There is a surprising amount of competition between operators for the best sites, Martin Wolstencroft, chief executive of Arc Inspirations has found.

Featuring on MCA’s The Conversation this week, he said the 17-strong northern bar operator was “back on plan” in terms of its growth ambitions.

The business, which operates venues under the Banyan, Manahatta and Box brands, had been steadily growing before the pandemic and has now resumed its search for new sites.

“We were hoping there were going to be lots of sites out there we could look to attack and pick up […] you’d be surprised at how much competition there is,” he told host, and MCA contributing editor, Peter Martin. “We looked at one and there were about 15 offers already in on it.”

Arc already has two new sites, which it has completed on, which it is hoping to open later this year – subject to the green light from its bank.

Fellow panellist Peter Marks, chief executive, Rekom UK said with something like a billion pounds raised by newcos or other companies with a view to investing in the hospitality sector, he was not surprised to see there was a high level of activity in the market.

“I think there are going to be a lot of people chasing the best sites, and even the best brands,” he said, adding that he thinks the market will have “quite a ride” when the fall out from the end of the rent moratorium is felt.