Wagamama, the David Campbell-led chain, is seeking to appoint a new property director as it looks to open around 45 new restaurants over the next three years.

The c115-strong group, which will make its debut in New York next year, has started the recruitment process for the role.

John Ritchie, the former director of property at Itsu, joined Wagamama in mid-September as its interim director of property.

The property director position at the group has been vacant since Sharon Cawthorne stepped down from the role at the end of 2013, with Simon Cope, the group’s global brand director for Wagamama, taking on the property remit.

Cope told M&C last month that the company will continue to grow its UK estate with the opening of “dramatic” sites such as its recently opened Trafford Centre and Great Marlborough Street restaurants.

He said that openings of Wagamama at the Trafford Centre and its two new airport sites have performed particularly well for the group with business as a whole going well.

The company also plans to undertake 50 refurbishments over the next three years.