Prezzo, the Italian restaurant chain, has agreed a £3.1m deal to acquire 11 sites from owners of the Chez Gerard brand, Paramount Restaurants, along with the rights to the Caffe Uno brand.
The operator, which is led by chief executive Jonathan Kaye, has acquired three Caffe Uno sites, two Il Bertorli and six Brasserie Gerard restaurants.
The move comes after it was recently revealed that Tom Aikens, the high-end chef, is also in exclusive negotiations to acquire six sites from Paramount.
Big Hospitality also understands that Tasty, the operator behind Dim T and Wildwood, is in discussions over two sites.
Prezzo said the outlets will continue to operate under their existing brands until they are refurbished under Prezzo’s other trading formats, which include the Mexican concept Chimichanga, or under the newly acquired Caffe Uno brand.
In a statement, Prezzo said: “The directors expect the acquisition to be earnings enhancing following the completion of the refurbishment and rebranding programme in early 2011.”
The properties selected are located in a range of cities and towns across England, with the majority in the South East and the Home Counties. However the transfer of the leases is subject to landlord’s consent.
As part of the deal the company has allowed Paramount Restaurants to continue to use the Caffe Uno trademark for one year.
Earlier this year, Prezzo announced plans to open 10 new restaurants in 2010, citing smaller towns as its new targets for expansion.
Jonathan Kaye, the chain's Chief Executive, told Big Hospitality that Prezzo aims to triple its 146 sites.
Martyn Leek is news editor of Big Hospitality's sister publication M&C Report