Fast casual Mexican concept Benito’s Hat is preparing to overhaul of its evening offer with the intruduction of table service, MCA has learned.

Founder Ben Fordham said the changes followed a two-month pilot and customer feedback, and would help the eight-year-old group “grow up” and stand out in a competitive marketplace.

The pilot found that evening customers liked a casual dining atmosphere with table service, but still wanted to be able to tailor their burrito fillings, which they will now be able to do with tick sheets.

Fordham, who resumed management of the six-strong group earlier this year, also said after a period of consolidation the Calculus Capital backed group would look to return to growth with two new openings in the New Year.

He said: “We’ve completely redeveloped our evening offer; it’s a real sea change in how we do things. We’re eight years old and have spent the last six months thinking about how we want to grow up from this burrito wave that hit the country when we opened.

“This market has become crowded in a way it wasn’t when we opened up. We’ve asked ourselves what can we do stand out and be different? How do we grow up?”

The group has been piloting the new approach at its Farringdon branch over the last two months and will roll it out at all restaurants in October 24.

The core menu will remain the same, with new items including quesadillas, pulled pork sandwiches, chilli con carne, spicy cactus salad and chocolate churros.

The aim is to keep customers in for longer during the evenings.

“Cocktails have always been a big part of what we do, so it’s about how to make it bigger and get people to engage with us more. Evenings have been good, but people were coming and going.

“We found people wanted to be able to sit down and get benefits of casual dining, but they also wanted the choice, and be able to tailor it exactly how they want.”

Fordham said the last 12 months had been quiet, with the disposal of two sites, but that he hoped to return to growth with two new sites in the New Year.

The founder resumed running the company after chief exective Richard Baker, formerly of The Restaurant Group, stepped down in February.