Casual Dining Group focusing on delivery-only brands

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Casual Dining Group focusing on delivery-only brands

Related tags: Casual dining, delivery, Deliveroo

Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Café Rouge operator Casual Dining Group (CDG) will focus on developing its concessions and delivery-only businesses this year because it has “never been more competitive” for high street restaurants.

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.

These include Las Iguanas spin-off Blazing Bird​ and croque monsieur and burger concept Stack + Grill,​ both of which launched in 2018.

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.

Related topics: Business

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