Casual Dining Group

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Casual Dining Group
HeadquartersLondon, England
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Rooney Anand, Non-Executive Chairman
James Spragg, CEO
Giles David, CFO,
ProductsBella Italia, Café Rouge, Belgo, Las Iguanas, La Tasca, Oriel Grande Brasserie, Huxleys, La Salle
Number of employees

Casual Dining Group (CDG) operates over 300 restaurants in the UK, located from Aberdeen to Plymouth. CDG operates restaurants primarily under the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas names. It also operates sites under the Belgo, Huxleys, La Tasca, Oriel Grande Brasserie and La Salle brands.

The business, and its restaurant brands, have operated under several different owners. Some of the company’s restaurant estate operated as part of Tragus Group, before becoming part of Casual Dining Group in July 2014.

Following the creation of CDG, the company has embarked on an investment programme. In July 2015, CDG acquired Las Iguanas[1] and later went on to purchase La Tasca.[2] Shortly before these purchases, the group sold Strada to Sun Capital Partners.[3]

The group has established an international operation with a number of franchise partners in the Middle East,[4] and more than 50 restaurants are set to open under such partnerships.

The company is backed by a consortium of investors, including funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management (LLC) and York Capital.


Casual Dining Group, which was formerly known as Tragus Holding, was formed in 2002[5] when Whitbread sold-off 153 restaurants from its Pelican and BrightReasons divisions. At the time, the two restaurant divisions comprised the Café Rouge, Bella Pasta, Mamma Amalfi, Abbaye, Leadenhall Wine Bar and Oriel brands.

A £25m[6] management buy-in by Tragus Holdings was funded by £11m from venture capitalist speculators ECI group.

In January 2005, Tragus' directors sold the company to Legal & General Ventures for £90m-£95m.[7]

In December 2006, Tragus was bought by Blackstone Group for £267m. By that time, the business had grown to 163 restaurants.[8]

The group expanded rapidly in 2007 with the purchases of Ma Potters restaurant-company and the Strada chain- which included five Belgo and Bierodrome restaurants.[9]

It also signed a deal with Center Parcs in 2007 to operate a number of restaurants in the leisure village operator's UK sites and announced plans for a new restaurant concept - Huxley's Bar & Kitchen – which opened in the new Heathrow Terminal 5 in March 2008.[10]

In 2014, Tragus Holdings rebranded as Casual Dining Group and in 2015 bought the Las Iguanas[1] and La Tasca[2] restaurant businesses.


The creation of CDG saw the group open 70 new restaurants in a 24-month period. In addition, significant investment has been made in upgrading its 160 existing restaurants. Many of these restaurants were inviable, leading to heavy losses and closures of restaurants from 2014,[11] that have continued until 2018.[12][13]

CDG has opened a number of concessions across the UK including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas restaurants at Centre Parcs villages,[14] and in UK airports, including Gatwick, Heathrow, Jersey, and Inverness.[15]

CDG has prioritized international expansion[16] – with a focus on the Middle East and Asia – by establishing franchise agreements with operating partners. Openings include a Café Rouge in Dubai (2015), and a Bella Italia in New Delhi (2016). The group will open restaurants in Saudi Arabia in partnership with Riyadh-based retail and leisure conglomerate Fawaz Alhokair Group.[4]

CDG now has agreements in place that will see more than 50 restaurants open across territories in the Middle East and Asia, with the aim of concluding agreements in 2017 that will deliver 100 restaurants.[citation needed]


CDG operates restaurants under the Bella Italia (100+ restaurants in the UK)[17], Café Rouge (70+)[18] and Las Iguanas names. It also operates sites under the Belgo (6, London and Nottingham), Huxleys (1, airport)[19], La Tasca (7) , Oriel Grande Brasserie (3, airports) , DUBL (1, airport) and La Salle brands.

La Tasca[edit]

La Tasca Spanish Tapas Bar & Restaurant (La Tasca) is a chain of restaurants in the UK that serve Spanish style Tapas dishes.[2][20] There are also outlets in the US that trade under La Tasca Kitchens.

