Balans, the London-based restaurant and café group, is to open two new sites this year, MCA has learnt.

The group has secured a unit in the Cardinal Place scheme in London’s Victoria, which is due to open by the end of July.

Co-founder David Taylor also confirmed to MCA that the group will open a site in the Dickens Yard development in Ealing, which is likely to open towards the end of the year. The scheme is also set to include Tonkotsu and Skinny Kitchen.

Taylor told MCA that the launch of its eighth and ninth site would be the focus for 2018 but the group was open to discussions on other opportunities.

He said sales in 2017 had grown c18%, boosted by the opening of a site in Clapham, with like-for-like sales up c5%.

He added that, while trade so far this year had been solid, the snow and a power cut in the West End had hit sales.

On the new openings, he said: “They are big sites so they will take a lot of our focus. We have a well-established model now so we won’t be trying anything drastically different. Victoria in particular will have a strong lunch time trade.”

On why he remained confident about growing the business, he said: “With both of these sites we have been able to have adult conversations with the landlords. We’re not paying premiums and we are getting support to get us started. A lot of the problems in the wider industry seem to be largely to do with people taking on unprofitable sites.”