Island Poké has signed up its first two UK franchise partners, with a planned development pipeline of 23 new sites over the next five years – three times its current UK footprint.

The agreements come in addition to the 42 already planned in France and Benelux over the same time frame and follows a recent investment from Hero Brands.

The first of the new Island Poké outlets will open in Camden Market on 17 May, with subsequent openings focused initially on London, however discussions are currently taking place with additional franchise partners, which the business said could see a further 50 sites open in the UK.

Island Poké, which recently won the Emerging Concept category at MCA’s Retailers’ Retailer Awards, has continued to expand during the pandemic, doubling its estate and developing DIY poké boxes.

Founder, James Gould-Porter, said: “We are just beginning to ease-out the pandemic which has been a hugely challenging period for the hospitality sector and these latest partnerships show amazing confidence in our brand.

“Hero Brands has given us key investment and expertise in growing our franchise model and it is also extremely pleasing to secure our first two partners so quickly after they have come on board with us,” he added.

Hero Brand’s Chairman Athif Sarwar added: “Island Poké fits with our DNA and we are working with James and the team to bring our expertise and embark on our ambitions to create a truly global brand.”