23.5 Degrees, the UK’s first franchisee for Starbucks, is to expand its presence to the north of England, MCA understands.

The company, which opened its first Starbucks franchise site on Liphook, Hampshire in February 2013, is now actively seeking drive-thru sites in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and the North East, after securing the development agreement for the region.

The group, which currently operates 40 Starbucks units in the south east, plans to operate up to 200 sites under the brand over the next five years.

In June 2016, the company opened its first drive thru at Hounds Mill roundabout, Basingstoke, which was closely followed by its 2nd drive thru on the A31 West bound close to Ringwood, Dorset.

It is also looking for sites in Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Surrey, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex, and has development rights in 13 of the outer London boroughs.

Managing director Mark Hepburn has a track record of significant success in food service franchise businesses, including Burger King and KFC.

The company’s growth is supported by private equity firm Connection Capital as well as RBS.