Knutsford-based bar and restaurant group Living Ventures has entered "tentative" talks regarding the possibility of the roll-out of its Gusto brand of Italian restaurants and bars.
The company, founded by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, currently has nine Gusto sites across the north of England. All of them are former Est Est Est sites, which the business acquired from The Restaurant Group in 2005.
The planned deal could take place by the end of October and will mark a significant push for Living Ventures, both of the Gusto brand and also of the New World Pub Company (NWPC) business.
Bacon said: "Growth is something we like doing. We like new projects. NWPC is a big target push for us. We have the funding in place to do four or five a year of these for the next three years."
If the deal to finance Gusto's expansion does happen, Living Ventures could open as many as five Gusto sites a year as well, with a view to bringing the estate up to 25-30 sites. However he declined to reveal who the business was in talks with over the financing package.
Speaking about the brand, Bacon said: "It is an incredible business. People don't even know Gusto but all the way through the recession it never had a down year."
Living Ventures currently has 33 sites across a range of different brands, and is set to turn over £60m this year. It employs 1,300 people.
The company's new Manchester House venture, with renowned chef Aiden Byrne, is set to open in Manchester's Spinningfields next month.
Bacon has already indicated that he wants to win back a Michelin star for Manchester with the restaurant - an accolade no restaurant in the city has enjoyed for 33 years.