Itsu, the Julian Metcalfe-led group, has appointed Sean Donnelly, formerly of Pizza Hut and Steak ‘n’ Shake, as its new head of property.

Donnelly was previously European head of design & construction at Pizza Hut UK & Europe and before that senior director of international design & construction at Steak ‘n’ Shake.

At the start of this year, Phil Derbyshire, formerly property director at Itsu, became the new property director at Wagamama.

The c70-strong Itsu plans to make its US debut later this year in New York’s fashion district.

Speaking at MCA’s Food to Go conference last month, Metcalfe said that Itsu’s regional growth is still in its relative formative stages, and explained the evolution of the Itsu offer as it expands.

He said: “We have moved from a sushi takeaway place, to 50% hot food and eat in. Our mantra is healthy food, fresh not fried. It’s very different from what we did initially. You have to keep evolving. Sites like Reading, Brighton and Manchester are on the whole doing brilliantly.”