La Tasca was founded in 1993 in Manchester by Neil Gatt.[21] In 2013 there were 39 outlets across the UK.[22] The chain was bought by the Bay Restaurant Group in 2007 (then the Laurel Pub Company) for £123m. In 2011, it became a standalone business La Tasca Holdings Ltd.[23]

In October 2012, La Tasca began a partnership with the Gourmet Society, offering their members discounts on production of the discount card.

In July 2015, Casual Dining Group acquired La Tasca.[24][25]

As of June 2019 only 3 restaurants remained open.[26]

Social responsibility[edit]

CDG claims to emphasize corporate social responsibility practices.[27] It reduced its energy consumption by 17% from 2012 to 2016,[28] and has a partnership with The Prince's Trust charity.[29]

Some CDG brands rank highly for seafood sustainability (within their class),[30]

All whole eggs sourced by the company for its kitchens are free range together with eggs used as ingredients for sauces and pasta. In partnership with Compassion in World Farming, CDG say they will transition the remainder of eggs used as ingredients to free range systems, and will make every endeavour to achieve this well ahead of the 2025 target.[31]

CDG has a partnership with Fareshare[32] to redistribute food that was going to waste to people in need instead.


  1. ^ a b Wallin, James. "Casual Dining Group acquires Las Iguanas". Big Hospitality. William Reed.
  2. ^ a b c Armstrong, Ashley. "M&A Reporter". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  3. ^ Michel, Melodie. "Strada sold to Sun Capital Partners for £37m". Big Hospitality. Willam Reed. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Willock, Rob. "Bella Italia to open 18 outlets in Saudi Arabia". Hotelier Middle East. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  5. ^ Chassany, Anne-Sylvaine (14 March 2014). "Apollo-led group set to take control of Tragus from Blackstone". The Financial Times. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Whitbread sells restaurant groups". Evening Standard. 31 May 2002. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  7. ^ "LGV buys Tragus for more than £90m". The Caterer. 18 January 2005. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  8. ^ Druce, Chris (15 December 2006). "Café Rouge owner Tragus bought by Blackstone Group". The Caterer. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Tragus buys Ma Potters restaurant company". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  10. ^ Walton, Christopher (17 July 2007). "Bella Italia and Café Rouge owner Tragus signs deal with Center Parcs". The Caterer. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Cafe Rouge Owner To Offload Loss-Making Sites". Sky News. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  12. ^ Gerrard, Bradley (12 March 2018). "Cost hike leads to deeper losses at Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia owner". Retrieved 3 June 2019 – via
  13. ^ Wilson, Bill (12 March 2018). "Cafe Rouge owner reports £60m loss". Retrieved 3 June 2019 – via
  14. ^ Seymour, Andrew. "Las Iguanas and Center Parcs venture into restaurant agreement". Foodservice Equipment Journal. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  15. ^ Pigden, Katey. "Casual Dining Group to open Rapide at Inverness Airport". The Caterer. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  16. ^ Walsh, Dominic. "Heading south, but in a good way". The Times. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Bella Italia". Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Café Rouge". Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Find Us". Huxley's Bar Kitchen. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  20. ^ Lawson, Alex (20 July 2015). "Chains to be sold in restaurant takeaway as chains go on sale". The Independent. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Allegra Restaurant Brand Portal - La Tasca - Overview". Allegra. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  22. ^ "Spanish Tapas Restaurant - La Tasca - La Tasca Restaurant FAQs". La Tasca. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  23. ^ "La Tasca Holdings". Caterer and Hotel Keeper. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  24. ^ Armstrong, Ashley. "Café Rouge owner seals La Tasca takeover just days after Las Iguanas deal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  25. ^ Deirdre Hipwell (29 August 2015). "Dining out at La Tasca costs group tasty £25m | The Times & The Sunday Times". Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Locations | La Tasca". La Tasca. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Casual Dining Group - Operator of some of the UK's favourite restaurant brands". Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  28. ^ Carol, Millet. "Casual Dining Group cuts restaurant energy waste". The Caterer. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  29. ^ Mellor, Charlotte. "Casual Dining Group partners with Princes Trust". Casual Dining Magazine. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Lack of clarity on the menu leaves diners in the dark when making a seafood choice". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Our Work With Casual Dining Group". FareShare. Retrieved 12 July 2019.