The chain has been using its Richmond site as a test-bed for the introduction of a more ‘formal’ service style and a move away from a rigidly Italian menu to include steaks, fish and French wines.
Now it is investing £500,000 on revamping its restaurants at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Bluewater shopping centre using the Fresca model.
Carluccio’s CEO Mark Jones hailed the move as an “important milestone” for the brand and says it is part of a “clear plan to re-assert and build on our credentials as the UK’s leading Italian restaurant group”.
It comes after Carluccio’s closed 35 restaurants, close to a third of its estate, under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) last year.
Jones told The Casual Dining Show in March that the group would have folded within two weeks had it not entered a CVA, and blamed its demise on opening “too many marginal sites” without updating the brand.
Last year was a turning point for several Italian casual dining chains, with Jamie's Italian and Prezzo also using CVA's to shutter sites. The fall of Jamie's Italian in to administration this week may be a sign of deeper issues within the brand, but is also cause to keep a close eye on last year's CVA survivors.