YouTube sensations The Sidemen are set to open their first standalone high street restaurant this year as part of plans to expand their Sides fried chicken brand.
The YouTube collective consists of Olajide ‘JJ’ Olatunji (KSI), Harry Lewis (Wroetoshaw), Simon Minter (Miniminter), Vik Barn (Vikkstar123), Josh Bradley (Zerkaa), Ethan Payne (Behzinga) and Tobi Brown (TBJZL), and has 18.5 million subscribers.
The group first launched the Sides brand for delivery only in late 2021 and has since expanded into food courts.
On Monday, The Sidemen revealed plans to expand it to a further 10 locations in 2023, in a move that expands its footprint to northern England and Scotland and create around 100 jobs.
They have not disclosed exact locations for the sites but confirmed it would include the group’s first standalone high-street restaurant and it will hit shopping centres.
Sides is a part of Virtual Hero Group, a subsidiary of German Doner Kebab and Island Poke owner Hero Brands.
Virtual Hero said it hopes the brand can expand to 200 sites over the next 10 years as part of a long-term growth strategy.
The Sidemen’s Zerkaa said: “The fans have been crying out for more Sides locations, so we are excited to meet the fever pitch demand with more restaurants across the UK.
“Our first ever high street store will be a special moment for all of us and we cannot wait for everyone to try them as they will be a real celebration of the Sidemen ahead of our 10-year anniversary as a group.”
Robin Mehta, chief executive officer of Sides, said: “We are keen as a brand to keep evolving and our new high street restaurants will do that alongside furthering our reach in the UK as part of our larger growth target of 200 Sides sites globally in the next 10 years.
“The virtual locations have allowed us to rapidly reach more people across the nation but we are thrilled to expand our brick-and-mortar offering this year.
“The high street restaurant is a fresh concept for creating a new form of engagement for fans.”