Mexican-inspired chain Chilango is aiming to open a further 30 restaurants by 2025, managing director Richard Franks has told MCA.

The business, which was acquired out of administration last summer by investment firm RD Capital Partners, currently has 10 restaurants and four delivery-only kitchens.

Franks, who took over as MD at the beginning of last year, said the senior team’s vision for the business was “ambitious but achievable”, and that the planned additional sites would put it in line with its direct competitor in terms of footprint.

“By 2025 we want to become the UK’s most loved and successful Mexican chain and we believe we are in a good position to do that, it’s now just about putting the pillars in place to achieve it,” he said.

Chilango has been building its senior team in order to set it up for future growth, with two new appointments announced this month. Wagamama’s chief operating officer Nigel Sherwood joins the board as a non-executive director, while Carrie Bowers has been appointed head of people and culture.

Franks said the business was fortunate to have placed a lot of emphasis on delivery pre-pandemic and had essentially been operating as a delivery business since then, but he was optimistic that office workers and tourists would return to London over the next 18 months to two years and sees a lot of opportunities for growth in the capital.

“We know we do very well in London and we have a strong brand and presence there, so we feel like there is a massive opportunity for us to grow in London, but we also want to look at regional locations,” explained Franks.

It is open to exploring all types of location and formats, with the recent success of its digital-only site in Boxpark Croydon opening up “a lot of new possibilities”, particularly for smaller units.

When the opportunity to change location from its existing upper level site in Boxpark arose, Chilango used it as an opportunity to explore the use of its digital kiosks. It tweaked the menu, adding additional sides, and has found that this has led to an increase in average transaction values of 20%. While sales at the new smaller format site are 150% up on 2019 levels in its former restaurant.

Franks said the business had been encouraged by Chilango’s sales performance since restrictions were relaxed in April, with walk-in customers coming back “at a nice rate” but admitted that numbers were nowhere near 2019 levels.