BIRD, the fried chicken and waffles concept, is to return to the acquisition trail with two sites lined up for the next six months.

Founders Cara Ceppetelli and Paul Hemings told MCA that an opening at the Wharf Kitchen in Canary Wharf development in November would be followed by a site in Brixton in early 2019, taking the brand to six restaurants.

They said the continued success of the BIRD kiosk at Westfield Stratford and intelligence from their partnership with Yumpingo had given them confidence to roll out a streamlined model.

They said a focus on improving food quality and service standards, reinforced by the Yumpingo data, had helped drive like-for-like sales growth of 8.3% so far in 2018. They stressed that none of the uplift was due to menu price increases.

The strategy has involved a weekly focus on boosting the worst rated dishes as well as incorporating feedback on the most popular items, based on the c30,000 reviews they have received since introducing the technology in November.

The pair said that delivery and takeaway would be a key driver of sales in both new openings, after a conscious decision to reduce the footprint of their sites.

The Canary Wharf site will be 1,000 sq ft and have seating for between 30 and 40 customers.

Hemings said: “We’re certainly not moving to a fast food model but it is all about streamlining our offer, stripping out what’s not completely necessary and focussing on what is really key to our customers. We are taking the learnings from Yumpingo and we are streamlining the way we deliver our product to our customers. In our price point and cuisine, the human interaction doesn’t necessarily need to be ten steps of service and four visits to the table. We feel we can do what we’re doing even with a move away from that table service approach.”

Following the next two items, the pair say it is difficult to predict the ideal rate of growth for the brand.

Hemings said: “Four years ago I would have said we wanted to get to the point of opening six to eight restaurants a year as quickly as possible. Now those kind of rollouts seem crazy. Now if you move smartly and you’re not solely motivated by hitting a number, there are some good opportunities out there.”

BIRD was founded in 2014, in Shoreditch, and has since expanded to Islington, Camden and Westfield Stratford, as well as opening a shipping container site at Printworks London.