Casual Dining Group

Welcome to Casual Dining Group, operator of some of the UK’s favourite restaurant brands including Café Rouge and Bella Italia.

CDG confirms senior role developments

Nov 14th

Casual Dining Group (CDG), the leading UK-based mid-market restaurant company that operates the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas restaurant businesses, has announced a number of developmental changes within its senior leadership team.

The moves, designed to ensure the business is structured in the best way for the next phase of CDG’s growth and international development, are as follows:

  • Group Chief Operating Officer James Spragg will assume overall responsibility for Café Rouge in addition to continuing to lead the Bella Italia business
  • Café Rouge MD Simon Wilkinson will assume a newly-created board role of Managing Director – Strategic Development, helping the company’s efforts to identify opportunities to grow the CDG business
  • Chief Digital Officer Celia Pronto will become Chief Customer Officer, with additional responsibility for a number of other marketing-related functions across the group, including the Bella and Rouge brands alongside her existing group-wide digital remit
  • Las Iguanas Chief Operating Officer Gareth Lock will take the same role across Bella Italia and Café Rouge, reporting into James Spragg.

The changes coincide with two key international appointments and come as CDG accelerates its global restaurant footprint. Jason Tan has joined the group to lead its focus on expansion in South Asia and will be based at CDG’s newly-opened Singapore office; Nick Evans will take a similar role, supporting CDG’s franchise-led developments in Europe and the UK.

The group is in advanced talks on agreements to take its brands in to several new, key international territories, following the securing of a number of such deals, including licences covering Ireland, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

At the same time CDG has undertaken a review of team structures across the UK. As a result – and after a period of significant expansion of various head office functions – a number of admin and support roles will no longer exist. This will unfortunately see a number of people leave the business, as the group rebalances its resources behind growth, and the new Bella Italia and Café Rouge structure.

Commenting on these developments, CEO Steve Richards said: “I am confident these changes mean that the business is structured optimally; as we navigate a challenging inflationary environment here in the UK; as we continue to grow and accelerate our franchising footprint in international markets and as we seek to capitalise on new opportunities as and when they present themselves.”