The Big Table Group announces £35m growth plans

25 October 2021 by
The Big Table Group announces £35m growth plans

The Big Table Group – operator of Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge – has announced its intention to open 50 new restaurants and refurbish 70 sites over the next three years, representing an investment of more than £50m.

The group's ambition is to invest £35m in new openings, which would take its estate to 200 restaurants across the UK, and a further £19m in refurbishing its restaurants, with 70 major renovations in the pipeline.

The Big Table hopes to almost double the number of Las Iguanas restaurants in the next three years, opening 35 locations in major towns and city centres.

The group recently appointed Paul Stokes – former head of franchise development at KFC UK and Ireland – as head of acquisitions, and further expanded its acquisitions team, to deliver the growth programme of the Latin American-inspired brand. Las Iguanas opened a site in Plymouth's Barcode last week and is set to open its first restaurant in Southampton later this year.

Alan Morgan, chief executive of the Big Table Group, said: "Las Iguanas has consistently proven to be an extremely popular choice with consumers, and now is the perfect time to grow the brand across the country, targeting high footfall locations in major towns and city centres."

The Big Table is also looking to open new Bella Italia sites, targeting leisure parks as well as town and city centres. It said that every existing Bella Italia site will be refurbished in the next three years, with renovations also planned for several Café Rouge sites.

The group recently extended its partnership with Center Parcs and will open two Las Iguanas sites to take its total number of restaurants at Center Parcs' five holiday villages in the UK to 14.

It is also trialling new brands, including premium Italian restaurant brand Amalfi. The first outlet opened at Center Parcs Woburn, with further sites in the pipeline, including on London's Argyll Street, as well as in locations outside the capital.

Private equity firm Epiris bought 150 former Casual Dining Group restaurants out of administration last year for £18m and rebranded the group as the Big Table.

Alex Fortescue, managing partner at Epiris, added: "We are excited about the growth prospects of the Big Table. With strong recovery in the sector, we are ready to fund additional pipeline opportunities and look forward to expanding our brands. Given that we are probably the best capitalised restaurant group in the UK, we represent a compelling partner for landlords."

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