Speaking at the Arena hospitality networking event in London yesterday, Kossoff said the restaurant group, which he started with Priscilla and Antonio Carluccio in 1998, had ramped up its rate of growth from five to 10 sites per year since being bought by Dubai-based investment company Landmark in 2010 for £90m.
Despite a faster rate of growth for the chain, Kossoff said he could see its saturation point in the UK at about 120 sites and said he was keen to look at ‘new channels’ for the business rather than grow the estate.
“I don’t think Carluccio’s can be like Pizza Express or some of the other big brands you see out there,” he said “but I see us continuing to serve the market. Some things will come and some concepts will go, but there will continue to be space for the good operators.”
Kossoff told the audience at the event at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel that overseas expansion would continue to be on the cards with plans to grow the number of sites operated under franchise from six to 12. The group opened its first site under franchise in Dublin in 2007 and has since opened another five in the Middle East.
Ready meals and retail
This week will see 17 new products go on sale under the newly-created Carluccio’s At Home brand at selected branches of Sainsbury’s, which Kossoff said was an exciting step for the company and one area where he feels the brand can evolve.
Twenty per cent of the group's turnover currently comes from the sale of retail products in Carluccio’s stores themselves with that figure rising to 50 per cent at Christmas.
Kossoff said: “Our retail products and delicatessens are great for our business. We've just launched our products into 114 Sainsburys stores after three years of development and we're pleased with that. We are always looking for new channels to keep our business up-to-date, whether that's launching into retail, or developing our gluten-free offering, that's what will keep us going."
Kossoff was invited to speak to hospitality professionals at Arena's summer event. The next Arena event will be on 24 September 2012 at The Dorchester, London where Ian Sarson, group managing director at Compass Group UK & Ireland will be interviewed by ITN’s Alastair Stewart OBE. For more information visit www.arena.org.uk.