Humpit, the Venturian-backed hummus and pita bar concept, is eyeing university expansion across the North of England after securing its fifth site, in Newcastle University Union, MCA has learnt.

The Newcastle site, a former Starbucks unit, will be owned and operated by Humpit, and is the concept’s second university site after Leeds, and first outside of Yorkshire.

Co-founder Jonathan Phillips runs the business with his father Simon, formerly of South East Asia-based restaurant chain Sushi Tei, said after making a substantial investment in its recent York site, the focus was on smaller format units.

He told MCA: “We’d love to get inside more and unis - that’s the dream for us. The student market is huge. We have healthy, fresh food, a good portion for a good price, a hip vibe - students love it.

“Every year we’d like to have one or two extra university sites. Manchester and Liverpool would be great for us.

“York was a big investment and we’re now seeing it’s not worth spending that much on a store, so we’ve looking to reduce in size and go smaller, and universities are perfect for us.

“Universities are such a big market and a captive audience – if you get the offer right, it’s a win win situation.”

Phillips said Leeds University was the best performing site, and led to an invitation to come to Newcastle.

With grab and go making the majority of sales, Phillips said there was an effort to build to the dine in side of the business, with a focus on authentic Middle Eastern hummus bowls, with toppings and pitta.

The brand is also looking to go cashless across its sites after a trial.