Steve Holmes, chief executive of the Azzurri Group, has told M&C the group’s acquisition of Coco Di Mama could see it grow to 40 sites in the next couple of years.

Holmes confirmed the company behind the ASK and Zizzi brands had completed the deal to take over Coco Di Mama yesterday.

He said the founders of the currently six-strong quick-service Italian concept, Daniel Land and Jeremy Sanders, would remain with the company to oversee its growth.

He told M&C: “This is a really good fit with Azzurri because it’s an area we know in terms of Italian food but it opens us up to a new area with the fast casual market.

“In terms of how quickly it can grow, you just have to look at the size that Pret has reached in London. They have 200 sites so there’s clearly a lot of scope.

“I would see us building 30 to 40 sites in the next few years. We would want to get critical mass in London before going further but I certainly don’t see growth being restricted to London.”

On the prospect of future acquisitions, Holmes said: “Our aspiration is to be of the UK’s leading food businesses but for the moment we have our hands full with this.”

Jeremy Sanders and Daniel Land, co-founders of Coco di Mama, said: “We are very proud of what the team at Coco di Mama have achieved since we began in 2011. A partnership with Azzurri marks a new and exciting chapter for the business. We look forward to working with Azzurri, which brings proven expertise and resources in growing and operating successful Italian food brands, and continuing to offer our customers great food, coffee and service.”