China-based hot pot giant HaiDiLao has briefed property agents to hunt sites in eight “priority” UK regions as part of its plans to get a foothold beyond London and as a springboard into Europe.
The business made its European debut at the Trocadero, in Piccadilly Circus, in May. The next site, at the O2 in Greenwich, south-east London, will open by the end of this year, a source told MCA.
Property agent Savills, which is running its global account, has put out a call to landlords for sites in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
MCA understands that Savills has also been briefed to target Spain, the Netherlands, Frankfurt, in Germany, and Milan, in Italy. It has also opened in Toronto, Canada.
The business, founded in Sichuan Province, in 1994 through parent company Sichuan Haidilao Catering Co, has more than 400 sites in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and the US.
A source said plans to open 20 outlets in the capital by 2020 may have been overegged and he thought HaiDiLao would open about 10 in London and 10 outside the capital, although it could be more.
HaiDiLao is understood to be just one of “a huge swathe” of Asian companies, looking to come to the UK.