Barburrito, the Mexican chain founded by Morgan Davies, is looking forward to renewed expansion as it prepares for “the next phase of growth”, MCA has learned.

The business, which has 20 company-owned sites and two franchised sites with TRG Concessions at Edinburgh and Bristol airports, has been focusing on surviving the post Brexit referendum instability “with a view to getting back on the expansion trail next year,” said Davies.

“We are currently in discussions around securing the next phase of growth and we anticipate getting back to a situation where we are opening five sites a year relatively soon but it’s simply not a good time to be doing property deals,” he said.

He pointed to Intu’s Arndale Centre in Manchester where he said Barburrito was one of three food operators in a development that was supposed to have ten.

“That would never, ever have happened in the UK historically. It would have been unheard of. There’s a missed opportunity there for quality operators because we’re doing really well there but it’s a reflection of where the industry is at the moment.

“The reality is the costs of the market are going to have to shift. You can’t hang on to the £/sq ft otherwise there will be a lot of empty space in the high street.”

Davies did not want to go into detail about the relationship with TRG Concessions, but said he was looking forward to doing more sites together. “We have sites in the pipeline,” was all that he would divulge.

Davies also revealed that he was looking at similar ventures in terms of international franchising but “what we are not going to do is start going down the route of giving out franchise licences to individual operators.That was “very risky” he said.