The Big Table Group looks to double Las Iguanas estate as it plans 50 new restaurant openings

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Big Table Group looks to double Las Iguanas estate as it plans 50 new restaurant openings

Related tags Big Table Casual dining Multi-site expansion Las iguanas

The Big Table Group has set out plans to take its total UK estate to 200 sites, with a particular focus on growing its Las Iguanas brand.

The group, which also operates Bella Italia and Café Rouge, intends to invest £35m in new openings, with 50 restaurants planned over the next three years.

It would take Big Table's total estate to 200 restaurants across the UK.

An additional £19m will be invested in refurbishing the group's current restaurant stock, with 70 'major renovations' in the pipeline.

According to Big Table, the plans will create 1,250 new jobs.

The Big Table hopes to almost double the current number of Las Iguanas restaurants in the next three years, opening 35 locations in towns and city centres beginning with launches in Plymouth’s Barcode and Southampton, which are both planned before the end of the year. 

Having traded well pre-Covid, the group says the Latin American restaurant and bar brand has 'exceeded all expectations on reopening' and 'consistently outperformed' its competitors.

“Las Iguanas has consistently proven to be an extremely popular choice with consumers, and now is the perfect time to grow the brand across the country, targeting high footfall locations in major towns and city centres,” says Alan Morgan, chief executive for The Big Table Group.

Big Table was formed in July 2020 to acquire and operate the Las Iguanas, Café Rouge and Bella Italia brands that were previously managed by Casual Dining Group, in concert with the existing management team.

The group is owned by Epiris, which acquired the business with the aim of supporting and accelerating new site growth opportunities.

“We are excited about the growth prospects of The Big Table," says Alex Fortescue, managing partner at Epiris.

"With strong recovery in the sector, we are ready to fund additional pipeline opportunities and look forward to expanding our brands.

"Given that we are probably the best capitalised restaurant group in the UK, we represent a compelling partner for landlords.”

In July, Big Table appointed Paul Stokes​, former head of franchise development at KFC UKI, as its head of acquisitions, and further expanded its acquisitions team to deliver the growth programme.

While the company’s main priority is the rapid expansion of Las Iguanas, The Big Table is also looking to open new Bella Italia sites, targeting leisure parks as well as town and city centres.

Every single existing Bella Italia site will be refurbished in the next three years, with renovations also planned for several Café Rouge sites.

The group has also recently moved into the delivery-only space, opening its first dark kitchen earlier this month, in London's Battersea.

A second opening in Birmingham is planned for the new year, with the delivery-only sites selling menu items from Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas.

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