Wagamama, the fast casual noodle chain, will open its first restaurant in the US in Boston next April and is in talks over further sites in the area, according to reports. The company has invested just under £1m on the site in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which will have room for 133 covers inside, with space for another 50 covers outside. It will pay rent of $275,000 (£145,000) a year on the leasehold site. The group has also invested just under £1m on fitting out a second site in the city at Harvard Square Galleria, which it expects to open next summer. Speaking exclusively to M&C Report in January this year, Ian Neill, the then chief executive of Wagamama, said that the company was aiming to roll out about six restaurants clustered in the Boston area on the eastern seaboard. Steve Hill, who succeeded Neill in March this year, said the company planned to open further outlets in Boston before looking to expand in another city along the east coast. Hill also said that the company had decided to operate the sites directly, however, he did not rule out taking part in a local joint venture in the future. He told The Times the company was confident the Wagamama concept would work in the US: “Mid-scale dining is big business in the US. But in terms of what we’re doing, there is no perceived direct competitor. There certainly isn’t a national competitor. There are plenty of Chinese operators but they don’t do what we do.” The company currently operates 22 franchise outlets internationally, including sites in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Dubai. It opened its second restaurant in Dubai last month and is close to signing further franchise deals in the Middle East, plus Norway and Sweden. The group opened its 43rd restaurant in the UK in July in Leeds, it plans to open a further three by the end of the year, starting in Bath in October, to be followed by Newcastle in November, and Earl’s Court, London, in December. Wagamama joins other UK operators such as La Tasca and Pret A Manger in the US. La Tasca opened its fourth US site in July this year in Alexandria, an affluent suburb of Washington, and plans to open a fifth outlet in Rockville, Maryland, next March. Pret, which has 10 sites in New York, is this year scheduled to make a profit for the first time in the US, after a problematic debut. YO! Sushi also recently unveiled plans to launch a US division and is close to striking a deal for its first outlet. It plans to expand overseas through the use of franchises and is looking at site in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta and New York.