Roosters Piri Piri, the grilled chicken franchise, is starting to branch out of its South East heartland with a pipeline of 10 new sites this year, MCA has learnt.

Shahid Hussain, director of UK and global franchising at the brand, told MCA openings were planned for Leeds, Poole, Croydon, Eastleigh, High Wickham and Newcastle.

The 35-strong brand, which has single and multisite franchisees, plans to open 10 sites this year, 25 in 2018 and 35 in 2019.

Hussain said the business had spent the last few years consolidating its estate and broadening its appeal beyond its original Asian-centric consumer base with amitions to beome a national brand, 

Roosters has also signed a development agreement in Libya – the first UK restaurant operator do so – with a franchise expected to open there in the coming weeks.

Hussain said: “In the last year or two we’ve really started to grow a lot quicker. Last year we opened five altogether, including Brighton and Woolwich.

“Our plans for this year a staggering, we’ve got so many in the pipeline.

“We spent the last year reorganising our management, marketing team and head office ready for sustainable growth and to become a nationwide brand.

He added: “When we started we targeted a very Asian market, but we’ve since looked to actively diversify by making our menu more appealing to everyone. Now we appeal to a whole section of the population. We have good veggie options, low fat for the gym crowd, a low price point for students, as well as ethnic flavours. We’ve transitioned quite successfully.”

Hussain said Roosters was considerably cheaper than high street rival Nando’s and was lower in fat amd calories.

He said the group was looking to raise private equity funding to accelerate its growth.