Romet Group will look to take advantage of property opportunities post-pandemic to grow its Italian restaurant Figo to 12 sites.

Operations director Andy Dempster said the neighbourhood-style concept, which his backed by Essex restaurateur Tony Manconi, was “eminently scaleable”, with an aim to grow across London when restrictions are lifted.

Romet currently operates two restaurants under the brand, a flagship in Stratford that opened in November 2019, and a second site in Brentwood that launched in September 2020.

A third restaurant in Leyton was due to launch in March, but has been delayed until dine in is permitted.

Dempster told BigHospitality: “Figo is an eminently scaleable concept; the aim is to eventually reach about a dozen sites.

“We really want to grow across London, and already have a number of areas earmarked to possibly move into including King’s Cross and Shoreditch.

“Obviously, we’ve had to dampen down our expectations for expansion this year because of the ongoing restrictions, but going into 2022 we certainly hope we can open another three restaurants.

“The growth has to be organic though. We don’t want to echo the mistakes of casual dining chains in the past and just rush in and open a load of restaurants in quick succession.

“Our approach is very measured; looking at the business model, analysing the costs and sales forecasts to make sure the site is sustainable.”

On the potential for property opportunities, he added: “For a strong, independent group like us it’s a chance to potentially compete with the larger operators, and pitch for sites where we may not have got a look in before.

“We’re already seeing it; agents are approaching us and asking if we’re looking for sites. And the ones we’re seeing in prime areas are not ones we would have been given a chance to look at before.”