Founded in 2010 and currently operating 14 sites across the UK, The Alchemist achieved approximately £41m in sales to March 2019, with Potts revealing that the company was hoping to be “knocking on the door” of £70m by the end of 2021
As part of The Alchemist’s growth strategy, Potts also announced that the 2019 Publican Award finalist and three-time CGA Peach hero and icons award winning concept would be opening five new sites within the next 12 months.
These include a new site in Old Street, central London, a second venue in Birmingham and a third location in Battersea to capitalise on development work in the area.
A round sold every minute
Discussing the concept’s recent growth, Potts highlighted that The Alchemist had sold 7,421,731 cocktails since March 2015, an average of 63,500 cocktails per week – or roughly one every 15 seconds.
However, despite being best known for its theatrical cocktails, he added that 50% of the company’s sales activity now came through the restaurant, which he highlighted as having “grown into a really significant part of the business”.
Commenting on the increased focus on the Alchemist’s daytime food operation, Potts explained: “You pay the same rent in the day as you do in the evening, so why not sweat that asset a bit harder?”
Testament to this is that fact that The Alchemist’s breakfast offer currently makes up 3.5% of its overall sales – the best part of £500,000.
Potts later added: “Our food offer four years ago was good fun, but it was fairly basic – no skill or art, just to soak up the booze.
“We’ve tried to do away with the ‘overly-gimmicky’ – you have to have theatre in the food, but you can’t overdo it. It’s important to have theatre, but it has to work as well.
More than 23,000 meals donated
To round off the address at The Casual Dining Show 2019, Potts highlighted that The Alchemist - which was recently ranked among The Sunday Times' Best 100 Companies to Work For - was working hard to weave itself into each new site’s local communities.
“We’re signing 20-year leases, we have to be part of the community,” Potts explained. “We’re creating local jobs, we’re partnering with charities in the city.”
As an example, he highlighted that under one of The Alchemist’s initiatives, launched in May 2018 with Foodinate, the operator’s customers had donated 23,463 meals to local people in need.