Prezzo chief executive Jon Hendry-Pickup has told MCA that the group will be “extremely selective” with new sites for the near future.

In contrast to last year’s tally of 21 restaurant openings, Hendry-Pickup said he expected to add six to 10 new sites over the coming 12 months.

Hendry-Pickup said the focus would instead be on rolling out a new design for the core Prezzo brand.

He said: “We are being extremely selective, which I think is the story of the sector right now. There are some excellent opportunities – there is finally some value out there, so as that happens we will take advantage. But right now the focus is on making sure the estate is in the best shape it can be.”

Hendry-Pickup said he expected most of the openings to be under the core brand. He said the now three-strong MexiCo brand had seen a successful launch in Bedford in July but stressed he wanted to bed the concept further before any further expansion.

Earlier this year the group moved to consolidate its c300-strong estate by placing a 27-strong package of sites on the market.

This weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Prezzo owners TPG Capital had been having informal talks to sell the business.