Midlands-based sandwich bar chain Simply Eat has announced plans to open 100 outlets across the UK over the next five years. Director Pravin Patel told British Baker that the firm plans to open a mixture of company-managed and franchised sites, but also has its eye on acquisitions, having already been in talks with a struggling firm in the area.

The business currently has four owner-managed outlets in Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Halesowen and Derby but has decided that the franchise route is its best option for the future growth of the chain. Patel said the chain sees its closest competition in the form of Greggs and, to a lesser extent, Subway, as well as independent high street sandwich shops, but said the firm found "there was a gap in the market for a genuine quick-serve restaurant chain that offered traditional classics, such as paninis and baguettes in a ’big brand fast food’ format". "We have an active franchising campaign in our existing stores, which is in its early stages," he added.

Patel said the chain is mainly looking to open sites in pedestrianised areas, first branching out to Nottingham and Leicester, with around six new outlets this year, before increasing the rate of expansion in subsequent years. Its menu features sandwiches, baguettes and paninis made fresh on-site every day, and the firm will also be moving into sweet bakery, for example muffins and cakes, said Patel.