Vapiano, the Italian casual dining concept, has announced that it’s looking for franchisees to aid its UK expansion outside London.

The group said it’s in “advanced negotiations on a number of sites in the capital”. It currently operates two in London, with a third opening in Soho in June.

Phil Sermon, managing director of Vapiano in the UK and US, said: “Vapiano operates 141 restaurants worldwide, of which approximately two-thirds are franchised.

“The model has worked extremely well and we believe now is the time to replicate it across the UK.

“Our aim is to open many new restaurants in the UK in the coming years and while we aim to concentrate on London, we believe that there are superb franchise opportunities in the rest of the UK.

“We are looking for hands-on operators who have an excellent knowledge of their local market and the willingness and ability to build up a successful business there.”

Vapiano Franchising International chief executive Mario C. Bauer said: “Our existing franchisees across the world have enjoyed outstanding success with their individual restaurants.

“A good example is Sweden, where two franchise partners have made a great success of their eight restaurants.

“We have worldwide success stories from Sweden to Taiwan and from Switzerland to Australia.

“We are confident that entrepreneurs in the UK will view a franchise with Vapiano as an excellent opportunity to be part of a successful and growing restaurant group with a worldwide presence.”