Ajith Jaya-Wickrema, who stepped down from Las Iguanas last year having launched the business with Eren Ali in 1991, is to take a seat on the board in a non-executive capacity.
It is thought that he will also participate in the group’s latest fundraising, committing a “significant” sum to the process. Tampopo, which is led by David Fox and Nick Jeffries, aims to raise just under £2m.
Jaya-Wickrema has a number of other projects in hand – he recently launched a new Caribbean restaurant concept Turtle Bay in Milton Keynes.
The group intends to secure the lion’s share of the money from existing shareholders. It has raised money in the past to fund store growth via the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme.
It is thought that the latest round of fundraising will pave the way for the opening of two or three more outlets to add to its existing six. It currently operates three restaurants in Manchester plus venues in Bristol, Reading and Leeds.
The group is to look for new locations in the South East of England, primarily in high footfall locations such as shopping centres and retail parks.
Tampopo is actually a girl’s name in Japanese meaning “dandelion”.
Mark Stretton is editor of BigHospitality's sister publication, M&C Report.