US-founded fast casual chain The Halal Guys has secured a further London site, in Earl’s Court, following its European debut in Leicester Square last week.

The company, which serves hot sandwiches or platters made with chicken, beef or falafel, has a franchise deal with ITICO F+B who are looking to expand to 20 locations across the country in the next five years.

ITICO managing partner Whitney Myrus told MCA’s sister title, BigHospitality that a third opening was planned for this year with a further eight expected in 2020.

He said: “We’re probably looking at 4-6 in London in the next 24 months, and then the balance in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh.”

Myrus said The Halal Guys’ UK launch had been in line with his expectations, adding: “Our grand launch saw Leicester Square almost brought to a standstill. Queues were already forming at 8am and by the time the doors opened three hours later, people were snaking down Irving Street and into the square itself.

“Over the course of the day over 2,000 people waited patiently in the queue – 2.5 hours at peak time – ultimately feasting on 1300 of our famous chicken and beef platters and 500 sandwiches. We were absolutely delighted by the reaction, not least because London is the most important market for The Halal Guys outside of NYC thanks to the strong connection between the two cities.”

The Halal Guys was founded by Egyptian immigrants Mohammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abedelbaset Elsayed, who opened a street food start cart in New York in 1990. Franchising began rapidly in 2015, with more than 450 sites sold in six countries over the following three years.