The group, formed in 1976 by Louis Le Duff with the creation of the French bakery/café concept Brioche Dorée, also plans to open 2 Del Arte restaurants in Saudi Arabia, 3 additional restaurants in Ireland, and 22 in France this year. The company currently has café sites in the UK but the introduction of Del Arte will be the first restaurant presence in the country.
Rodolphe Neveux, Del Arte international franchise manager, said the booming Italian restaurant market in the UK was the main reason for making the move into the country.
"The British market is a market full of possibilities. The Italian restaurant sector is highly successful in Britain, and to meet demand, we are planning to open up to ten restaurants there in the next seven years. We are seeking franchise partners to directly operate several restaurants in an exclusive geographic area. We will offer them an adaptation of the range, to meet the expectations of each country, while maintaining the Del Arte spirit," he said.
Franchise partners in the UK will be offered market analysis through the establishment of turnkey restaurants, centralised purchasing, research and development, training, construction and marketing and logistics expertise and services.
Del Arte, which claims to be the leading Italian restaurant group in France, tends to have restaurants or 'Villas' located on the edge of urban areas, as well as in shopping centres and near cinemas. The two Irish sites, in Cork and Limerick, are both located in shopping centres in the country.
The restaurants contain an an indoor patio recreating a village square and offer handmade pizzas which are made in full-view, as well as traditional antipasti, pasta and Gelati.
In 1996 Le Duff Group bought out the Pizza Del Arte concept from French hotel chain Accor. The group also operates the Fournil de Pierre bakery brand, French Concept la Madeline in the USA and purchased the American bakery/café concept Breugger's last year. Across its brands the group currently operates more than 1,200 restaurants worldwide and plans 87 new openings this year.