Californian inspired fast-casual Mexican dining group Tortilla Mexican Grill has announced its intention to list on AIM on or around 8 October to capitalise on further growth opportunities brought about by the pandemic.

Founded in 2007 by serial entrepreneur Brandon Stephens, Tortilla currently operates from 50 sites in the UK as well as two sites franchised to Select Partners UK, part of the SSP Group (SSP) and 10 franchised sites in the Middle East.

The product offering is characterised by freshly prepared, customisable, value-for-money range of burritos, tacos, and salads which the directors believe appeal to a wide demographic and helps to maintain a broad and loyal client base.

The format embraces current trends driving the casual dining market including freshness, high provenance, and convenience including eating out and delivery while also satisfying increasing demand for ethnic foods.

ACCELERATED GROWTH PLANS

The company plans to accelerate growth in the UK and intends to open around 45 sites in the next five years, doubling the rate of growth it has achieved in the last two years when it opened four sites a year.

The directors believe that the company is in a good position to capitalise on the impact that the pandemic has had on the commercial property market.

The company said this has created an ‘exceptional’ opportunity for the group to secure favourable rental rates and incentive packages.

FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY

In addition to the roll-out of company operated sites Tortilla entered an agreement with SSP in 2019 to franchise the brand in transport hubs.

The first site was opened in London Euston station in 2019 and the second was opened this month at Gatwick airport with further sites expected to be rolled-out in due course. Franchising the brand is a capital light and potentially faster way to expand.

Other growth initiatives include strategic partnerships with amusement parks, hotels, supermarkets, and cloud-kitchen franchisees.

Cloud kitchens are dedicated commercial spaces that prepare food for delivery and takeaway and Tortilla operates its own 5,500 square feet central production unit in Tottenham Hale, giving it cost advantages as well as flexibility to scale its estate.

The company claims it has established a track record of strong financial performance driven by expansion of the property portfolio and like-for-like growth.

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Issue Date: 24 Sep 2021