Italian restaurant group Carluccio's has signed its first international franchise and will open a new store in Ireland next spring.
The group will open a 170 seat two-storey Carluccio's in downtown Dublin on the corner of Duke's Street.
Simon Kossoff, Carluccio's managing director, told Caterersearch: "We think this is an ideal opportunity to develop our franchise model before taking it elsewhere."
Kossoff said Ireland was a natural extension and the company had favoured the franchise route as it appreciated that although similar on the surface the market was different from the UK and local expertise was essential.
The group sees scope for five to six stores in the Republic and is currently in talks to take the Carluccio's name to other locations outside the UK.
The company, which is gearing up for the critical Christmas trading period with a raft of marketing initiatives, said it had seen no significant softening in consumer spending since the end of its financial year on 23 September.
"Despite what people are saying there's no doubt there is long-term structural growth to be had in the sector. We've always set ourselves a cautious opening target and remain committed to finding the right locations rather than playing a numbers game."
Carluccio's exceeded its openings target in 2007 with six rather than five new restaurants.
It has already opened two new sites in its new financial year already and will open at Heathrow Terminal 5 and London St Pancras in the spring. Two sites have been secured for 2009.
Financial highlights for the year ended 23 September
- Store turnover: up 18% at £54m (2006: £45.8m)
- Pre-tax profit: up 66% at £5.3m (2006: £3.2m)
- Cash flow from operations: up £8m ((2006: £5.7m)
By Chris Druce