Restaurant franchise to expand nationwide

Rice, a restaurant franchise that offers nutritious, fresh and fast fusion rice dishes from around the world, is spearheading the development of new restaurants with franchise owners across the UK.

Since Rice opened its first restaurant in the heart of the Manchester's busy Piccadilly Gardens five years ago, the business has achieved 25 per cent growth in turnover year on year with a new outlet opening every year. It now has three restaurants in Manchester, with a fourth one opening this autumn, and launched into the North East last year with a new restaurant at the Metrocentre, Gateshead. Rice now employs more than 100 people.

The Rice concept was derived from the global travels of founder and Managing Director Manoj Verma. He recognised a gap in the market and created a unique restaurant focused on nutritious rice-based dishes from all coners of the world. The aim was to break the sandwich culture and umbrella diverse flavours under a vibrant casual dining experience.

Commenting on the launch of his business as a franchise, Manoj Verma said: "I was originally inspired by my travels and my love of cooking. As six out of 10 people in the world eat rice everyday, I thought why not develop a restaurant offering a fusion of rice dishes? Rice was born, presenting good quality, flavoursome and healthy food quickly, and all at an affordable price. Open plan kitchens provide a theatrical culinary experience for all the senses, which empowers the customer by letting them see fresh food being prepared by the chefs using only the finest ingredients.

"We have adapted our model to its environment and trialled the concept in different locations. We are in the shopping centre at Gateshead and had an in-store restaurant in Manchester's Selfridges to build up the brand. Then there is the more opulent setting of our Chester Street restaurant, which features Rice Decadence, a private dining room with a large screen showing the chefs live at work. Our two franchise models follow that of Rice Piccadilly Faster Food Outlet, and Rice Flamebar & Grill found at the Trafford and Metro Centres.

"Five years on, we see great opporutnity in developing Rice Franchising. We know from the phenomenal success of our business that our offer is distinctive enough to be franchised and attractive enough to create widespread customer demand. We are excited about sharing that success with others as we grow Rice around the UK and Ireland, before embarking on international franchising."