EggRun eyes solid London footing before taking a crack at nat'l expansion

In a post-lockdown world, co-founders Laurent Manuel and Asher Grant express optimism in getting a bigger market share as consumers slowly return to office spaces.

The co-founders of fast casual concept EggRun reveal they are looking to hatch six sites in London first before taking a crack at national expansion.

A brainchild of Laurent Manuel and Asher Grant, the egg-centered brand recently opened its permanent store in Monument on Fish Hill after launching as a delivery-only concept at the onset of the pandemic.

The maiden store measures 1,200 square feet and offers limited seating with a menu that boasts ethically sourced food for egg and meat lovers as well as vegans and vegetarians.

Items include scrambled eggs with caramelised onions, cheddar, chives and a 'secret sauce'; and the TacoRun with scrambled eggs, feta cheese, onion and lettuce, both served in a brioche bun and both with the option of vegan eggs and cheese. A choice of burgers and salads are also on the menu, partly to generate post-brunch options for office workers, Millennials and Gen-Zs.

Half of the six sites in London are eyed to be opened in the next 12 months, part of a larger plan to have up to 15 in the next three years. Soho, Battersey and Victoria are just some of the locations EggRun is looking to explore at this stage.

"We're just trying to be responsible where we look at. Lots of work has been done on being able to scale — getting the procedures in place, getting the menu right —so when the right sites come available, we can pounce on them and move really, really quickly," Grant told QSR Media.

"London's changing, it's becoming more pedestrianized," Manuel added. "That will impact footfall and the way you need to do site selection. We're just trying to be ahead of the game because we're thinking 10 to 15 years down the line."

The co-founders revealed that starting as a delivery-only business was not always in the cards, but felt they needed to pivot to get as much consumer feedback as they can despite challenges in juggling deliveries. They also felt "lucky" for being "picky" with sites, citing smaller concepts shuttering due to the lockdown.

"It was a great opportunity for us to get the product out there," Manuel said, "We had been negotiating the [Fish Hill] store for about a year so we knew that this was happening."

"If we signed a month earlier, we would've had so many liabilities," Grant added.

The co-founders also cited rental costs as a major challenge to expansion, but expects more sites to be available within the year, citing the upcoming expiration of the rent moratorium, and remained confident that they can still service customers even if footfall does not go back to pre-pandemic levels.

"I think there's uncertainty but [also] hope that things are going improve," Manuel said. "You have to try to be positive; you're only a creative as you are if you are able to focus on your work and growing your projects."

"There's a ton of opportunity; we're a young brand," Grant added. "It's an exciting time for the next generation of operators to come through and be able to try their hand at things."

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