Just 14 La Tasca sites will remain standing by this summer as its new owner, Casual Dining Group, pursues a strategy of replacing them with its flagship brands, its CEO Steve Richards said yesterday.
CDG is reported to have paid £25m for the La Tasca business last September, but more than two-thirds of the 40-strong estate that it inherited have been converted into branches of Bella Italia and Las Iguanas.
Richards said that CDG is “doing quite a bit of work on what the future looks like” for La Tasca. He noted that while the chain is well-spread geographically, it only operates four sites in London.
“We bought La Tasca for sites primarily, but actually as we got our hands around La Tasca there is only going to be 14 of them left by the summer because we have converted them into Bella Italia and Las Iguanas,” he confirmed.
However, Richards did not go as far as saying that the La Tasca brand would disappear altogether.
“What we have discovered is that core La Tasca business is actually very, very good and so hence we put it into the incubator part of our business,” he said.
Richards said that the Casual Dining Group has enjoyed strong growth over the past 12 months, with restructuring and investment putting it back on solid ground since its emergence from the former Tragus Group business.
He believes there is potential to eventually open 300 Bella Italias, 150 Café Rouges and 150 Las Iguanas, which would more than double the size of its restaurant estate as it stands currently.