Benito’s Hat, the fast casual Mexican restaurant group, is opening a 3,000sq ft flagship site spread over three floors at London Bridge station in the summer as part of plans to reach up to 12 sites by the end of the year, managing director Ben Fordham told M&C Report.

The site, which will be the largest to date, will have a ground floor similar to the format of existing Benito’s Hat restaurants with lines and open kitchens that allow guests to see food being prepared then the first floor will be given over to more relaxed seating with a bar.

“We went from Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen to Benito’s Hat Burritos and Margaritas about three years ago – with a site of that size we can really showcase the margarita element of it.”

Located next to the entrance to the station in the arches by the Shard, Fordham said the site will benefit from the high footfall of passengers but have more personality than a location on the station’s concourse.

As well as preparing to launch its largest site, Benito’s Hat is preparing to launch its smallest – a kiosk in a shipping container at Liverpool Street Station next month as a hail to the street food traditions of Mexican food and ensure the brand remains connected to its roots.

Rolling out different formats for different locations allows the company to use varied sized spaces to focus on grab and go or larger spaces that allow for a bar and relaxed seating.

“Our sweet spot is 1500 – 2500sq ft to give enough space to deliver food, a visible kitchen and bar then after that it takes more planning to see what we could do.”

Fordham said the group is in discussion on a further two sites within the M25 and he is “pretty confident we will finish the year on 11 or 12 sites.”

“My expectation is in 2016 we will start to go further afield but at the moment everything is within the M25.”

The Calculus Capital-backed group has just opened its first site outside of central London in Bromley which Fordham said “really does open doors for where we can go” to expand away from the capital but is cautious to see how the concept is received in the location.

“Whether we look at a site in central London, greater London, Manchester or Newquay – as long as we can keep the core and make changes going on to suit where we are.”