Former Hakkasan chief executive Niall Howard has entered into partnership with Project Pie, the Californian-based fast casual pizza concept out, to launch the brand in the UK.

The brand, which has signed a master franchise agreement with The Canavan Co UK Ltd, plans to add 60 locations in the UK and Ireland over the next 10 years, with Dundee mooted for its debut site.

Howard, who stepped down from Hakkasan in 2013, said: “Not only do I love it, I want to be part of it. This will certainly shake things up in the pizza industry in the UK and beyond. The brand’s cheekiness and youthfulness will certainly cater to the millennial who wants their pizza their own way.”

Sue and John Canavan, of the Canavan Co. UK, said that they knew immediately they had to bring Project Pie to the UK after trying it in Hillcrest, California. “From the design, the vibe and the food, everything screamed quality, edgy and different,” said John Canavan.

Known for “everyday artisan pizza custom-built by you” every custom-built pizza is cooked in two minutes in a high-temperature, stone-hearth oven and served to guests in less than five minutes from the time of their order. All pizzas are one price regardless of how many toppings are added.

James Markham, chief executive and founder of Project Pie, said of Howard: “How can you not love having this guy involved? He is top of the food chain - pun intended - in the restaurant and entertainment industry, building the five-star Hakkasan to a global brand in the world’s hippest cities. I am pumped to have him as a partner in the UK. We are going to do some cool stuff together with Project Pie.

“Everything about Project Pie is authentic…our food, our staff and our brand. The UK has a great food scene and Niall Howard is the best guy to help us bring it to the UK and Ireland. We know people are going to get what we’re doing with pizza, and dig it.”

The brand currently operates 14 sites in the US and has a further eight units internationally.