Tonkotsu, the Emma Reynolds and Ken Yamada-founded ramen concept, has appointed advisers as it looks to secure new investment to fund its next stage of growth, MCA understands.

The group is believed to have appointed Grant Thornton and Dow Schofield Watts to oversee the funding process, with a successful transaction expected to close at a double digit valuation.

The London-based company, which was founded by Reynolds and Yamada in Soho in 2012, is believed to have generated full-year turnover close to £7m, and is sure to attract private equity firms and investment vehicles.

The business is currently on site at Dicken’s Yard in Ealing, where its ninth standalone restaurant is due to open in the last week of November. Tonkotsu also operates two concessions at Selfridges in Birmingham and London’s Oxford Street.

The group, which is led by Stephen Evans, former development director at GBK, will open its first site of 2019 on Rye Lane in Peckham, and is in legals on a further unit on Shoreditch high street.

The Peckham site will open in the former offices of criminal solicitor Ralph Haeems, next to the Bussey Building, as part of a mixed development which will include a couple of restaurants, a live music venue, rooftop bar and co-working space.

Evans, managing director at Tonkotsu, recently told MCA that the business was hoping to open four sites next year, with the Peckham and Shoreditch sites pencilled in to open in Q1 and Q2.

“We are halfway to fulfilling next year’s business plan in terms of new site openings. In contrast to two years ago, when operators struggled to identify and acquire strong sites, we are now in a position where we can take a very strategic approach”, he said.

The company has spent the last 18 months getting its internal structure right, with Evans promoted from operations director to Managing Director at the start of 2017.

Mike Statham was promoted from financial controller to finance director earlier this year. Ashleigh Muir joined from Casual Dining Group as brand manager last October, whilst Robert Palmer Williams – whose previous roles include regional managing director at Nando’s – joined as operations manager at the beginning of January.

The company is also set to collaborate with UCL on a 12-month project, which will see the university’s new intake of Masters of Mechanical Engineering students work on improving efficiencies at the restaurant business.

“The investment we have made over the last 18 months has started to pay dividends and we are now in a position, with the right people, systems and processes in place to sustainably grow the business over the next 3-5 years,” Evans said.

Although M&A activity in the restaurant sector has been depressed over two years, appetite for Asian-influenced cuisines remains strong, with Giggling Squid, Koh Thai Tapas and Rosa’s Thai all securing new investment. The latter was acquired by private equity firm TriSpan earlier this year.