Tampopo, the pan-Asian restaurant group, is making operational changes to consolidate its preparation processes before looking to expand later in the year, M&C Report has learnt.

The company, which was founded by David Fox and Nick Jeffrey in Manchester in 1997, saw its like for like sales increase by 15% across its Manchester restaurants in 2014 and 5% growth across its sites in Reading and Bristol as well as its East Street restaurant in London last year.

“We would like to open more East Street or Tampopo,” Fox said. “The size we are we can look at which of our concepts will fit best in different locations.”

 “East Street is a city centre concept that would work within central London and Tampopo works within traditional retail leisure scheme – but we don’t have to be a slave to that idea.”

He said the group will consider new sites later this year after securing support from venture capitalists, which it is considering as a route to exit for some of the stakeholders to maximse on investment.

Fox said the company sees more opportunities in London for its East Street concept, which it currently operates at Rathbone Place, off of Oxford Street.

The site was selected to “piggy back” off the regeneration of that end of Oxford Street and the additional passengers brought into the city with the Crossrail development when it comes online in 2017.

He said the group will begin to look for new sites at the end of the year after reshaping its operations to reduce the labor demands in preparation of certain dishes and materially reduce costs without impacting the quality of food.

In Manchester it has restaurants at Albert Square and the Trafford Centre , as well as a Tam-pop up which temporarily replaces the Corn Exchange site that is due to reopen in July when the building has been redeveloped.

Fox said the pop-up has gone well, but is very weather dependent and hopes to extend its trading days from the spring.

“We would be interested in running more pop-ups but I’m jaded by the street food scene: if you are a pure food operator the costs are very high.”

He said costs involved in the ethnic food sector in terms of both ingredients and preparation time are high compared with other concepts.

In Bristol, Fox said there has been a “difficult climate” as there has been an influx of restaurants opening in the same area in the last 18 months without an increase in population.

“My view of the landscape is far more positive looking forward than looking backward in terms of inflation, exchange rates and generally the growth in the market so I think there will be more customers going forward.”

Throughout 2015 the company is streamlining its preparation techniques to increase margins and reduce preparation time on individual dishes. To achieve greater consistency it has opened a centralised preparation kitchen in east Manchester to serve its restaurants in the city, which has the capacity to quadruple its output in the future.