Frozen meal solutions retailer Cook has confirmed plans to open a new 31,000 sq ft kitchen facility in the summer to allow the independent chain to open up to 80 shops.
The new £1.5m complex in Sittingbourne, Kent, will open in August and replace a 7,000 sq ft kitchen where Cook currently manufactures about 75% of meals that are sold in its shops. The chain, which has been followed by The Grocer in our year-long Ones To Watch series, has expanded its estate from seven to 14 shops, including its first in London, over the last year.
Its current kitchen is now running at near full capacity, which is halting further expansion - Cook is aiming to open 10 new shops a year.
MD James Perry said: “We started eight years ago with three employees in a kitchen just double the size of a standard domestic kitchen. Cook has now come of age.”
Perry said Cook would continue to make its meals in small batches to ensure quality. “Life will be easier with better equipment. But it will not change our processes.”