Pub group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is said to have abandoned a bid for the Asian restaurant chain Tampopo in favour of developing its own Asian concept.
Tampopo, which was set up in Manchester in 1997, currently operates six restaurants across the UK and aims to provide healthy, value-for-money Asian food with fast service.
It is thought M&B called off its approach to Tampopo after board members decided to develop an in-house Asian brand rather than opt for an acquisition.
Tampopo co-founders David Fox and Nick Jeffrey said they could not comment on reports of M&B’s bid, but suggested they were open to approaches as they looked to further expansion in the future.
“Within the industry M&B is perceived to be a highly effective operator, with a strong performance culture and well-defined operational systems,” said Jeffrey.
“Nevertheless, we’ve seen other group operators including Whitbread and The Restaurant Group struggle to establish a brand in our ethnicity. It may be third time lucky for the big boys, but this will be a major departure from their traditional areas of expertise.
“We’re pleased by the news as anything that increases awareness of this wonderful cuisine and style of eating can only be a good thing.”
Fox added: “We are a growing company with a great and supportive shareholder base. We have an exciting six months ahead with at least one opening in central London and other exciting business developments in play.
“There will be a stage in the near future when we will seek growth funding for a more aggressive roll-out and we will be considering all options including institutional backing, trade and high net worth individuals.”