Itsu | Expansion

Itsu finds a strong partner in France

Groupe Bertrand wants to build up the Itsu brand in France. Target: 50 units in the next five years.
IMAGO / Zuma Wire
Groupe Bertrand wants to build up the Itsu brand in France. Target: 50 units in the next five years.

None other than Olivier Bertrand, founder and president of the French Groupe Bertrand, will steer the expansion of the British Asia brand itsu in France. The recently signed master franchise agreement between Itsu and Groupe Bertrand provides for the opening of Itsu restaurants throughout France. The network is expected to grow to 50 locations within five years.

"We have made it our mission to build a new QSR restaurant that celebrates the beauty of Asian-inspired cuisine - fast, affordable and healthy. We are honored to build our restaurants across France with such world-class operators as Olivier Bertrand and his team," commented Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe on the new partnership.

Founded in 1997 by Olivier Bertrand, Groupe Bertrand is a multi-concept operator with projected sales of €2.2 billion this year.

The Itsu brand counts 72 company-owned locations in the U.K., as well as several franchise agreements in the U.K. Pizza Hut giant HWS is opening its fourth Itsu restaurant in Aberdeen this summer. The first European Itsu restaurant opened in 2021 in partnership with Autogrill at Brussels Airport.

Just recently, Nick Schapiro was named Itsu's new director of international. Schapiro has more than 15 years of experience developing international franchises at Jamie Oliver Group and Vapiano. At Itsu, he is now tasked with accelerating international expansion.

Last year, investor Bridgepoint joined Itsu with a "significant minority stake." The company says it plans to add 60 new company-owned locations in the UK over the next five years.

About Groupe Bertrand

With a rate of 120 to 150 new openings per year, Groupe Bertrand, founded in 1997 by Olivier Bertrand, continues to expand throughout France. With multiple positions, locations and segments, it now covers the entire spectrum of gastronomy. With projected 2022 sales of €2.2 billion, 1,100 restaurants and 38,000 employees, the focus of France's second-largest restaurant group will shift somewhat more toward QSR.