Restaurants

Casual Dining Group rebrands following takeover

The Casual Dining Group (CDG) has rebranded as The Big Table, following its acquisition by private equity firm Epiris.

A new business formed by the firm has successfully concluded a deal to take control of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge chains, alongside their existing management team led by CEO James Spragg.

After being acquired from administration in a process led by AlixPartners, more than 4,000 jobs across the UK and over 150 trading restaurants have been preserved. 

Epiris said it has now invested “significant” cash into the business to help “spark a rapid unlocking of the group’s operations”, and its restaurant businesses will begin to reopen across the UK next week. 

As well as a further commitment for future funding, the new business will also carry no external debt.

Spragg said: “This is a very positive outcome for the business. We are delighted to have concluded this process and to be working with such experienced and knowledgeable investors.  We inevitably emerge from this process as a leaner business, and one that is now equipped to navigate the challenges the industry faces, safeguarding thousands of jobs.”

Ian Wood, partner at Epiris, said: “In common with most of the sector, The Big Table’s restaurants have been closed since late March. We will work with James and his team to re-open the restaurants, bringing over 4,000 people off furlough to enable customers to enjoy dining out again. 

“This transaction will enable the business to trade through the uncertain months ahead and invest in its three strong brands to deliver an even better experience for their customers.” 

Clare Kennedy of AlixPartners added: “We received a significant level of interest in the group which is a testament to the strength of its management team, the affection in which its brands are held by the public and the quality of its people. 

“We are extremely pleased to have been able to help the group find a new investment partner with such strong industry credentials and we wish both parties and everybody who works at The Big Table all the very best for a successful future.”

Spragg will continue to lead the management team alongside CFO Adrian Walker as CFO. The team will work to “build on the robust financial performance” it was delivering before the pandemic hit.  The group now plans to open as many restaurants as possible during August.

Spragg added: “This has been an extremely difficult and unsettling time for our teams and we’re pleased to now be planning to reopen our doors and re-focus our attention on what we do best, creating great experiences for our guests.”

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