Sak announces serious expansion plans
Part of the Urban Purveyor Group, popular Japanese restaurant Sak has announced it will open another site in Melbourne as well as two new Sak concepts.
With existing sites in Sydney’s The Rocks and Double Bay, as well as Hamer Hall in Melbourne and Eagle Street Pier in Brisbane, Sak will open a new restaurant at 555 Bourke Street in the heart of Melbourne’s legal and financial districts.
Expected to open in the first half of 2016, the three-storey restaurant will feature a large bar and an 80-seat sushi counter on the ground level that opens to a large outdoor drinking and dining area. The main dining area and kitchen will be on the mezzanine level with a basement featuring VIP dining, media rooms and a shochu lounge.
Urban Purveyor Group will also launch Sak Jr, catering to active, busy and healthy Sydney residents. The menu will showcase market-fresh, seasonal ingredients that are gluten, preservative and GMO free. It will draw on Sak’s signature flavours, components and techniques but with a Korean twist, offering ‘design-your-own’ noodle or rice-based meals which customers can customise by adding proteins, vegetables, sauces, toppings or garnishes. Some Sak restaurant favourites will also be on offer.
“Sak Jr., Urban Purveyor Group’s first fast fine-casual concept, will be a small format concept that we believe can be rolled out in large numbers in premier locations across Australia,” Urban Purveyor Group chief executive officer Thomas Pash said. “The first Sak Jr. will open in Sydney’s CBD by mid-2016, but there could be as many as 20 to 30 more over the next three to five years.”
Also due to open in Sydney in mid-2016 is Sak Live. Heavily influenced by the tastes, sounds and lights of Tokyo, Sak Live will feature the city’s largest robatayaki grill and sushi bar, featuring shareable dishes that are paired with more than 100 signature cocktails.
Covering over 550 square metres, this new concept will feature three large dining bars, a balcony with VIP media rooms and a private VIP shochu lounge. The venue will also feature a see-through DJ stage that will be elevated above the bars and dining area and feature Tokyo-inspired lighting, media and art that will evolve throughout the day and late into the night.
“At this point, it is about taking a great brand and making it even greater,” Pash said. “It’s about finding new and better ways to show our customers a new level of food and beverage innovation and also about making the customer experience even better. It is about and delivering an unrivalled customer experience end-to-end.”
In order to reward the brand’s best customers, Sak is also launching an invitation-only loyalty program that features welcome and birthday gifts and a dedicated concierge service to help book VIP seating and exclusive events.
To help achieve these growth plans, Sak has announced some promotions and new additions to its team. Chef Stephane Chevet joins as national Sak brand culinary director, bringing with him over two decades of experience in the industry, including time at Reign in Dubai, Sugar Factory and Shibuya at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Koi and Hotel Sofitel in Los Angeles.
Chevet will work closely with Christian Price, who has been promoted from Urban Purveyor Group area manager, Victoria to national Sak brand general manager. Price will oversee all front of house operations and then businesses’ strategic initiatives. Sak Hamer Hall executive chef Wayne Brown will move to the executive chef role at Sak Double Ba, while Japanese born and raised, second generation sushi chef Shimpei Hatanaka has been promoted to executive chef at Sak The Rocks.
Finally, John Ross-Jones has been promoted from Sak Hamer Hall bar manager to brand beverage manager.