London food hall operator Mercato Metropolitano is aiming to raise £5m-7m in a funding round in the next few months.
The company, which is due to open a further three London markets this year, is planning to launch an equity fundraise in the second quarter of 2021.
The Caterer understands this will be used to support the expansion of its international team as the brand looks to grow in major cities in Europe and the United States.
Around £1m will be set aside to support an incubator programme for traders in partnership with global cookery schools. This will include competitions for graduating chefs, who will be supported in opening their first business within one of its markets.
Mercato Metropolitano was founded by Andrea Rasca, a former vice-president of Italian food hall brand Eataly, in Milan in 2015. It has opened two London food halls in Elephant & Castle in 2016 and in a former Mayfair church in 2019.
Markets in London's Canary Wharf and Elephant Park are due to open this summer, followed by Ilford in autumn.
By 2025 Mercato Metropolitano plans to open sites in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York, Berlin, Lisbon and Milan.
Amedeo Claris, managing director at Mercato Metropolitano, told The Caterer the group was moving forward with deals and expansion plans despite delays due to coronavirus.
Mercato Metropolitano's traders are banned from offering heavily processed food or drinks, and dishes are served in recyclable and compostable containers.
Claris said: "We're not creating a chain of businesses, we're creating a movement or artisans trying to change the food system."
He added that regional UK openings were expected after the group's international expansion, with discussions already taking place with landlords in Birmingham and Manchester.