Franco Manca owner, Fulham Shore, is scouring the UK looking for new sites after seeing sales in the first week of indoor dining rise above pre-pandemic levels.
The AIM-listed firm, which is also behind The Real Greek brand and now has 71 of its 73 sites trading, today said revenues for May 17-23 were up around 3% on those seen in the same week in 2019 - despite social distancing restrictions being in place.
The group said the performance is "very encouraging", that it has also seen its loyalty scheme sign-ups double to over 220,000 since Covid hit, and that as a result it "continues to plan the opening pipeline for the next three years".
Bosses said: "Our property team is travelling around the UK looking for new properties and we have a number of sites that are currently in legal negotiations."
Fulham Shore just opened its latest Franco Manca on High Holborn. The group has overseen the pizza joint's expansion since 2012 and is now capitalising on newly-cheap rents on restaurant kitchens and sites vacated by Covid-hit retailers.
Group chairman, David Page, told the Standard the group is seeing rents being offered on new sites - many former retail venues - that are 40-50% lower than two years ago, with offers of 18 months rent free "now normal”.
Shares in Fulham Shore were up 4.4% on the update, which came as firms geared up for a warm bank holiday after enduring al fresco-only service during one of the coldest springs on record.
Chaker Hanna, chief executive of listed London-based restaurant group Comptoir Libanais, said the group has also seen an "encouraging" performance since indoor reopening.
Hanna said many Comptoir restaurants are fully booked over the bank holiday, saying: "With the change of the weather from today, together with the May bank holiday, we are prepared for a much busier weekend."
But many of the chain's sites are in central London and the City, and the CEO cautioned that it will take the return of office workers and tourism to see those areas "fully benefit" from the vaccination rollout and summer weather.