Rice Faster Food Outlet, a Manchester-based restaurant group, is to use its base of five company-operated eateries to launch a franchise model. The group is to launch Rice Franchising in a bid to accelerate the expansion of its restaurant locations. Manoj Verma, the company founder who has a background in textiles and equities, hopes to attract franchise partners from across the UK and Ireland. The first Rice Faster Food Outlet opened in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens in 2005. There are now five branches, including four in the city and one in Newcastle, with a Deansgate branch scheduled to open in the autumn. The group has two operating models – it’s original fast-casual / quick service format plus a second brand variant that trades under the name Rice Flamebar & Grill, which operates at Manchester’s Trafford Centre. On launching the rice-based business Verma said: "As six out of 10 people in the world eat rice everyday I thought why not develop a restaurant offering a fusion of rice dishes? "Five years on, we see great opportunity in developing Rice Franchising.” Franchise partners will be expected to commit £200,000 to £250,000. GVA Grimley is working with the company to identify opportunities in high footfall locations.