In this video, part of our In Operation with... series, brand and marketing director Georgia Hall talks us through the plans, which include refitting sites with red leather banquettes, dark timber floors, heritage shopfronts and Parisian style wall mirrors and photography while putting a personal touch into each site depending on its location.
Although it is being 'refreshed', Hall sees the French restaurant chain, which is overseen by managing director James Spragg, as the 'John Lewis' of the restaurant world.
"We're the original (French restaurant brand) and we haven't changed the menu too much in 26 years, so I see us as a bit of a John Lewis," she says. "We're very good value with very very good French chef-cooked food."
Café Rouge has returned to serving a number of its original dishes such as Croque Monsieur, Poulet Breton and Steak Frites and its pate recipe (smooth chicken liver with a Madeira and Port reduction) hasn't changed in 26 years, which Hall, who joined the restaurant group nine months ago, believes will help cement it as the UK's best-loved French restaurant brand.
"The menu has been tweaked quite a few times over the last few times which is always a bit of a worry for people, because although people like to see innovations, they secretly come back for their favourites," she says.
Prix fixe menus (Coffee and croissant for £2.95 in the mornings and coffee and cake for £4.95 in the afternoon for example) are a key part of Café Rouge's operation which Hall describes as 'value-led'. Training of staff is important she says with all front-of-house staff receiving training on the Bibendum-supplied wine menu and chefs all trained in how to cook dishes from scratch.
For the future, Hall sees 'families and romance' key to growth with its three main customer types identified as older couples, women aged 35-65 visiting with families or friends and young dating couples.
"Its a time of change for Café Rouge so although things will remain consistent we'll be running new innovations to attract new audiences," she says.
This BigHospitality video was sponsored by CST:
Call Systems Technology (CST) is the UK's leading technology supplier for the hospitality industry, across front and back of house. Founded in 1995, CST was the first company to introduce restaurant paging to the UK hospitality market.
The business is the exclusive European strategic partner of QSR Automations Inc. and exclusive European and Middle Eastern distributors for HME Wireless Inc. – both world experts in hospitality solutions.