A CHINESE takeaway chain described as the fastest-growing in the UK has announced plans to open up to five branches in Dorset.

The proposed outlets, including three in Bournemouth, are part of a national expansion programme by the Hotcha chain.

It intends to open 100 stores over the next five years.

Locations in Southbourne, Westbourne, Winton, Parkstone and Christchurch High Street were chosen following a feasibility study.

The chain, which serves Chinese food for collection or delivery, was founded two years ago by James Liang, 32, who wanted to create the UK’s first national Chinese takeaway brand.

It has already been rolled out in the south west and is looking for experienced franchisees and fast food managers locally.

Non-executive director Andrew Emmerson has been hired to support the national expansion programme.

He has held several senior roles in the hospitality sector, including as business development director for Domino’s Pizza, where he oversaw the sourcing and opening of more than 50 stores. He was a senior executive with Dunkin Donuts in the USA before joining Hotcha.

The company says franchisees will need around £75,000 in personal funds to start a Hotcha store, with the remaining start-up costs available through bank financing.

Stores in the South West have typically turned over £500,000 a year with profits of £150,000, it says.

Mr Liang said: “We are looking for experienced franchisees with strong knowledge of their local markets, a successful track record in business or the food sector and the ambition to launch Hotcha stores in due course. Knowledge of Chinese cuisine is not a prerequisite, as we have developed efficient processes and a training programme which ensures that our food can be cooked quickly and to a high standard.”

Mr Liang previously managed the importing of furniture to major high street retailers including Homebase and Argos.