Mercato Metropolitano, the Milan founded food hall concept, has confirmed it is in talks on a number of sites in the capital, and expects to open two more in London, as well as several in Europe, MCA has learnt.

Founder Andrea Rasca, who also helped found Eataly, said he was looking at six or seven sites in the UK, had secured a site in Paris and was also looking at three or four more in France, and sites in Belgium, Portugal and Germany.

He said the opening 18 months ago at Elephant and Castle had been a great success, with 2m guests and £9m sales last year, which he said they were on track to double to £16-17m sales this year.

Rasca said Mercato Metropolitano was unlike other food hall type concepts, in that it had a community focus, and a cooperative model which supports local, artisan producers and operators.

He said while 40% of operators and food and drink was Italian, the rest was from other parts of Europe and the world, with the focus was on high quality food and drink, with low cost fit-out (Elephant & Castle cost £1.5m), with no investment.

Confirming he was in talks to open in Mayfair, Rasca told MCA: “We are evaluating many locations, and will probably do one or two in different boroughs of London initially. We have not agreed anything yet, but in the next six months we probably will

“The good thing is we don’t look for sites, borough councils comes to us. They realise we are not a food hall, we are a community enhancer – this is very important

“I never look for footfall. The first thing we look for is the residents, the community. If there’s not a hub or a park, or there’s an abandoned building – that’s even better.”