Brand Gordon Ramsay is expanding in London. The abusive chef, celebrity, TV personality, and game show host has just secured the keys for a second “street” burger restaurant in the capital. Gordon Ramsay’s Street Burger (GRSB) will open on the former site of the once successful burger chain Byron at 24-28 Charing Cross Road next month — as soon as restaurants are permitted to reopen for outdoor service.
Property agent Shelly Sandzer announced that it had secured the former Byron site which sits just to the east of Chinatown, just north of Trafalgar Square this lunchtime, 16 March. It follows the opening of the first GRSB in St. Paul’s in December. The new space is huge: More than 2,000 square feet over two floors dedicated to serving burgers, fries and soft drinks for £15 per head. The burgers themselves include a smoked cheeseburger; one with bacon and egg; another with jalapeños and sriracha; and a half-decent sounding chicken burger with a hash brown stuffed in the sandwich.
Ramsay has been on the burger charge since summer 2020 — first putting the call out for money to open 50 restaurants in the U.K. over an unspecified time period last August. Ramsay’s strategy was probably initially inspired by the collapse of the casual dining market in the years leading into the pandemic; a collapse which has continued through the crisis of the last 12 months. This is a crisis which has hit the whole industry and is expected to leave vacant sites scattered across the capital, with recent weeks having shown that the cumulative effect of the vaccine roll-out, reopening “roadmap,” and Budget have led some (savvy and/or flush) restaurateurs to look beyond survival to the future — to expansion into the spaces made available by the recent crisis.
So far, it’s so similar: The land-grab is on with available evidence so far suggesting that the most well-known chefs and restaurant brands will remain the most well-known; that unlike the market shakeout after the 2008 recession, real opportunities for genuinely independent “start-up” businesses will be scarce; that landlords will continue to have an outsized role in the definition of the London “restaurant industry”; and that there will still be too many ordinary burgers on this city’s streets.