Speaking at the Casual Dining Show in London yesterday (28 February), CDG CEO Steve Richards said the company was trying to think “beyond walk-ins” and that it had seen “a lot of success” with its delivery-only brands, which trade out of existing restaurant kitchens.
He said the delivery side was not cannibalising walk-in trade in the restaurants, but that it was still “early days”.
“Anyone using these channels will know they are lower margin than walk-ins. Delivery and digital is not going to go away, you’ve got to embrace that. But it is a real challenge.
“Domino's and Pizza Hut have been massive suppliers of [eat-at-home] for years, so I’d imagine they’re more worried about Deliveroo than we are.”
CGD operates 282 restaurants across the UK and routinely opened 20-30 restaurants a year, until 2016 when it started to scale back its expansion, according to Richards.
Last year CDG opened eight restaurants, predominantly concessions, and this year it will open more concessions and a few targeted Las Iguanas. “We’re being very cautious,” he said.
He added that issues such as oversupply and food price inflation had “pretty much removed” 20% margin from the sector since 2016.
CDG is also integrating more tech across its business, and is planning to launch restaurant apps in the next few months.