Chopstix, the fast growing noodle bar chain, is launching a franchise and licensing model to consolidate its restaurants and processes as it aims to have an estate of 600 – 800 UK restaurants, M&C Report has learnt.

The group currently operates 23 sites around the UK and has a further 22 under its existing franchise agreement which will be formalised with the launch of the new licensing model at the end of this week.

Max Jenvey, marketing director for Chopstix Group and Oxxygen Marketing, told M&C Report the company is capable of achieving triple digit growth and building an estate of between 600 – 800 restaurants in the next five to 10 years.

His prediction is based on the growing market segment that ethnic fast food is enjoying in the UK foodservice market according to Mintel’s Ethnic Restaurants and Takeaways 2015 report that shows actual market growth of 7% in 2014 and anticipated growth of 13% by 2019.

At present the company is opening an average of two new stores each month but Jevney believes there is scope to ramp this up to capitalise on the popularity of Asian food in the UK eating out sector.

“This is the first time we have gone to market with a franchise model,” Jevney said. “This whole exercise is about consolidation and bringing brand unification to the estate.”

Under the consolidated licensing model Chopstix is looking to secure deals with UK wide groups such as motorway service station operators to deploy the brand within the UK market.

“We have consolidated the brand and realised just how valuable the offer is and want to develop the existing estate and grow nationally and internationally.”

The company has opened its first international restaurant in the Republic of Ireland under a franchise agreement with Apple Green – the motorway service station and forecourt F&B partner.

Jevney said early indications of the first week of trading are “amazing in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.”

Internationally he said the group will grow “optimistically but realistically” into mainland Europe including interest from partners in Spain and Germany.

As Chopstix moves forward with the consolidation there will be a period that existing partners under the old franchise and licensing deal will be offered the chance to remain with the company under the much more formal agreement.

As part of the consolidation Chopstix is developing new menu items and introducing new proteins and a children’s menu which, like the full menu, is MSG-free.

Founding partners, Menashe Sadik and Sam Elia said: “Following continued and accelerated growth over the last decade, and British Franchise Association accreditation, Chopstix Noodle Bar is now ready to support a franchise community, taking our company to the next level.

“We have a comprehensive franchise support programme in place, including our online business management Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software aptly entitled ‘Noodles’, to ensure our franchisees are set for success. After all, their success is our future.”