Casual Dining Group signs first UK franchise deal for Belgo

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Belgo on Old Compton Street
Belgo on Old Compton Street

Related tags London Intercontinental hotels group

Casual Dining Group (CDG) has secured its first UK franchise deal which will see its Belgo brand open at a central London hotel.

The Belgian-themed restaurant will open at InterContinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bloomsbury at the beginning of December.

Belgo – which is best known for serving 10 flavours of mussels, rotisserie chicken and Belgian beers - will be the main food and drink offering at the 429-room hotel, which is currently being converted from a Holiday Inn.

The deal has been struck with Firoka Group, founded by former Oxford United FC chairman Firoz Kassam, which is a long-term franchisee with IHG.

It is CDG’s fourth franchise, but first in the UK, following the opening of a Café Rouge in Dubai last year, a Bella Italia restaurant in New Dehli, India in March and a further 18-site deal in Saudi Arabia set to begin rolling out in December.

Mark Nelson, managing director of concessions and international franchising at CDG, said: “This is a very exciting development for CDG and Belgo; it’s both our first UK franchise and an initial step into the dynamic food and beverage hotel market.

“Whilst we’ve opened franchised sites abroad, this is our first on home soil and demonstrates that we’re exploring different channels and models when it comes to new openings.”

Belgo opened its first site on Chalk Farm Road in North London in 1992, and has since expanded to Soho,​ Holborn, Covent Garden, Bromley and Nottingham.

CDG also owns the La Tasca, Las Iguanas and Rapide restaurant brands.

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