowest common denominator offering will simply result in another queue.