The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group is to open a permanent version of its Jamie’s Diner concept – after securing a unit at Gatwick South, MCA has learnt.

Chief executive Simon Blagden told MCA that the site was likely to open for next summer.

He said that the format, which has been running as a pop-up in Piccadilly, brings together various elements from across the estate.

He confirmed that two more sites under the Barbecoa steakhouse brand would open next year – in Piccadilly, in February, and Nova Victoria in the summer as well as a Jamie’s Italian in Southampton.

He also said that a push on deals and its kids-eat-free holiday promotion had driven sales with 60,000 covers recorded in August.

He said: “The market has been very tough – there’s a lot of competition out there and the first half of the year was especially challenging. But we’ve been really pleased with the effects we’ve seen from the initiatives we’ve put in this year. We’ve taken a bit of a hit on the top line but it has generated a lot of visits.”

On the scope for the Jamie’s Italian brand he reiterated his commitment to not over-saturate and said the main focus would be on international expansion. However, he said the group was no further forward on its goal of opening in the US.

He said: “We’ll get there but we’re very conscious that we do this the right way. There are multiple opportunities and multiple avenues and we have to look very carefully at what suits the business best.”