With restaurateurs facing high rents and stiff competition for retail space, some are taking a more creative approach to finding the right site for their outlets.
One operator has looked to what is traditionally the smallest room in the house and opened a restaurant in a formerly derelict toilet block
Festa sul Prato, which serves Italian food, located in a park in south London, has a kitchen that measures just 15m2but still manages to accommodate prep, cooking, cleaning and storage for the full service restaurant.
The counters are 520mm deep, and two chefs and a kitchen porter work in the kitchen, which was designed and installed by UK-based company Catering Equipment Solution (CES).
CES managing director Anna McNamara said: "The space is extremely tight. We sited the slim line counters [from Precision] back-to-back, creating a central island that gives the brigade a good sized prep area.”
Festa sul Prato owner Martin Hoenle commented: ““We cook in a combi-steamer and on induction hobs and keep the menu simple – interesting pasta dishes, grilled meats and so on.”
Speaking about why he opted for this spot to open his restaurant, he said: "Finding a location in London is very difficult.
"Festa sul Prato means ‘a feast in the meadow’ and I really liked the idea of being in a park – plus it gives us a huge outside seating area in good weather.
"This whole area [Folkestone Gardens in Deptford] is being regenerated. We are in at the start, and hope to be a key part of that regeneration.
"When we found it, the toilet block was totally derelict, without even a roof, but we could see its potential.”
The restaurant has a modern, minimalist design, in keeping with the mono pitch structure of the original building, and has room for 40 covers.
In the summer, another 40 can be seated outside.