Casual Dining Group signs first franchise deal in Ireland

By Laura Mullan
Casual Dining Group has signed exclusive rights to Las Iguanas and Bella Italia brands in the Republic of Ireland to restauranter Robert O’Donoghue, a...

Casual Dining Group has signed exclusive rights to Las Iguanas and Bella Italia brands in the Republic of Ireland to restauranter Robert O’Donoghue, as the company sets to expand its franchise into the EU.

The latest agreement sees the Casual Dining Group franchise gain a fifth franchise partner, with operations spanning across the UK, South Africa, India and locations in the Middle East.

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Under the deal, the first site will open in either Dublin or Cork in the New Year, with further restaurants opening in the near future.

Mark Nelson, Managing Director of Concessions and Franchising, Casual Dining Group, said: “We have several brands that have cut their teeth in the UK and are now earning their stripes across the globe.

“Ireland was a natural fit for a franchise partner, due to its cultural similarities with the UK. We’re delighted to have an experienced, hands-on operator like Robert flying the flag for our Las Iguanas and Bella Italia brands, and we look forward to helping support his business as it looks to grow.”

O'Donoghue has over a decade of experience as a restaurant operator. He currently owns and operated the Caffe Mistro Kubo brands.

Robert O’Donoghue said: “Casual Dining Group operates excellent household brands and possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise. There’s a massive opportunity for its brands in Ireland and I’m delighted to be working together to create exceptional dining experiences across the country.

“I have fond memories of eating at Bella Italia when I visited the UK in my younger days and I recently dined at Las Iguanas on a trip to London. I love both concepts and am confident their look, feel and atmosphere are the perfect match for Ireland.

“Naturally, Dublin and Cork will be the focus for the first openings, but if the right sites are available I’d also be interested in targeting other areas of Southern Ireland, particularly Galway.”

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