The first Theo’s Simple Italian launched at Hotel Indigo London Kensington in 2016, and is billed as a casual dining concept.
Wayne Horo, director of F&B mainstream brands for IHG Europe, told the UKHospitality conference in London yesterday that the format would open in Switzerland, London and Newcastle this year.
He added that Stock Burger, IHG’s burger and craft beer concept which launched at Holiday Inn Brighton in 2015, was beginning to expand in the Middle East and Asia.
But he said the public struggles of the Byron burger chain, which has closed over 15 restaurants since January, had hampered the brand's UK expansion.
“Being completely honest what’s happened with Byron hasn’t helped our cause in the UK but I still feel confident there’s room for growth,” said Horo.
Both IHG concepts are succeeding despite burger and Italian chains struggling on the high street, he added.
Chef Randall, who has run his eponymous restaurant at the InterContinental Park Lane since 2006, imposes strict quality guidelines on the produce and most of Stock Burger’s ingredients are sourced from the UK.
“You’ve got to have a point of difference,” said Horo. “You’ve got to pitch yourself and be really fantastic at one thing, or you’re in this middle ground of trying to do all things for all people, and actually not appealing to anyone.”
IHG is also refreshing the menus at all its Holiday Inns in the UK and Europe, with an increased number of vegetarian and vegan dishes.