Brasserie Blanc, the premium casual dining chain founded by French chef Raymond Blanc, has raised £3.5m to fund the next phase of development. The exercise was anchored by Core Capital, which is believed to have contributed about £2m. The fundraising also saw existing directors – including John Lederer, Ian Glynn, Mark Derry and Blanc himself – participate, as well as many other current investors. The new cash paves the way for an accelerated expansion programme that will see Blanc Brasseries step up its existing opening programme from one or two sites a year, to between three and six, at a cost of about £1m per eaterie. After this current round after fundraising the company expects to be able to sustain its new opening rate from existing cashflows and banking facilities – it currently works with Barclays. The existing Blanc portfolio is located in Bristol, Cheltenham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Portsmouth and Winchester. The company has just unveiled a new outlet on Threadneedle Street in the City of London and is understood to be at various legal stages on a further three sites. Its restaurants typically comprise 120 covers, with average weekly sales of between £30,000 and £40,000.