Mexican restaurant group Tortilla has announced a major expansion drive and plans to float on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's market for small and medium-size companies.
The company, which was founded in 2007, is aiming to open 45 new restaurants over the next five years, building on the success of its delivery-only ‘dark kitchens'.
Tortilla runs 62 sites worldwide, including 50 company-owned UK restaurants, where two are run in partnership with SSP Group, and 10 are under franchise in the Middle East.
Former Wagamama chief executive Emma Woods, who led the business from 2018 to June 2021, has joined Tortilla's board of directors as non-executive chairman. Laurence Keen, currently chief financial officer of Hollywood Bowl Group, has joined as a non-executive director.
Tortilla has proved resilient during the pandemic, reporting a 250% growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from full-year 2019 to the 12 months to June 2021.
A press announcement said Tortilla's directors believe the group can capitalise on a "dramatically increased" number of vacant sites after the pandemic with rents at more sustainable levels.
The company is also targeting further franchising and licensing opportunities.
Richard Morris, chief executive of Tortilla, said: "The business has shown itself to be extraordinarily well-positioned throughout the pandemic, as the Tortilla product proposition is well-suited to the growing delivery market, and we have proved the brand's flexibility to operate across a range of locations and formats, including smaller sites and cloud kitchens.
"We believe that this initial public offering unlocks our ability to consolidate on this momentum and enables us capitalise on significant long-term growth opportunities in the post-Covid-19 pandemic landscape."
Admission to AIM is expected to take place around 8 October.