Industry News | July 8, 2009

European Fast-Casual Concept Expanding in U.S.

Vapiano, the European fast-casual restaurant and lounge chain, announced that a franchisee has purchased rights to open new locations in New York City. The chain, with over 55 locations in 16 countries worldwide, also recently announced new deals in markets such as Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta. It currently has six U.S. locations open, including two in Washington, D.C., along with stores in Arlington, Virginia; Dulles, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; and Fort Myers, Florida.

“We picked this market knowing it’s the number one restaurant market in the country,” says Christophe Scherman, the franchisee who purchased the rights to the New York locations. “It’s also extremely rare to see New York territory available. The sites we are getting looks at and the way the unit economics are working out, it proved to make more sense for us to move from Europe to New York City. Once you factor in the imbalance between the euro and the dollar, the current economy really works to our advantage. We fully expect to be 50% above Vapiano’s average same-store sales here in the U.S. The time is right and the time is now for a concept like Vapiano here in Manhattan.”

Mark Frankel of Newmark Knight Frank Retail, the tenant broker representing Scherman, says, “The timing for Vapiano couldn’t be better. Prime locations, previously priced too high for casual and fast-casual restaurants, are back within reach. Landlords are particularly reaching for quality brands that can be positioned to add value to their properties. Dropping rents often combined with aggressive concessions are significantly lowering costs of going into business.”

Scherman’s deal will add to more than 100 new Vapiano units already in development throughout the next four to eight years, expanding the concept’s presence in North America, eastern Europe, and the Middle East. In the U.S. alone the company has closed deals for six stores in southwest Florida; ten in Dallas; two in San Jose, California; five in Houston; and three stores each in Boston, Detroit, and Atlanta. New international locations are in the making throughout Mexico, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and France.

Add new comment