Ed’s Easy Diner, the American-style casual dining chain, plans to build an estate of up to 30 sites in South Africa over the next three to four years, after opening its first site in the country last week. The group, which is backed by Rankvale, has entered a partnership with a group of “very successful, high-profile private investors” to launch in South Africa, where due to a local restaurant it will trade under the name Joe’s Easy Diner. It hopes to have three sites operating in Cape Town by the end of the year. It opened the first site at Blue Route Shopping Mall, with a second lined up to open in the Canal Walk complex. The group plans to open up to 10 sites a year in the country over the next few years and will expand into Johannesburg by the end of 2013. It hasn’t ruled out entering other African nations under the new partnership. The group is believed to be have been in discussions with potential franchisees and overseas partners regarding opportunities for developing Ed’s internationally for some time. Hong Kong, Germany and Australia have previously been mooted as other possible destinations for the chain. The group opened its 12th site in the UK in Highcross, Leicester last week and hopes to have 15 restaurants operating here by the end of the year, with two locations under construction, thought to be in Swindon and West Quays in Southampton and another in legals. It plans to open a further eight sites in the UK next year.