A popular orange cat is coming to the Forest City, hoping Londoners will share his love of food.
GarfieldEATS, a food-delivery restaurant inspired by the iconic Jim Davis cartoon, is set to open Valentine’s Day.
The pickup-only eatery, at Richmond Street and Central Avenue, will be only the second in North America for the brand, which opened its first site in Toronto last year after testing the concept in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
As you might expect, lasagna is part of the menu, as are Garfield-shaped pizzas, chocolates and “Garfuccinos.”
But the man behind the brand, Nathen Mazri, said GardfieldEATS is not your typical restaurant.
It uses technology and mobile apps to get food to customers conveniently, an approach Mazri calls “Quick Mobile Restaurant.” In addition to a physical site for pickup orders, for instance, it uses “ghost kitchens,” places where the food is prepared for delivery by services like Uber Eats.
“The storefront is now in the palm of your hand,” Mazri said.
“It . . . allows for lower overhead costs and faster expansion, because you don’t need to go through all these interior design guidelines and building an entire brick-and-mortar store, etc.”
That emphasis on tech shows on the GarfieldEATS mobile app, Mazri said. “I’ve developed the most ‘entergaging’ restaurant app, where people can watch content, play games, unlock coupons and redeem them, and also order for delivery or pickup.”
Though these elements complement customers’ experience, the quality of the food is key, Mazri said.
Before launching “we went to meet chef consultants in London, U.K., to create the Garfield recipes for the sauces,” he said.
Creating a socially and environmentally responsible operation is also important, said Mazri. He’s committed to using locally sourced products and ingredients — an approach known as farm-to-plate — and making things like pizza boxes reusable (they’re made with perforations so they can be used as plates).
Mazri said he’s confident his brand — “a novelty, something new and great for the city” — will succeed in London, but he’s not stopping here: he aims to open in 200 other cities by 2025.