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For the Marvel Comics character, see Itsu (comics).
Private Limited
Founded 1997
Headquarters London, England
Number of locations
60+ (January 2016)[1]
Key people
Julian Metcalfe and Clive Schlee, co-founders
Robert Jakobi, Managing Director (Metcalfe’s Food Company)
Products Food

Itsu is a British chain of Asian-inspired fast food shops and restaurants, and a grocery company.[2]

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.[3] The first Itsu store opened in Chelsea, London in 1997. By October 2015, the number of shops in Notting Hill and Chelsea had grown to 50, with two restaurants in the area.[4]

Itsu has reported financial data as follows:

  • The chain serves over nine million customers per year
  • Customers spend around £55 million in Itsu shops and restaurants,[4]
  • Consecutive yearly sales increases of 30%[5]

Itsu received international coverage in November 2006 when Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in one of their restaurants. The Russian FSB secret service agent was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium before eating at Itsu's Piccadilly branch.[citation needed]

Outlets & Expansion[edit]

In April 2013, Itsu announced plans to open 20 more stores in London over the next three years.[5] By September 2013, Itsu opened its first shop outside London, in Oxford.[6]

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

In January 2016, Itsu expanded into Northern England, choosing Spinningfields in central Manchester as the site for its first Northern store.[9] The chain later opened a branch in Leeds.

US Launch[edit]

In August 2014, Julian Metcalfe confirmed his plans to launch Itsu restaurants and grocery stores in New York by early 2016.[8]

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.[3] By the next month, Itsu groceries were selling 16 different products, including 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 the UK in places like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Whole Foods Market. They can also be bought online.[12]


In January 2014, Itsu became the Official Partner of the Volleyball England Beach Tour.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The journey so far". Itsu Limited. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  2. ^ Moules, Jonathan. "Itsu founder nurtures a new generation", The Financial Times, London, 21 January 2014. Retrieved on 21 January 2014.
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b Ruddick, Graham (21 September 2013). "Sunday Interview: Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Itsu to Open 20 More London Outlets". The London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  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. ^ Shelina Begum (10 December 2015). "Itsu picks Spinningfields for Manchester opening". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  10. ^ 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. ^ 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]