The Casual Dining Group, which owns Bella Italia and Café Rouge, is to roll out a new ‘grab and go’ concept called Rapide, with the first store due to open this November.
It is understood that the maiden site will be launched at London’s Euston Station, where the group already operates a Café Rouge restaurant.
The unit will be closed for a period while the site is extended and refitted to accommodate the new brand. It will then push on by trying to find locations with a footprint of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet where it can accelerate the roll-out.
Estates Gazette reported that CDG’s property director, Phil Derbyshire, confirmed the plans during a session at this year’s BCSC 2015 retail property show.
“There will be two concepts,” he said. “A grab-and-go with A1 [licence], and a grab-and-go with A3 [licence]. Three sites will open before the end of the year in London. There are opportunities at transport hubs.”
Derbyshire added that Rapide would sell “authentic French food”, ensuring it differentiates from other rail station operators such as Upper Crust. He said the firm intends to take the brand national.
The Casual Dining Group is one of the largest casual dining restaurant operators in the UK, with 250 sites located across the country. It operates primarily under the Bella Italia and Café Rouge formats in the UK but also owns Las Iguanas and La Tasca.