The group, which opens its fifth restaurant in London’s Balham later this year, is exploring the idea of private equity involvement in the business to fund the expansion, which is likely to include its first sites outside the capital.
“We are talking to people now whereas historically we’ve kept ourselves very independent,” Casey told M&C Report last week. “Independence has wonderful advantages, but it always has set backs; we look rather wistfully at the expansion of concepts with seemingly bottomless pockets.”
He said the group has appointed a financial management accountant as it explores finance options.
Casey said: “We’ve got a fairly solid structure and we’re talking to people with a view to expanding faster. We’re opening one a year at the moment but I think it’s a little bit too slow. It’s not exploiting the potential of the brand.
“I think with a bit of welly behind us we could accelerate to grow quite considerably. I would have thought we’d be able to get up to between two and five a year. We’re getting slicker at opening sites and I would have thought we’d be able to accelerate without too much pain.
“There’s plenty of potential around London for the immediate term, and possibly the major cities outside of London, certainly in the south and the south west.”
Casey, who runs the business with his wife Suzie, said the company has had “a lot of approaches from French companies to establish Hache in France, mostly Paris”.
“That hasn’t been affordable or logistically possible so far but I think that there could be potential for taking an English brand to Paris. It would be unusual but I think there’s possible potential there to be explored.”
He said a “partnership” would be the preferred route for such a venture, rather than franchising, which he labelled an “exacting science”.
Similar moves into the US would be longer term ambition, he said.
Casey, who said he’s keen to avoid the “laddish” feel of many burger chains, emphasised that it’s “increasingly important to stand out” in a “crowded marketplace” for burger restaurants.
He said the concept, which was founded 10 years ago, is constantly being developed. For example, the menu changes with new specials every month. The sites vary slightly between different venues, although there are common design themes.
Existing Hache restaurants are in Camden, Chelsea, Clapham and Shoreditch.