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Casual Dining Group remerges from administration as The Big Table

Published:  03 August, 2020

Casual Dining Group (CDG), the failed restaurant group that owned the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge chains, has been rescued by private equity firm, saving 4,000 jobs across the UK and over 150 outlets.

Working with existing management and with cash from private equity backers Epiris, the newly formed group will be called The Big Table.

The buyout comes after a stormy couple of months from the casual dining juggernaut, which announced it would be closing 91 restaurants permanently after lockdown exacerbated existing challenges on the high street.

Just under 2,000 jobs out of a total 6,000 were lost.

CDG’s former CEO, James Spragg, who will continue in the role for The Big Table, 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, added: “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.”

The newly formed The Big Table business is a reference to a “far-reaching internal culture programme at the former CDG business that championed togetherness, diversity and inclusivity” the company said.

Reopening will happen gradually over the coming months, though there are plans to open as “many restaurants as possible during August” in time to get behind the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.