Carluccio’s to invest £10 million in new concept drive

Carluccio’s is to revamp a key London restaurant as the first stage of a new £10 million investment programme.

The Italian chain closed a third of its sites in 2018 after being hit hard in the casual-dining crunch, which saw a number of high-profile chains restructure amid increasingly challenging trading conditions.

Carluccio’s has found money to up its game on the leafy, south west fringes of the capital, and will be using its Richmond branch as a testing ground to trial a new concept.

According to Big Hospitality, the brand is to look at a more formal offering during evening service, and will introduce a new look design and refreshed menus. And here it comes: vegan dishes will arrive, as will a heightened nod to provenance. Whether that’s Italian or British produce remains to be seen.

Chief executive Mark Jones said: “We’re 20 years old this year, we pre-date most of our competitors. The market has radically changed, and people [now] require a difference customer experience on a Saturday night to a Monday breakfast.”

Carluccio’s closed 35 branches in 2018’s Company Voluntary Agreement. The group suffered an 81 dip in pre-tax profits in the year up to Septemebr 2016.

Its Richmond restaurant will new be transformed in readiness for June, and, if successful, will roll out across the UK over the next two years. The company plans to invest £400,000 per site in the upgrade.

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