City to see Red as barbecue concept expands

FAST-GROWING Red’s True Barbecue is expanding beyond Leeds with a £1.2m investment in opening a restaurant in Manchester.

The move forms the next stage of the Leeds-born company’s plan to roll out its brand across the UK.

The opening of the Manchester restaurant in February will create more than 85 new jobs, including waiting and kitchen staff, as well as managerial opportunities.

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The company recorded a first year turnover of £3.2m at its Leeds venue, and plans to achieve £4.2m in its first year in Manchester.

James Douglas, co-founder at Red’s, said: “Our site in Leeds, which has 107 covers, serves on average 18,000 diners per month, selling more than 16 tonnes of locally sourced meat, so we’re excited to share this new dining experience with people in Manchester and hope that they too become true believers.”

Red’s was born out of an idea by its founders, Mr Douglas and Scott Munro, to bring the barbecue style of the southern states of the United States to Britain.

Cuts of pork, beef, chicken and sausage are marinated in traditional rubs and slow cooked for up to 24 hours in custom-built Oklahoman smokers at Red’s.

Mr Douglas and Mr Munro launched the restaurant in Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, at the beginning of September last year – primarily using their own cash – after a trip to America’s ‘barbecue belt’, as it is known, to find the best recipes.

They were joined on the trip by Mr Munro’s childhood friend, Clint Britz, a chef.

Mr Douglas said: “There is a real passion and energy within the business, and as such we have an aggressive plan to grow.

“Our concept operates in the fast casual dining experience, and we have really captivated a loyal fan base.

“With the launch of Manchester, and a further two locations in the offing for 2014, true barbecue has really arrived here in the UK and will keep us on our five-year plan to have at least 15 restaurants across the UK.”

Mr Douglas previously owned Leeds-based rental property business Nest Lettings, which he sold to Countrywide, and Mr Munro formerly worked for American technology company Sierra Wireless.

The new restaurant in Manchester at 22 Lloyd Street on Albert Square is based in a listed building, which was formerly a textile mill.

The 6,050 sq ft restaurant will operate 185 covers, with accommodation for a further 60 standing in a dedicated bar area, featuring a stage and DJ booth, offering weekly live music.

Mr Douglas said: “We’re delighted to be opening in Manchester. The city has a wealth of great restaurants and a buzzing nightlife, so it was the obvious choice in our expansion plans to spread the gospel of true barbecue.”