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For the Marvel Comics character, see Itsu (comics).
Founded 1997
Key people
Julian Metcalfe, Founder
Robert Jakobi, Managing Director (Metcalfe’s Food Company)
Products Food

Itsu, previously Tsu, is a chain of Asian-inspired fast food shops and restaurants, and a grocery company.[1] The first Itsu opened in Chelsea in 1997. As of June 2014, there were 50 shops in total (three of which, Cabot Place, Chancery Lane and Upper Regent Street, offer a delivery service), and two restaurants in Notting Hill and Chelsea.[2]

Itsu serves over nine million customers per year, who spend around £55 million in the shops and restaurants [2] and has reported sales increases of 30% year on year.[3]

The chain was founded by Julian Metcalfe, co-founder of sandwich chain Pret a Manger and founder of Metcalfe's Food Company, in partnership with Clive Schlee.[4]

Itsu received international coverage in November 2006 when it was a location in the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning affair. The Russian FSB secret service agent was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium before going on to eat at the Piccadilly branch of Itsu.


Itsu opened three new shops in 2012 in Chancery Lane, Bankside and Old Broadstreet, with a further store in New Oxford Street opening in February 2013.[5]

In April 2013, it was announced that Itsu have plans to open a further 20 stores in London over the next three years.[3]

In September 2013 Itsu opened its first shop outside of London in Oxford.[6]

In July 2014, Itsu launched its 50th store in Richmond, Surrey.[7] They plan to open 30 more stores in the next few years.[8]

US Launch[edit]

In August 2014 Julian Metcalfe confirmed he plans to launch both Itsu and Itsu [grocery] in New York in early 2016.[8]


Itsu began by selling predominantly sushi but the menu grew to include a selection of salads and snacks, plus some hot food offering. There are 63 different dishes available and the menu can be broken down into nine categories: sides and smalls, on a bed and low carb, sandwich & salads, hot potsus, sushi, fruit & other desserts, fro-go, snacks and drinks. Since 2013, the company has run a special offer across all branches where for half an hour before closing, every night, all sushi boxes, salads, and sandwiches are half price.[9]

Itsu grocery[edit]

In March 2012 Metcalfe's Food Company, run by Robert Jakobi, launched the Itsu brand into retail [10] under the name Itsu [grocery]. As of September 2013 the brand was worth £12 million.[4] As of October 2013 there were 16 different products in the range that can be broken down into four categories: soups and noodles (including miso soup cups and noodle pots), snacks (including chocolate covered edamame and rice cakes), sauces (including hoisin and teriyaki variants) and drinks.[11]

The Itsu [grocery] products are sold throughout in the UK in places such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Whole Foods Market. They can also be bought online.[12]

In August 2014, Itsu [grocery] launched a range of crystal noodle cups, which are available in three flavours. They are Chicken Jaipur, Chicken Classic and Vegetable.[13]

Metcalfe's Food Company also sells corn based snacks under the brand name Metcalfe's skinny.[10] These can be found in retailers nationwide including Itsu.


In January 2014, Itsu became the Official Partner of the British Volleyball Team.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moules, Jonathan. "Itsu founder nurtures a new generation", The Financial Times, London, 21 January 2014. Retrieved on 21 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ruddick, Graham (21 September 2013). "Sunday Interview: Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Itsu to Open 20 More London Outlets". The London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Smithers, Rebecca (8 October 2010). "Pret A Manger chief is stacking up healthy profits in lean times". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Itsu - locations - Itsu shops". Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  6. ^ "£1m Itsu restaurant to open in Oxford". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Vicki Owen, “’We’re ahead of America in fast food.’ Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe now looks to conquer the US with itsu”, ‘This is Money”, 09 August 2014
  8. ^ a b Richard Vines, “Hold the Mayo! Itsu Healthy Fast-Food Chain Eyes New York City”, “Bloomberg”, 07 August 2014
  9. ^ "Itsu – ½ Price 30 Minutes Before Closing". Guess How Much This Cost. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Vince Bamford, "Itsu to target retailers with new Asian snacks" The Grocer, June 2011
  11. ^ "Itsu grocery-products", "Itsu grocery"
  12. ^ "Itsu grocery-where to buy, "Itsu grocery"
  13. ^ Vicki Owen, “Itsu takes noodles to supermarkets”, ‘Peach Report”, 13 August 2014
  14. ^ Charlotte Edwardes, "Mr Itsu: Julian Metcalfe on beautiful lean cuisine, why he loves London's hard-working immigrants and his noisy troupe of children and steps, "London Evening Standard", 3 February 2014

External links[edit]