Salt Yard Group, the Simon Mullins-led London restaurant operator, is looking to diversify its portfolio into suburban London as property in central London is becoming more difficult to secure, M&C Report has learnt.

Mullins said he is interested in developing Salt Yard into affluent residential areas as well as developing restaurant concepts for the centre. The group is considering Notting Hill, Chiswick, Richmond, Putney and Wimbledon amongst others for suitable sites:

“We are looking around all of London because we have to,” Mullins said.

“Our strategy is to continue to open restaurants that are clearly related to each other with a common theme all together and achieve the same standards of food but at the same time looking individual.”

For 2015 he said he is working on a concept inspired by northern Italy and its Alpine neighbours taking influences from Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria.

This is one of three pipeline concepts being incubated for this and next year that are all slightly different, which will be developed in parallel to opening Salt Yards in affluent suburban neighbourhoods.

Another space Mullins is keen to explore is travel retail as Network Rail and airports are increasingly looking for high quality operators to operate at stations and airports.

“I certainly think we could take Salt Yard to the residential areas and why not into the travel space? Whether that’s branded or not, or an adaptation of the existing model to create the right format, we would not want to compromise quality but it would be something scalable.”

The company has built up a strong operations team to gear up for growth including the appointment of operations manager Christine Cheung who is the former operations manager from Wagamama franchise in Ireland, who joined the company about a month ago.