Solita co-founder Franco Sotgiu would like to bring in a third business partner to help take the North East bar and restaurant group to the next phase of growth, MCA has learnt.

Sotgiu and co-owner Simon Pogson have grown Solita to four sites and plan to open to more next year in towns within a one-hour driving distance of Manchester.

They are considering Huddersfield, Leeds, Carlyle and Liverpool as possible destinations, as well as affluent Cheshire suburbs such as Alderley Edge and Hale.

The group has established a central kitchen in Prestwich which would feed new restaurants in the region.

They have also recently launched beer hall pop-up in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, as well as wood-fired pizza kitchen next to its flagship restaurant in Prestwich.

Sotgiu said: “We plan to open two more next year radiating out from Manchester, possible further north, in large towns rather than cities, almost what we called forgotten towns where multiples haven’t invested.

“We did that in Prestwich and Preston and it seems to have given other people confidence to go there as well.

“For us there’s no pressure from investors so we can grow the business organically. We’re not beholden to anybody. We can change the concept and change the menu pretty quickly. We can react the market.”

On taking on a new partner, he added: “We’ve realised now with two of us and four sites we’re probably spreading ourselves too thinly. If we want to carry on with this expansion, we would like someone to come on board and take on a proportion of the company. Ideally someone will come in and take 25% of the company and help us get to the next phase.”